Not to bore you to book section

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Abbey, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    (Uptight Priscilla)

    As expected, Priscilla has been quite a challenge, so I decided to be proactive. The first thing I did was to create a large sign that I could slap on my cart in an instant. It read: PLEASE, NO CELL PHONES IN THE STORE WHIILE SHOPPING. Small print – it interferes with our cashiers, which will make your stay longer.

    I knew time was critically important to her.

    She didn’t always come in every day, or at the same time. This meant I had to be very alert at watching the door and who pulled in to shop.

    Then I made a plan of action. A little Velcro on my cart, a little on the sign and I was ready for immediate response. When I’d see her sprint through the parking lot at the speed of light to the door, I’d slap the sign on and quickly move my cart 5 feet to the left where she had no option other than to squeeze by me.

    Her expression the first day was priceless. She stopped dead in her tracks, looked around for any easy escape and actually stopped talking on her cell for a few seconds. I took those two or three seconds to say, “Hi! How are you today?”

    “Uhh…I’ll call you back in a minute,” as she said when she actually hung up. She squeezed by me giving me a scorning, scathing look, and then redialed. I immediately pulled the sign down and moved my cart back.

    We played this cat and mouse game for a few weeks. I never understood why she didn’t go in one of the other doors, but it was always very tense for her. I guess she always took the shortest route to anything and I was in the way of that fastest route.

    I decided to step it up a notch. You know the saying – Killing With Kindness? That sounded enticing to me. I would never be rude to a customer, but what’s wrong with being ultra kind?

    I noticed that as she vaulted through the door each day, she’d quickly grab a wet nap that the store provided in the lobby and wipe down the handle of the cart before entering the store. I realized I was going to have to increase my speed at this point. Remember, I don’t really work out, I just pretend.

    A typical scenario was seeing her coming through the parking lot.

    Step one – slap on the sign.

    Step two – move the cart in her way.

    Step three – run for the entry way and hold out the wet nap for her and greet her with a big smile.

    Eventually, Step 4 was actually wiping it down for her.

    On her way out, she would always stop at Starbucks, glare at me, and then get her latte.

    Initiate Step 5.

    I had to be on my mark to complete Step 5. I had a war meeting with the employees at Starbucks. They all knew the situation and really didn’t like her attitude. But, business is business and you have to put on the cheery face even when the client is rude. We worked out a system where if they saw me slap the sign, move the cart, run to the door, they’d have a sample that they would practically throw in my hand to give her. It was tricky timing.

    Secret kindness plan: Slap sign, move cart, dash for sample, grab a wipe, wipe down the handle while greeting. Priscilla is wondering at this point what the hell I’m doing. She did take the samples, but that meant hanging up her cell so she could push and drink at the same time going 50mph.

    Awww…the sweetness of success. But, I had one last thing in store that finally broke Priscilla’s high-paced, crusty core.


    Step 6 – Priscilla always had the same drink every day. She never, that any employee could remember, varied from that drink in years. So, after I slapped my sign, moved my cart, ran for the sample, wiped down her cart and greeted her, Starbucks would make her drink before she ever finished her shopping.

    “Good afternoon, Ms. Priscilla! Here’s your latte!” Shannon would speak with the utmost enthusiasm you could muster and a smile that goes from ear to ear. You always thought you were the most special customer in the world when she waited on you.

    At this point Priscilla had to hang up her cell again. “I haven’t even ordered yet. How do you know what I want?”

    “Well, we provide such excellent customer service that we’ll get you your special latte, light on milk, no whip cream with a small shot of caramel when we see you walk in the door at no extra charge! We just love our customers so much and look forward to you coming back every day.”

    I think Priscilla’s eyes didn’t blink for about two minutes. She paid for her latte, and then quietly walked out the door with her small bag of groceries looking suspiciously around.

    After three days of this Super, Super, Secret Kindness assault, we finally had a breakthrough. I actually saw Priscilla walking, not running into the store, and not on her cell phone.

    Execute plan. Slap sign, move cart, run for sample, grab wipe and clean while greeting. “How are you today Priscilla?”

    “Well, I guess I’m fine,” she mustered with great strength.

    She talked! She actually talked to a human who wasn’t on a phone! I was stunned.

    After I picked my jaw up off the floor I said, “Wonderful!! Look forward to seeing you getting your latte.” I surprisingly got somewhat of a glimmer of a smile. Take down sign, move cart back and have the store secret spies watch her as she shopped. Not once did she use her phone in the store. Baby steps. Baby steps are good.

    When she picked up her latte, she also gave them a small smile, a thank you and a tip. Hey…I never got a tip!! I guess my tip was the satisfaction that she was slowly realizing the smallest things in life can give you some peace and happiness. That works for me.


    Day 4 of our Super Secret Double Kindness program was a breakthrough day. We went through the same scenario with one exception. Slap sign, move cart, get sample, wipe cart, greet…then I stopped and looked her in the eye.

    “How are you today?”

    “Good. And you?”


    “I’m wonderful! I have an idea. How about I get two latte’s and we sit and chat a bit before you shop? I’ll buy.” She actually looked a bit frightened. I don’t think she has a whole lot of genuine human contact in her daily life.

    “I have meetings and phone calls to do. I just can’t stay. I just can’t.”

    “Well. Cancel whatever you have in the next 30 minutes. If they can’t wait 30 minutes because you’re having a coffee with a friend, they must not value you as a person. Just sit and enjoy some company. You’d be surprised how refreshing it can be. You’ll be even better at your meeting a half hour late. I won’t even push a sample on you.” I lightly put my hand on her hand and she slightly recoiled. I could see this was really difficult and unfamiliar for her.

    “Oh, geez…let me think about this. I’ve never been late for a meeting. I was always taught that if you show up on time, you’re late. Let me think.” She ponders for a minute, and then says, “Ok, ok, but I have to call them and let them know.”

    “Well, you’ve seen my sign for awhile. Just step outside and make your calls. No cells in the store anymore. I’ll order our coffees.”

    “Mine is not a coffee. It’s a latte.” (Oh, excuse me!!) Pick me up off the ground at this point. Laughing, I said, “You are such a nut!!” I don’t think anyone has ever said something like that to her. I don’t think she’s had a lot of nuttiness in her life.


    Pricilla made her 10 minutes of calls in 113-degree heat outdoors then came inside the store. She seemed uneasy, but sat down at the Starbucks table where I was sitting with our “lattes.”

    “So, Priscilla, tell me about yourself. What do you do? You always seem to be in such a hurry and not very happy.”

    She sighed heavily. “I’m a commercial real estate agent.” She pauses. “Sorry I told you to f*ck off before. I really am. I’m just not good at saying sorry and things like that. I just have so much to do with a lot of money at stake, gaining, losing clients…it’s a lot of pressure and I need to perform. You either sink or swim here. The economy is horrible and I’m losing clients left and right. That means no money for me, and possibly no job. And, as you know, no time.”

    “Hmm…I imagine so. I think you need to take a deep breath. Want to join our crazy crowd? We’re a chummy bunch. There are a few of us around here. We actually have a good time. But, doesn’t it feel good to just sit down and enjoy the moment every now and then?”

    Priscilla looked off in the distance for a few seconds and then looked back. “I suppose it does, but I haven’t done that in a long time. Actually, it’s really been a long time. I haven’t laughed in an eternity.”

    “Maybe you should start. And, it’s FREE to start here!! I give out free food and chat, probably more than you want. I should give you a rebate! Not much I can do about free Starbucks, but they are great people. It could be your afternoon rest then perk up with your special latte, whatever the heck that is. Will you come back and see me tomorrow?”

    She actually had to stop and think at this point. I could see it in her mind. Can I take an extra 5 minutes out of my day to speak with a person that isn’t business related? Will I have to adjust my schedule? Will I lose a deal? The anxiety was toxic. It was painful to watch.

    “Well, I might have to cancel an appointment or two, but I think I could squeeze it in. I don’t know. I just don’t know. Actually, I don’t know about much anymore.”

    I laughed and said, “Heck…you’ve squeezed past my cart successfully for the last two months. I think you can fit that in. Peace of cake. In fact, if you do come in and chat, I’ll stop putting my cart in your way. It was five minutes, now we’re down to four.”

    She actually giggled and said, “You guys are like nice terrorists. It’s driving me nuts.”

    “Being nuts sometimes is a good thing. It helps you deal with the reality of life. It’s a socially acceptable to be a bit kooky and get by from day to day. Heck…look at me.” She made eye contact with me and really laughed, not just a giggle. I just gave her a nice smile.

    Priscilla got up to leave and looked back at me with a questioning look. “Why are you guys all doing this to me? I mean, being overly kind and all that stuff. It’s almost weird for me.”

    My simple reply was that there are some people in this world who still care about others and you happen to fall in that group. Welcome. We’re a secret society of demo ladies that has not been discovered yet. We wear costumes so you really don’t know who we really are, but we are there to give you free food and hope to make you feel valued, or value the life you have. She gave me a slightly bigger smile and walked out the door and looked my way. “I’ll be back tomorrow. And you don’t have to do all the shenanigans.”

    [FONT=&quot]“Nuff said. Proof is in the pudding.”[/FONT]
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Wow! I'm impressed!!!

  3. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    That was so cool.

    Ok, I hope you aren't planning on waiting to long for the next installment. I might get antsy.

  4. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    Definately not boring, it is incredible the way you explore and expose human nature.