Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
Justin read my last blog entry today and took issue with the fact that I said I charged him and his brother money when they used the word "bored." He says they didn't ever have any money when they were little kids. Yeah, right.I know I speak for all parents when I say the kids were ALWAYS the ones with the money. How many times was I in hock over my head to the boys? It seemed I was always stuck in a drive-thru line 57 cents short for my order and one of them had to bail me out.
And the funny thing is customer service people in stores never learn. They have chased me down aisles offering to help me find something when I was only there for a bag of dog food and a loaf of bread. But I've watched those same people ignore my kids when they were younger and even be rude when they asked for help.
One day I had enough. I had waited patiently while my son leaned against a video game display staring wistfully at the latest game he wanted to buy. He was probably 10 or 11 years old at the time. Every time I checked to see if he was ready, he was still waiting for someone to unlock the case. He had talked to multiple "associates" that kept promising to come back and then disappeared. As a last effort, I decided to stand there and see if that resulted in some service.
Finally, a man who had been leaning across a counter having a conversation with a customer about a football game sauntered over to us at turtle speed and asked if he could help us.
"I don't need any help but my son has been attempting to buy a video game for almost 30 minutes." I told him. "He's been promised help by three people who never came back. He's been told to "wait just a minute" by a guy who checked out a customer at the register and then went on break. And he's been ignored by you until I walked up just now."
He looked suitably remorseful and apologized so I decided to go easy on him. "For future reference let me give you a few tips. You may think I'm your customer but you would be mistaken. I came into this store with $1.37 in change somewhere in the bottom of my purse. I'd have to hold up a line for 15 minutes while I dumped it upside down and searched for pennies to buy a pack of gum. You see all these other parents walking around out here. Same story. They're all thinking about getting a paper route so they can pay their kids back the money they've borrowed. On the other hand, my son here has the advantage of having two sets of grandparents, being cute and having a birthday that's nowhere near Christmas. He's loaded. This is your customer and he should be treated like one." He was very happy to help us.
But back to my original reason for this story. I threatened Justin with telling this, so I have to follow through. When he said they never had money when they were young, I reminded him of his "church offering" episode. It was his first business venture.
We were all standing around after church one Sunday morning chatting and Justin, who was about five years old at the time, picked up a brightly colored tin container with a lid on it that was sitting on the church treasurer's desk. She told him he could have it and he ran off to show his brother.
Less than fifteen minutes later he came running back all excited and took the top off to reveal a can full of money. "Where did you get all this money?" we asked.
Apparently as he went around showing his new treasure to people, he would say, "See what I just got?" and take off the lid. Well, the first person he showed put some money in it. So every time he took off the lid and people saw the money they added to it. Hey, you gotta admire a plan that works. A kid's gotta do what a kid's gotta do. By the way, I wonder if I still owe him some of that money...hmmmmm...gotta check on that paper route.
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