It’s madness, I tell you! Madness!
I work part time in an herb store. And when I say part time I mean 12 hours a week. Sometimes it’s more when they need a shift covered. It is a lovely store. I have no complaints about it. I love what I’m learning and it has benefited my family immensely. But tonight I need to vent just a little bit….
I’ll set the scene for you. It’s 9 minutes to closing. I’m near the front finishing off the floor so that it would be nice and shiny for the next day. The door opens and the wind blows in tonight’s thorn in my side. I size her up. She’s coming in 9 minutes before closing time. So, either it’s an emergency or she’s just one of those customers that doesn’t care. I immediately decide she doesn’t care. Rude of me, I know. But, unfortunately, I was right.
She asks for a product. It doesn’t sound familiar to me. I ask what it’s for, she says “pain”. I walk her to the section that deals with joints, arthritis and things associated to that kind of discomfort (we’re not allowed to say “pain”).
I stop, I look, and as I supposed, we don’t have it. She’s talking about needing something “industrial strength” and wanting her doctor to up her dosage of Xanex. Xanex? Can’t help ya there sister.
She’s never been in here before. We are not your typical health food store. So I turn to her and say “I’m sorry, we don’t have it.” Then I continue to acquaint her with us, “We are an herb store and we specialize in herbs. I can recommend something else that will help the….” She stops me dead.
“Oh NO! I stopped using herbs YEARS ago!”
I just stare at her. The name of the store clearly has the letters H-E-R-B in its title. You want herbs? That’s what you get. And how do you know that? It’s in the name of the store. If you don’t want herbs, well…….
There were many things I wanted to say to her such as: “Why are you in here when you don’t want herbs?” Or, “Hey, we are closing in five minutes.” Or, “I’m tired and you just made me even more tired.”
Now, I want you to know, I care about the well-being of people who enter that store. I really do. There are very few things that make me NOT care. 1) When you ask me for advice and then tell me I’m wrong. 2) When you go on about politics and how smart you are. 3) When, after you’ve asked for my advice and then shut me down, you keep asking for more advice. 4) When it’s closing time and you won’t leave the store.
What a coincidence. She did all four.
She started at 8:53. By 8:55 she told me I was wrong and then from there she started to go on and on and on about how terrible George W. Bush was and that Nixon was a crook. She rented a political movie that she knew would make her angry. She loved the story of how Elvis did I don’t know what with his television. To her, Eucalyptus oil is good. Just so you know, the star of the Sopranos is handsome. She’s extremely political. Her sister writes for the New York times. Somewhere in there I heard the name Joe Pesci. Obama is the best. Mumble, mumble Enron! mumble mumble Nixon! mumble expletive! expletive! mumble mumble I’m old!. Mind you, through all this I am trying to help her. I have to stop caring. For my own sanity, I have to stop caring.
I show her herbs to help her migraines. No! Herbs to help naturally balance hormones. No response. I show her a product for inflammation. Eyes roll. I show her a product with Eucalyptus in it. Eyes roll, this time at the price. Somewhere in there I learn she doesn’t want to ingest anything, so I show her creams, then cheaper creams. She goes on another tangent. I try to bring her back to the present while she’s proclaiming that Bill Maher is the most intelligent man on earth (really?). Why am I doing this? Because she’s still standing there asking for help. She has drained me of all my energy. She talks about her Valium and Xanex again.
Finally, I give up: “Well, you’re not going to find anything like that here. You want the strong stuff, from a doctor. You don’t want herbs. These are herbs” I want to scream “Now go away!”
She agrees with me.
I stare at her…
“Why are you still here?!” I’m screaming inside my head.
She wants something. I have no idea what else to offer as she has turned me down flat on everything else. I review the creams one more time. Arnica cream, more Arnica cream, volcano oil, Tiger Balm. Tiger Balm! She’ll take the Tiger Balm. Mind you, she has returned to the topic of Enron and somehow makes her way to Nixon being stoned in Caracas (wow, I had no idea). I guide her to the cash register. She begins to talk about how her car is a stick shift. I ring her up. I tell her the price. I tell her the price again. And again. She’s talking about her car.
The phone rings. My coworker takes over at the register. The lady on the phone wants seaweed. Oh. My. Gosh. It’s 9:05 people! I tell her we have Kelp and Bladderwrack. She wants something else. It’s 9:06 and she wants me to place a special order. I go to the computer and inquire. We can’t. Sorry. I guess I can thank that lady for getting me away from the front. I come from the back. My blessed coworker has walked the lady to the door and locked it.
“I knew it was bad when I looked at your eyes. You had ‘crazy eyes’,” she said. Really? I had no idea. Neither did that lady apparently, unless she just assumed I must always have a crazed look on my face.
Did I say I needed to vent “just a little bit?”