The first grocery store didn’t have egg roll wrappers. That was Thursday. On Friday, after a brisk walk and an errand I drove all the way across town to an identical store for the egg roll wrappers.
I had a $10 coupon which is the only reason I didn’t go to the other store on the way home. Our small store is the only grocery store in our town. About 30-minutes away is an identical grocery store. Frys is a shorter distance and was much more convenient than the one I went to on that day.
The produce clerk at this other store was spending a lot of time with someone. I checked all the shelves and saw the empty space above the tag “egg rolls.” I approached the produce clerk and stood near him to allow him to finish his conversation with the other person.
Suddenly, he spun around and said, “Yes?”
“Do you have egg roll wrappers? The shelf is empty.”
“It’s because we’re out.” He replies without a smile.
Did I hear sarcasm? Tired and feeling annoyed, I assumed I heard wrong. I stared at him.
He continued, “The supplier hasn’t stocked it. This is not one of our suppliers.”
“Great. This is the second store of yours I’ve been to.”
“If one is out, then none of them have it.” He said.
“Thanks.” I sighed.
He turned back to the woman and they continued their conversation. The man didn’t sound too helpful. I was hoping he had some in the back as sometimes happens in a store. Maybe the woman and him had a thing going over waxed fruit?
I drove across town needlessly for toilet paper and paper towels it seemed, and so I chose to use the remaining of my coupon to get a six-pack of micro-brewed beer as a treat for my husband. I stood in line and as I handed the clerk the coupon and the cash, she looked puzzled at the screen.
“You can’t use the coupon on beer.”
The fragile reins I held on my temper began to fray. “Then, return it.” I waved my hand toward the beer. “I don’t want it.”
She ran the coupon again. “Oh, the .93 cents is tax. The total is $10.93. You can’t use the coupon on tax. Maybe you could get a candy bar or something?”
“Fine.” I snatched a kitkat from the shelf. It’s not her fault. It’s not her fault. It’s not her fault. This mantra paraded through my head. I implored God to help me hold it together. I gratefully left the store and drove home.
I still do not have my egg rolls for Mondays dinner. My favorite place to grocery shop left me frustrated. Our small store in town is often running out of things because it’s always so busy. It would have been nice if the clerk there had told me the lack of egg rolls impacted all the stores. Even so, the produce clerk at the other store had more interest in the woman than in a customer that needed one more item to complete her recipe.
Sometimes, being a Christian requires restraint. An opposite reaction to the status quo (which is to fling the kitkat bar at the clerk, call a manger, and scream) is to be patient and friendly. I might have misunderstood the produce clerk’s actions. In any case, I know now if one store doesn’t have a product, I will go to another brand-name store to get it and not waste the gas on the identical store. Of course, that day there may have been an egg roll conspiracy. Maybe it was an occupy movement?
What are your horror stories of customer service? And how did you allow God to work thorugh your frustrations?