The Retail Kiss of Death

I wouldn’t shop at a place with #3 and #4

I understand the irritation with seeing that kind of sign, most particularly considering the total and complete lack of service you were shown. BUT…I can understand that sign on a gift shop. Even if they were kidding. At places like “Things Remembered,” where they do custom engraving, I’m sure they get FAR MORE than their fair share of people waltzing up, buying ten plaques, and saying, “I need these in an hour, I’m on my way to an awards banquet,” and then being all pissed off that all ten of them might not be done in time by the one person who’s working while they have other customers to wait on - and, probably, prior engraving orders to fill.

It probably takes a considerable amount of self-control (and desire to keep their jobs) for them to NOT say, “LOOK, ASSHOLE, IF YOU WANTED THESE ON TIME, YOU SHOULD HAVE COME IN MORE THAN AN HOUR BEFORE YOU NEEDED THEM.”

On the main street that I talk to get to my parents’ house is a business that (I think) manufactures industrial equipment parts. It’s a fair bit away from the road, and a line of trees blocks my view of the building. However, they have a big sign marking the entrance. This company makes frequent use of the sign by changing the messages on it. In all the time it’s been there, never has the sign advertised for the business. Instead, there are messages like this:

“We support our Troops and President Bush” – cool.
“God bless President Bush” – all right.
“Pray with your family tonight” – okay.
“Merry 'Christ’mas” – hmmm…
“Vote NO on CID Proposition” – ummm…
“TX Democrats in New Mexico - A Sorry Lot” – :dubious:
“Jesus is the reason of the season” – :dubious:
“Only Jesus is Lord” – :dubious:

Granted, this business is in a suburb that is largely conservative, but it still strikes me as an odd business practice since messages of a religious or political nature are likely to cause strong feelings in some potential customers.

A waitress friend of mine was sixteen years old and waiting tables at a semi-nice restaurant. One evening a single man came in and sat at one of her tables. I’ve been a waitress myself, and I can honestly say I love it when single people come in and eat. They aren’t distracted by conversation, can interact with you as a regular person and not “that waitress,” are generally more patient and understanding, and so on.

However, this man didn’t like anything Amy did for him. His food was cold, his soda was warm, he didn’t want what he ordered, she wasn’t quick – you get the general idea. Amy is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and she responded with each of his demands with a smile and a sincere determination to help him have a fine meal.

At one point she did something the man didn’t like, and he poured his soda all down the front of her uniform. She stood there, soaking, and said, “Would you like another soda, sir?”

Two weeks later the same man came in and sat at the same table and asked specifically for Amy. I’m sure she wasn’t very excited about dealing with him again, but she came out and asked if she could help him.

He handed her a dozen roses, and said, “My wife died two weeks ago. I had just come from the hospital when you waited on me. I know that I behaved miserably and you have every reason to hate me. All I can say is that I am sorry, and I feel terrible for what I did.” He also left her a hundred dollars as a tip.

I have never forgotten this. I use this little story in every part of my life. When someone is being a real pain to deal with, I try to count to ten and ask them what is really wrong. Almost everytime it is something that has absolutely nothing to do with me! And the person, who was mean before, turns out to be an angel.

No offense Elysian but that story is very hard to believe.

No offense, Sat on Cookie, but it’s true.

What possible “reason” did he have to dump a soda on her? Didn’t management get involved at that point? Was she being sarcastic in asking if he’d like another? Did he get kicked out of the place?

Sat on Cookie…were you that little bastard of a kid who ruined the magician’s tricks at the cliche kid’s birthday party? :wink:

I once had a car dealer come up to me as I was looking for a place to park on his ‘lot’ to look at this sweet Benz he had for sale to tell me that he doesn’t take drug dealer money. As drug dealer money was all I had on me at the time, I got back in my car, closed the door and drove off.

You’d think he just hang a sign or something…

I’m all for heartwarming stories, but I’m having a hard time connecting the dots on that one. Possibly because the Dumping of Soda is rudeness beyond my comprehension.

I was sorta wondering the same thing, Sat; in fact, before I saw your post, I was over a Snopes searching for “dozen roses”.

I kinda suspect that the basic story is true, but that Elysian shifted some things around to make the narrative flow better. Of course, that’s rampant and unasked-for speculation on my part. It’s an interesting story, in any case.


Oh dear…

Let’s see, I was eighteen at the time she told me this, so that would have been about, what, eight years ago? I am a little fuzzy on the details of her story at this late date. I think she may have said something about the manager getting involved. She certainly gave more details about the story than what I have posted above. Certain things stick in my mind, however:

  1. Single guy at her table
  2. Treated Amy like crap
  3. Dumped soda down her front
  4. Came back two weeks later
  5. Gave her a hundred dollars and
  6. A dozen roses
  7.         Explained wife had died

I was a waitress for about four years and I had a few strange things happen to me like that. Nothing quite as amazing happened to me, but I have no trouble believing that he did indeed dump soda down her front. I did have people throw things at me – just not soda. About her response – yes, she might have hammed it up a bit for me, but I knew Amy quite well at that point and had little trouble believing her response to such terrible rudeness was quite pleasant.

About him coming back two weeks later and apologizing – well, I believe it might have happened. I’ve had customers come back and tell me two weeks later about how wonderful I was to their rude friend that sat next to them.

If you find that it’s an urban legend, please tell me. I’ve never doubted her story before this because I knew Amy, knew what she was like, was waitressing at the time and knew what customers were like and how oddly/sweetly they could behave, so it seemed, if not believable on all the facts, at least probable. I might not have believed Amy said precisely what she did, but I did believe she said something nice. I find it very hard to believe she would lie so convincingly and completely – she was a devout Christian, wanted to be a nun, celibate, went to church regularly and at one point tried to witness to me.

Actually I was kind of surprised people didn’t believe this story. But I should have known before I posted – this board is heavy with rampant skepticism.

If you don’t believe me, fine, but I think the lesson I took from it is valid and it has worked for me to this day.

Well, Elysian is my new favorite poster :slight_smile:

I’m sorry if I came across bitchily. Thank you for the thoughtful response that explains where you are coming from with the story.

Well, barring a denial by Snopes I’m going to believe it. The insidious thing about glurge is that a lot of glurgy things really do happen. Plus I’ve been an apologetic jerk a few times.

Geez people, nitpick much?

It was a sweet story. So what if every minute detail may not be true? The message doesn’t change.

Some of you wouldn’t know a lesson if it knocked you over the head and kicked your teeth in.

Anyhoo: I don’t quite get the “you should only check how the meal is after it’s served” mentality. What good would that do? If there were any problems, by the end of the meal it’s too late to do anything about them anyways. I think a server should check a couple of times throughout the meal, (as long as they make “appearences” in their section in between, don’t interrupt tables, but don’t hide in the kitchen either, if you’re not busy) but anything above that can be a little excessive. Especially if they interrupt your conversation.

As for the other stuff, other than the cute little “how to be a customer” signs (sense of humor needed on isle 3!) I wouldn’t shop in any of the stores mentioned in the OP either.

It is a sweet story. Minus the grand gesture of the roses and huge tip, I’ve experienced things along the same lines working in customer service. I’d have someone screaming at me and I’d say “Ma’am/Sir, I would really like to help you, but screaming isn’t helping. Please, just calm down, we’ll take one thing at a time, and fix this problem, okay?” Later in the conversation the person would apologize, there was a death or illness in the family, or they just got fired today, or whatever.

Granted, some people are just jerks, but I try to be nice if I can.

Lezlers, I think there’s a difference between every minute detail being true (or not) and the whole story being true or not. I’m convinced that the story basically happened the way it was described and don’t care to pick it apart further.

It’s honestly not that I want to rip the fake beard of Santa Claus and be the sweet story police. For me, it does make a difference if a story is true or not. I take more away from, and learn more from, a poignant story that is true. For others, this may make no difference at all, but for me it does.

I’m glad Elysian took the time to give more details. It’s a very sweet story.

Elysian, thanks for the explanation. I’m still skeptical of events, but it may be that Amy gussied them up, too: certainly the fact that she’s a devout Christian doesn’t suggest she wouldn’t pass around glurge-stories.

At any rate, as lezlers points out, the message remains, whatever actually occurred.


Once while visiting San Francisco and staying on Haight, I rented a guitar from the Haight Music Center (or Store?). On their door they have a sign that says, “No gnarly dudes”.

I asked, “If I become knarly between now and tomorrow, does this sign mean I get to keep the guitar?” Unfortunately, they answered in the negative, and said that if I became gnarly in the meantime I’d have to hand them the guitar through the door.

What? Gnarly is bad? I thought gnarly was good.