A customer comes into the store and asks me for three bags of rocks to match the one he is holding in his hand. He was from the city and he’d tried everywhere. Being a bit of a rock expert I recognise it as a South Island schist. In fact I was told by lovely old gentleman who loves geology, and can wax on lyrical about rocks, they are a renewable resource as the mountains are still being pushed up by the continuing moving together of the earth’s crust, sheared off by glacial flows, then semi polished by collisions with other rocks in flooding rivers as they tumble down and are scattered in patches along the west coast beaches. With resource consents a few companies are able to go in there to gather, grade and ship North for the landscape designs of discerning home owners.
Now I didn’t tell him all this. You can guage when people want to know or don’t. I simply said they came from the South Island and I might be able to get some for him. I phoned him back to say I found them, so Yayyyy. Yes, we were able to get them in to complete an area in his garden ready for his sons party in a couple of weeks.
The guy wanted them asap. He was very busy. One of those VIP’s. So I organised it and said I would phone him when they arrived. The rock guy kindly said he would deliver it to me but not arriving on appointed day I phoned. He’d had an accident and was in hospital as we talked. He was OK but out of action now. The bags however were at his yard and could be collected there.
I phoned the VIP customer and he was not happy.
The party was this weekend. He would have to go and pick them up now. He had to keep up his workload at his business, as well as get the grounds ready, as well as do all the party things. They had so much to do and now I was giving him ANOTHER JOB. His voice was starting to raise. AND… if his wife goes there to pick up the bags WHO was going to put them in her boot if this old guy can’t walk or drive right now, he probably couldn’t put them in the boot and his wife had a bad back. What would happen then?
“I don’t know, I answered, but give me your email address and I will send you all the info and you can then decide what you want to do”. I hung up and went into Gilbert’s office. WTF. How did this guys eternal search for rocks and his party, and his wife’s bad back all become MY problem or fault. I felt like I had caused all his problems. How did that happen I wonder.
I emailed him with the relevant details including a link to the address so he could find it easy. And I wrote , “I guess we can be thankful that you found the rocks you wanted after all, and that secondly you can get them on time for your party if you want to, and more importantly that the lovely old gentleman was out of hospital and going to be OK.
Dealing with the public sometimes leaves you wondering. I am a much better customer after being on this side of the counter I can tell you. Not that I was ever nasty, but seriously, sometimes I really have to wonder….