My 20th pastoral anniversary at the New Hope Baptist Church in Covington, GA is coming up in about a month or so. Consequently, the wife and family are all excited and compelled me to go shopping for a some new clothes for the grand occasion. It was while my wife and I were doing some shopping that we encountered a situation that got me to thinking about how insensitive we have become as a society.
A customer came in, who had apparently made a purchase the day before. Apparently, the store didn’t have everything he wanted, because there was an item that was to be delivered the next day between 4 and 6 pm. Well, when the customer came in, apparently there had been some miscommunication with the store clerk the day before, because he was expecting to pick up his completed order. When he asked for his merchandise, the clerk told him that he had informed him the day before that the rest of his order would not be in until sometime between 4 and 6. At this point, the customer said that the clerk had not informed him of that time period. (At the time of this discussion, it was about 3:00 pm). At which point the clerk, of course, said that he had indeed told him. Well, about this time, the customer was getting a little upset because apparently, he had a flight to catch for a wedding out of town the next day and needed the items he purchased before he left for his flight.
Now, you may be asking of me at this point: “How do you know all of these details?” I know them because the customer was upset and loud and had informed the clerk (and everybody else in the store) that if he did not have his order by the time he had to leave for his flight; there would be trouble! Now, I don’t know how the clerk took it, but from the tone of voice in which the customer said it; I took it as a personal threat! Granted, the customer had paid his money! Granted, the clerk (may or may not have) promised the merchandise would be in the store at a certain time. But, since when is it acceptable to verbally abuse someone in the manner in which the customer did? The clerk even went so far as to get the customer’s address with a promise to deliver the clothes personally to the customer’s home when they arrived at the store!
Now, I can understand the customer’s frustration, but I think his reaction was unwarranted! First of all, he brought this pressure upon himself because he should not have waited so close to the date of his departure before he made his purchase-order! Secondly, If the clerk had indeed told him the clothes would be back between 4 and 6, then why was he raising such a fuss at 3:00 pm? And even if the clerk did give him a specific time, the merchandise was being delivered by a courier, who had to navigate through Atlanta traffic! Only God would know exactly when the merchandise would actually make it to the store!
My point is this: Just because someone has paid for a service, that doesn’t give them the right to use verbal abuse because of a perceived failure of promise! This scenario is just a typical example of where we are as a society! People are so stressed-out that any little inconvenience sets them off! But there was one good thing that came out of this situation! My mother used to say; “You can draw more flies with honey than with vinegar!” My wife must have also known that saying because she went out of her way to be extra nice to the clerk! As a result, when we finished with our selection and the clerk was ringing us up; he gave us a thirty percent discount for our patience and understanding! As we were leaving the store, we thanked the clerk for the discount and in my mind, I thanked the irate customer as well! However, I really hope the clerk survives the situation in one piece because I need to pick up the rest of my order next week!