I can scarcely believe it. This morning, one of my immature stunts actually worked as intended. And I did some good in the process!
I was at the local pharmacy when it happened. At the checkout counter, a clerk besieged by a snotty lady had finally snapped. The kid’s name is Paul, and I know him pretty well. He’s usually polite and helpful to a fault. But he’s having family problems, and this woman could’ve gotten under Mother Theresa’s skin. Of all things, she wanted a certain brand of gum. She couldn’t find it on the shelf among the plethora of available packs, so she commanded (yes, commanded) the clerk to search the storeroom for her desired item. After she rebuffed his detailed explanation that every product in the store’s inventory already had been shelved, he lost his patience and instructed her to “buy some other friggin’ pack of gum, or go somewhere else!”
The woman did not take kindly to his outburst. To the contrary, she went postal, berating him for his insolence and railing at his lack of proper customer service. She also demanded his name, so she could immediately inform the store manager.
That’s when I stepped in, approaching the checkout counter as if I hadn’t heard their exchange. Thinking quickly, I drew on the juvenile humor of my teenage years, greeting Paul: “Hey Mike, how’s it going?”
The irate woman took the bait and asked me: “Is his name ‘Mike’?”
I innocently replied: “Yeah, ‘Mike Hunt.’”
That was all she needed to hear. Immediately, she stomped off in search of the store manager. I hurried after and hid behind a nearby shelf to eavesdrop.
Her first words on reaching the store manager were: “I want to complain about Mike Hunt!”
Understandably taken aback, the poor guy responded: “Your? … You want to complain about …?”
The still fuming customer cut him off: “Are you deaf?!! I’m talking about Mike Hunt. You wouldn’t believe what he just did to me!!!”
The look of bewilderment on the manager’s face was priceless. To his credit, he never actually laughed. Instead, he steered the customer in a more appropriate direction for her issues: “Ma’am, the feminine products are in aisle eight. And I think you’re better off telling your complaints about ‘him’ to a gynecologist.”
It took a few seconds for the manager’s comments to sink in. But once they did, the woman turned scarlet with embarrassment. Without another word, she turned tail and fled from the store. I doubt she’ll ever return, but I consider the pharmacy’s loss of business a small price to pay for saving Paul’s job.