‘Tis the season…
After my workout this morning, I decided to take advantage of my remaining 45 minutes of freedom before picking Andrew up at school. I headed over to the mall to pick up my reserved copy of “Planes” at the Disney Store. They’re tricky over there, those Disney people; they have coupon crazed shoppers, like me, figured out. When you reserve a Disney movie in their store, you get coupons to use when you pick up your movie. So, I was pretty excited to use my “$20 off a $40 purchase” coupon to finish up holiday gift shopping.
We saw “Planes” in the theater, and Andrew mentioned that he would like to have the toy version of “Bulldog”, the British plane in the movie. Of course, the Disney Store has a huge display of all the die-cast planes, stacked up in such a way that you have to completely dismantle the display to find what you want. I was attempting to do just this when a sales associate came over and asked if I was finding everything I needed. I explained to her what I wanted, and she looked blankly at me and finally asked what the character looks like. “I have no idea,” I answered, honestly, “but the character names are on the front of the boxes, and Bulldog is not out here.”
Despite my answer, she immediately began searching the shelves. I impatiently raised an eyebrow, as I was supposed to be on my way to pick up Andrew soon. Then, the store’s phone rang, and off she ran to answer it, without another word to me. Eyebrow went up higher.
Working for so many years in customer service environments is definitely a blessing and a curse. I expect high levels of service, wherever I go, and I (unfairly?) get frustrated when I don’t get that from those who are supposed to be helping me. In this situation, I took a deep breath and decided to give her a few minutes; she would come back to help in a minute.
Only, she didn’t.
After helping the person on the phone, she started ringing up sales for other customers. I decided that the universe just didn’t want Andrew to have Bulldog, and began wandering about the store in search of something else to purchase with my stupid coupon.
I stopped in front of a large display of ornaments, thinking that surely I could find a few cute ornaments for the kids. As I was browsing, another sales associate came over and asked if I was finding what I needed. I tried again. I explained that I was looking for Bulldog, that it wasn’t on the shelf, and that someone had been helping me but bailed to answer the phone. Contestant #2 looked at me, then said “Well, what does Bulldog look like?” Perhaps my irritation with that question was evident, because she hurried over to the shelf to look. “It’s not out there,” I called after her. As she was walking back, saying “I’ll check in…” we heard a booming voice announce “Merrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry Christmas!!!”
Santa Claus had entered the store.
Instead of focusing on me, the customer needing help, the lady clapped her hands, squealed “It’s SANTA!!”, and went running up to him to collect a green lollipop. For reals. At this point, the eyebrow was completely off my head, and my mouth was hanging open. It wasn’t like the store was full of kids and she was putting on a show for them. It was mostly adults, or kids who were too young to care.
She came happily skipping back toward me, lollipop in hand, and informed me that she would go check in the back for the plane. At that point, I didn’t freaking care about the plane anymore; I was too busy looking around for a camera crew and waiting for Ellen Degeneres to pop out of some display. Surely, this was a set up. Right? Please?
Apparently, no. The lady came back out and informed me that they did not have the plane, but advised me to check back later. As I was trying to thank her and tell her I would be back, she noticed another store employee coming in for work, and cut me off to yell at that person “Santa is HERE!!”
I have never left the mall that fast, without making any purchases, in my whole life.
Am I just that cynical these days, or was that just ridiculous? Good thing my holiday shopping is almost finished.