Sunday, July 29, 2018

You Say Why? And I Say I Don't Know

A young man, looked like a student, came into the store today and stopped me while I had an armful of cardboard.  He was a bit frantic.  It's always a bit of an annoyance that anyone really needs help in a store that is basically set up so that you don't.  And of all places, in the kitchen accessory shop. I had gone there for my refuge.  I like to hide straighten up in there and grab some peace on the last half hour of my shift.  It's mindless but also a calming, honest work out.  So of course I'm a little short with him.  If you need directions, I will make allowances.  You're lost.  You need assistance finding your way out or to pay.  I can understand that.  But what does this child want?  So he starts to say but seems to have a tough time getting the proper words out.  Not because he's daft but I surmise he's one of these kids that has never held a hammer or operated a drill.  He's having trouble describing his issue. I try to help pull the right thing out of his big round head..."screw hole?' I say?  Anchors, you mean?  Are you talking about the studs?"..we were speaking a different language it felt like.  After a bunch of deep breaths on my part and more prying I finally get that he is trying to find a shelf that will fit into the same holes that the previous shelf mounted onto.   The conversation goes back and forth for a while.  I could see he was getting more anxiety ridden, which made me mad for reasons I can't know.  'Drill new holes' I said, 'what's the big deal?  We don't have the same size.' More whining. And then when my coworker hears me raise my voice, 'What is Spackle?!' , she runs chiming up yelling 'just put toothpaste before you move, no one will know'.  So that just blew his mind and now he's completely confused.  I said to him sternly, 'what is your actual dilemma'?  Is it that you're not allowed to drill new holes?' No, that wasn't it, he says. I wasn't getting it and in my experience you try to help people but if you can't you gotta just cut them loose quick. Otherwise you get those lingerers.  I actually helped two other bathroom and closet department seekers in between, trying to ditch him but he stayed with me, what felt like clinging to my leg for eternity.  I turned as a retail way of saying, we're done here and he wants to continue on, determined I could help solve his problem.   In the end tables turned and he got all huffy with me!  As if trying to trick me he asks, 'What kind of screws will I use to mount the new shelf then?'  I told him the same ones you did before if there was no problem.  He tells me that's exactly the question he was asking me to begin with and stormed away as if I had wasted his time. 
It's weird what you end up thinking about at night while laying in bed trying to drift off.  I thought about this kid in his conservative V-neck sweater and the picture of that hole in the wall he kept showing me on his phone.  What was the significance?  Funny font on top of an online picture of him, 'Who man is dis?' came into my mind and I had a good laugh.  Did he share his experience with anyone? Did he find me incredulous?  I don't imagine anyone has ever thought about customer service as much as me.  In my head I'm hearing Werner Herzog wrapping up my encounters with this stranger.  Did he ever find what he was looking for?
Before I called it a day I made these quick BBQ drumsticks on the stove top and they tasted grilled. smashed halved Brussels Sprouts and tomato salad. 
Perfect night for dinner and a documentary...of my own making.

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