Thursday, May 27, 2010

I didn't need to know that.

Working retail has given me years of stories to tell. Today is no exception.

At 5:10 PM, we had two ladies come in. They were probably rockin' in their mid-50's/early 60's. First, they asked for a garbage can. Immediately after throwing their garbage away, they asked for a bathroom and followed up with additional detail.

"If you don't tell me where the bathroom is, I'm liable to leak on your floor."

"Well, we don't want that!"

I told her that it was in the next room and around to the right. It never ceases to amaze me that people have difficulty with the simple directions I give. The Russian coworker that I worked with used to just say, "Right and right!" They got it!

Anyhow, she was distressed that, "Well, this is only a one-seater!"

"Yes it is."

So, after they got the bathroom detail handled, they began looking. On their way out to our middle garden area, the one woman asked if my boss had gone to the one local university.

"He did his graduate work there, I believe."

She went on, about one of the artists at the university. I said that I had taken a class with him.

"Figurative sculpture?"

"No, when I was taking a class with --, he was working with -- on an installation project."

"Oh, I [can't stand] --."

I just kind of shrugged my shoulders knowing that my previous prof could be a bit of a pill.

She went on, unsolicited, giving me the reason for her hate of this man. Folks, she had made a very damaging and slanderous accusation of this particular professor. She said that when she told her professor (the one that was his partner on the installation project), she was kicked out of the university. This happened in 1976. She's still running around telling this story.

The accused professor is a very accomplished artist. He is a very prominent artist, with a piece in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian. I'm not speaking for his life choices. I don't know what they are. I know that he is married with children. I've been to his home studio with my class. He showed us where he worked, how his studio was set up and even how he shipped his most delicate pieces. I consider it an honor to have had the opportunity to learn from him, regardless to how bipolar he could appear some days.

About 10 minutes after they went to our sister store, my coworker announced that she was offended. (I'm hard to offend, but she's even harder to offend.) She agreed that it was just unthinkable to come in and to tell-- with detail words-- of the accusation of this particular artist. I agree. I told her that it wasn't as if I baited the lady for more information. She said that she knew and neither one of us could figure out how she had come to that place in conversation. The conversation we had had only involved maybe 3-4 sentences.

My comment to the customer? "Well, I could see how you would feel that way." I didn't want to feed it and get more.

I was so shocked. It literally came out of thin air.

So, have you ever had an encounter like that? Do tell.

Smiles in my day:
- I got all of my display work done in time for my days off. Oooo! And I get Monday off-- paid! :)!
- A coworker happy to pick up the slack when the display I was doing had turned into an engineering project. Don't forget that it has to look good and be approachable, all the while fitting in all of this stuff that doesn't necessarily go together.
- K- and I were able to swing together, we climbed up her tower to work on Word Wall words and even busted out a chapter of Junie B while we were there.
- Drawing on the sidewalk with chalk.
- Coming home, taking a bath because I had to wash the day off and wearing the airy spring dress that I couldn't wear to work today because of all the manual labor involved.
- Visiting with the neighbors in the evening.
- K- enjoyed her sundae prize for hitting the school reading goal for 100 book challenge.
- How tall K- is getting. I swear, I do not know where those legs came from. When I asked K-, she told me, "I grew them!"
- We're growing a vegetable garden at work. The boss had some extra giant pots filled with dirt and nothing going on with them. He gave us permission to plant a patio garden. I planted runner beans, onion sets and basil. We have two tomato plants, cucumbers and pumpkins. I have a sneaky suspicion that it will grow even more over the next few weeks. We're so excited to see it grow!

Have a great day!


ChupieandJ'smama said...

Sounds like that lady was carrying around 34 years of bitterness. At some point, you have to let it go. I had a Prof in college that I liked, but I didn't much care for his philosophy. I might state that as my opinion, but not slander him in some way. But I did actually like the man so maybe that's different.
Aren't artists supposed to be somewhat quirky and bi-polar? Don't most of the great ones fit into that category? Or am I generalizing? ALL of my art profs were quirky and odd and one didn't even teach us art. She taught us more about her horses than art. But that's what makes them interesting.
I don't like when people share toxic opinions or TMI. You were stuck between a rock and hard place because she was shopping in your store and you couldn't just walk away. At a party last summer when someone did this to me about their daughter I just abruptly ended the conversation and walked away. You couldn't do that (and keep your job). I think you handled it well. You can't help that some people have diarrhea of the mouth.

Rach said...

Well, there *was* that woman in the OB's office who was there with her 16 year old daughter who was there for her six week postpartum appointment. She went on to tell me what a "b*tch" her daughter was, and then tell me all about her that same daughter was "p*ssed" at her because she wouldn't take back her husband, who was on the run from the law. Oh, it just kept getting better and better and I kept PRAYING they would call me back at any moment. What is with some people?

concretenprimroses said...

Some people have poor boundaries and/or mental illnesses. Also there are physical illnesses that undetected can make people behave very strangely. I think that you handled it perfectly.