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How To Beat The Heat

, | Hopeless | December 10, 2016

(In the middle of a summer heatwave my store’s AC blows out. Both the landlord and the company obstinately refuse to pay to fix it, each insisting it’s the other’s responsibility. Meanwhile, the AC is out for two weeks, during which the coolest day we have is 95°. It gets to the point where my manager tells us we’re “on strike” – we still have to help our customers, but other than that he tells us not to do any normal chores like restocking, sweeping, straightening the shelves, or unpacking shipment, and gives us permission to sit behind the counter in front of a large table fan instead of circulating the store. I’m ringing up a customer about a week-and-a-half into this Hell and she, like many others, promises to call and complain to corporate on our behalf. Then, at the end of the transaction:)

Me: “And you’re all set! Have a great day!”

Customer: “Thank you, sweetie. Is there anything I can do for you? Want me to run over to [Fast Food Place] and get you a water bottle?”

Me: “Thank you very much, but I think I’ll be OK.”

Customer: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yeah, but thank you!”

(The customer leaves and I sit in front of the fan again. We usually have a stash of bottled water in our refrigerator but we’ve run out, and though I am painfully thirsty I’m not sure I’m allowed to accept customer gifts, which is why I declined the offer. A few minutes later I realize the customer left her credit card on the counter, so I pull up her phone number from our rewards program and leave her a voicemail informing her that it’s in the store’s safe when she has a chance to pick it up. About fifteen minutes later the customer returns.)

Me: “Oh, good, you got my voicemail! Let me get your credit card from the safe, one sec.”

Customer: “Thank you so much, honey! I started to panic when I couldn’t find it.”

(I retrieve the credit card and hand it to the customer. In return, she hands me a two-liter bottle of chilled spring water from a nearby convenience store. I stare in surprise and she smiles at me.)

Customer: “I figured there was a reason I forgot it. You take care now.”

(I couldn’t thank her enough! That water probably kept me from passing out the rest of the day!)

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