That’s One Stocking-Filler Of A Story

, , , , , | Related Working | September 24, 2017

(I am about 10 years old and am shopping for Christmas presents for my family. I am allowed to go off by myself, with strict instructions from my parents when and where to meet up with them. I go into one shop and notice one of those interactive dance mats you plug into a TV, like they have in games arcades, and I know my sister really wants one, so I purchase it. The shop is also running a promotion where you get a free stocking with every purchase, and I am SO excited. When I meet up with my parents, I proudly show them the gift I bought and gush about my stocking.)

Me: *excitedly* “Mum, Dad, look! Isn’t it great?!”

(My parents exchange a look.)

Mum: “Well done, sweetheart; I know she wanted one. But Dad and I have actually already bought her one. You’ll have to take it back.”

(I am crushed. I head back to the shop very upset; not only am I very disappointed that I don’t have an awesome gift for my sister and am going to lose my stocking, I have severe anxiety and am convinced the shop workers will be angry with me or think I’m stupid for returning something half an hour after buying it.)

Sales Assistant: “How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, I… um… I need to return this.” *hands over dance mat*

Sales Assistant: “Okay, is there anything wrong with it?”

Me: *tearing up* “No, it’s just not needed anymore.”

(The sales assistant looks at me for a minute.)

Sales Assistant: “Are you sure? If it’s just unwanted we can offer store credit, but if it’s broken I can give you your money back.” *she smiles* “So… is there anything wrong with it?”

(She nods at me encouragingly.)

Me: “Um… yes? It’s broken.”

Sales Assistant: *brightly* “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that! Here; let me get you your refund.” *she hands me the money* “And please keep the stocking as a gift from us, to make up for the inconvenience!”

(She winked at me. Stammering my thanks, I left and rejoined my parents. That was 18 years ago now, and I still remember that worker’s kindness to a sad little girl on what must have been a difficult shift. Thinking about it restores my faith in humanity, even now. Thank you, lady.)

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