Gift Carded And Dearly Departed

| Tacoma, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers, Health & Body, Top

(I am working as an assistant manager at a retail store. A customer comes in while it is slow, so I am able to pay a lot of attention to her, and find her exactly what she wants.)

Customer: “Is it okay to pay by gift card?”

Me: “Of course.”

(I start ringing her in.)

Customer: “I hate to use it though.”

Me: “Oh really? Why is that?”

Customer: “My mom gave it to me for my last birthday, and she passed away two months ago.”

(I pause for a moment to make eye contact with her.)

Me: “I’m so sorry to hear that. I lost my own mom a little over a year ago, so I know what you’re going through.”

Customer: “Oh! I guess you do understand then. Does it get easier?”

Me: “No. I still miss her horribly, and still want to pick up the phone and call her every single day. But I suppose I’m not as raw as I was. You’ll get to that point too, though you’ll always miss her.”

Customer: “Yeah…”

(I finish ringing her up, and swipe her gift card, which pays for everything. Afterwards, I bring her bag around the counter for her, and hand it to her.)

Customer: “Can I… can I make a really strange request?”

Me: “Sure.”

Customer: “Can I keep the gift card?”

Me: “Oh, of course you can!”

(I hand it to her. She puts it back in the envelope that bears her name, and caresses it. I can see she’s on the verge of tears.)

Me: “Right before my mom died, she gave me the package she never sent me for my birthday, which had some Avon perfume in it. I like the perfume, but I hardly ever use it, because I don’t want to have to throw away one of the last things she ever gave me.”

Customer: “Oh, so you completely understand why I want to keep this!”

Me: *eyes filling with tears* “Oh yes, ma’am, completely!”

(We wind up chatting for close to 45 minutes, sharing stories about our moms. By the end of it, we’re both crying openly, but they’re good tears.)

Customer: “I’ve taken up so much of your time; I’m sorry.”

Me: “No, don’t apologize. I’m so glad you came in, and that you were willing to share with me!”

Customer: “Can I… can I hug you?”

Me: “Of course you can!”

(We hug for a long time, with both of us still crying. She thanks me profusely, and vows to come back and ask for me especially. I never did see her again, as I quit not long after that, but it was a wonderful experience. I hope wherever she is, her grief has become less raw than it was when I saw her. I’ll always, always remember her as being one of the best customers I ever had.)

Moving The Line Forward By Paying It Forward

| Las Vegas, NV, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Food & Drink, Money, Theme Of The Month

(I am about 11 years old, ordering lunch at the mall food court, from a restaurant that serves customers cafeteria style. I am alone, and there is a middle aged man in front of me in the line. I am not paying much attention to him as he reaches the register and pays, but does not immediately walk away.)

Cashier: *to customer behind me* “Just the entree, sir?”

Me: “Umm, excuse me?”

Cashier: *to me* “You need to move out of the way.”

Me: “But—”

(I realize she is not listening to me at all, and stand there bewildered as to what to do. After a few seconds, the middle-aged man chimes in.)

Middle-Aged Man: “She thought we were together. She charged me for your meal.”

Me: “Oh! I’m so sorry. I wasn’t even paying attention. Here, I’ll pay you back.”

Middle-Aged Man: “Nah, don’t worry about it. Have a nice day.”

(By the time I get over my shock and try to thank him, he has already walked away without another word. Nearly ten years later I still remember and appreciate it, proving that even the smallest act of generosity can have a lasting impression.)

Never Put The Ball In The Customer’s Court

| St. Petersburg, FL, USA | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid

(I work retail for a sports store.)

Customer: “Do you have a New York Yankees football?”

Me: “A football? Do you mean a baseball?”

Customer: “No, I meant a football. Do you not have any?”

Me: “No, because the Yankees play baseball, not football.”

Customer: “Well you are missing out on a lot of market not selling that stuff.”