Patience Is The Key

, , , , , | Right | August 10, 2018

(A woman walks up to my key center, holds up a key, and asks for a copy.)

Me: “Hey there. How can I help?”

Customer: *sour-faced* “I need a key.”

(It isn’t a regular key, but a laser-cut apartment building key, the one her landlord would have given to her for the front and back door. Looking at the key in hand, I shake my head sympathetically.)

Me: “Ah, I’m sorry, miss, but, unfortunately I can’t cut that key for you.”

Customer: “Ye,s you can.”

(Her tone is matter-of-fact, and her expression tells me she will accept little in the way of argument.)

Me: “I wish I could, miss, but–” *motions to the measly collection of simple blanks hanging behind me* “–I don’t have a blank for that key.”

Customer: “But, you make keys here.”

(She says this like she’s informing me of what my job is. I nod.)

Me: “I do, yes, but—”

Customer: “I don’t understand why you won’t make me a key. You make keys here.”

(My patience is waning.)

Me: “That’s your apartment key, isn’t it?” *pulls out one of my keys, a perfect match to hers* “See, this is my apartment key; it’s just like yours. Now, you see these cuts?” *points out the ringed cuts on the blade* “See, these are laser cut, right? Well, I don’t have a laser-cutter, so…”

Customer: “But… you make keys here.”

(Being a six-year veteran in the retail game teaches one instincts. My instincts tell me that if I am not careful, this lady and I could be going round and round all night. I decide to switch up my approach.)

Me: “Yes, we do, but I should point out what it says on your key. Right there, ‘DO NOT DUPLICATE.’ So, you see, because this is a key that belongs to a piece of property that you don’t own, your landlord is telling you that he or she doesn’t want you making copies. You can try a locksmith, but I’m willing to bet he’ll tell ya the same.”

Customer: “I don’t understand. You make keys.”

(The smile returns to my face.)

Me: “We do. Was there anything else I could help you with?”

(There was not. My night improved from there.)

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