Looking Is Free But Time Is Money

, , , | Right | April 28, 2018

(It is 2009, when I have just launched my brand of handmade jewelry and started to sell them it exhibitions and street fairs. I have just moved to a new venue and am scared about doing a standalone show, so I join a group of small business-women entrepreneurs and do shows with them. It is the second day of the show and a hot morning with hardly any walk-ins. After a while, a lady walks in and shows a lot of interest in my jewelry. We talk for around 25 minutes, so I get excited and start doing a mental calculation of how much she will be spending and slowly prepare myself to close in on the sale.)

Me: “So, ma’am—” *giving her a big smile* “—you are absolutely right; these would all look stunning on you.”

Customer: *removes the necklace that she has been trying on and says* “Yes, it’s beautiful, much like the others!”

Me: “So, which are the ones that you will be taking? Can I wrap these three up?”

Customer: “No, sadly, I cannot buy them.”

Me: *shocked* “You like them and they look good on you.”

Customer: “Yes, I do like them, but I don’t have any money with me. You see, I came to buy coriander at the vegetable market next door and just brought some change. When I saw your sign I thought it would be a good way to spend some time looking around. Looking is free, right?”

(The lady smiled and left, leaving me looking stupefied. I wanted to scream, “Looking is free, but my time isn’t!”)

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Think Before One Flaps One’s Gums

, , , , , | Working | October 24, 2017

(My family and I are on vacation in London. We go to the Great British Beer Festival that happens in August. There’s a little vendor there selling my favorite British candy, wine gums, which I can’t easily buy in the US. I’m fairly certain I have a pretty obvious US accent, having lived there my entire life.)

Me: “I’m so glad I found these here! It’s our last day in London, and I haven’t had any wine gums the whole time!”

Vendor: “You know, we deliver candies all over!”

Me: “All over, really?”

Vendor: “Yeah! We can go anywhere!”

Me: “To the States?”

Vendor: *dejected* “Oh, yeah, I guess not anywhere. I meant within the UK.”

(I was sad, too. I really wanted those wine gums delivered to me!)

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Girl Scout Tout

| Right | May 23, 2014

(As a Girl Scout, we have no control over the price of Girl Scout cookies. They have gone up to $4 for around two years now.)

Me: “Would you like to buy any Girl Scout cookies?”

Lady: “Yes, I love Girl Scout cookies! How much are they?”

Me: “They are $4 a box, ma’am.”

Lady: “YOU’RE LYING TO ME! MY DAUGHTER USED TO SELL THEM FOR $3.50!”

Me: “Ma’am, they have been $4 now for around two years. That is the price and we have no control over it.”

Lady: “You are just trying to make some extra cash! My daughter used to charge 50 cents extra all the time! Now give me the real price!”

Me: “That was against the rules, and we have never done that! If you refuse to pay the full price, we cannot sell cookies to you!”

Lady: “FINE! Do you take checks?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, we do! What would you like?”

Lady: “I want two boxes of cookies! NOW!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. That will be $8.”

(She gives us a check, takes the cookies, and walks away. As I look at the check I notice it is only for $7! I run after the lady.)

Me: “Excuse me! We need another dollar!”

Lady: “F*** you! You are just cheating me!”

(She backs up in her car, almost hits me, and throws a dollar out the window! Then she races out of the parking lot!)

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