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Who Knows What He Washed With That Stuff?!

, , , | Right | CREDIT: mgracie18 | October 24, 2021

I work at a soap store. During the intense health crisis months last summer, we were only open for curbside pickup, or if you approached the entrance and knew exactly what you wanted, we would grab the items for you and use a mobile point-of-sale system for quick checkout. You could not come inside the store, and we tried to maintain a strict six-foot distance from all customers. It was very slow, and we barely had any customers, let alone had anything interesting happen.

One day, the phone rang, and I jumped at the chance to answer it because I was that bored. The person calling sounded like an older woman, and she asked me if I could help her with a product recommendation, and I said I could.

Lady: “I bought this bar soap for my husband, and it’s not from your store, but it is irritating his skin. I was wondering if you guys would have something really similar but with gentler ingredients that won’t irritate him.”

Me: “I’m sure we can find something; we have a lot of options. Can you describe the smell or what it feels like? Is it more exfoliating or moisturizing?”

Lady: “I have no idea how to describe it. I wouldn’t even know what words to use.”

Me: “Does it smell citrusy like lemon or orange? Can you tell me some of the ingredients?”

Lady: “I have no clue. He’s used it up mostly so I can’t tell.”

Me: “Okay.”

Lady: “It would be easier if you guys could give it a sniff and see for yourselves. Can I bring it over?”

Me: “Ma’am, it would not be the safest for employees to smell or make physical contact with something in your husband’s personal possession right now, or ever. But maybe we can find another solution. If you have a picture or bring it safely contained the next time you stop by, we might be able to find something similar that works for you.”

Honestly, I was just trying to say anything to end the conversation; I wasn’t expecting her to actually still come.

Lady: “Okay, I will come by soon and you guys can figure it out. Bye!”

Later that day, this middle-aged woman came to the door holding something wrapped in paper towels in her hand. I knew immediately who it was.

Lady: “Hi, I spoke with someone on the phone about a soap I have, and I want to know if you have something that smells similar.”

She unwrapped the small chunk of tan-colored soap onto the table/makeshift barricade in front of my coworker and me and looked at us expectantly. It definitely looked well used.

Me: “Ma’am, like we said, we are not willing to smell your soap. But we would be happy to recommend something to you if you can give us more detail; we can compare it to some of ours. It kind of looks like this one—”

Lady: “I DON’T KNOW HOW! I THOUGHT YOU GUYS WERE THE EXPERTS! THAT’S YOUR JOB! I WAS TOLD ON THE PHONE THAT THERE WOULD BE SOMEONE COMPETENT WHO COULD HELP ME!”

Coworker: “We are not going to smell your soap because, frankly, we don’t know where it’s been.”

Lady: “Great, I drove all the way here because you said you would.”

Me: “No, I said we were open to finding another solution. I don’t think there is any way we can help you.”

She stormed away, still not comprehending the ridiculousness of her original request. My coworker and I had something funny to laugh about, and for the first time that summer, I couldn’t say I was bored.