Secret Shopper

Today I saw a sweet sight. A boy, maybe 11 or 12. He was circling the gift card station at Stop and Shop while seemingly looking around to be sure a certain someone wasn’t around. Then he took out his brightly colored wallet and made a quick count of the bills filed away. After tucking his wallet back into his pocket, he took one quick last look around before he plucked just the right gift card off the rack and tucked it carefully underneath the items in his basket. With just 3 days away from Father’s Day, I have my suspicions. How sweet that he is so careful to ensure the element of surprise. And, how amazing that he is using his own money to buy his father a gift.

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Today I saw an interesting product; a hair brush on one side and a mirror on the other side.  Never the two shall meet.  Look-Brush-Look-Repeat.  Interesting.

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Zero Stars

Robin’s Review for a Local Consignment Shop

I began by calling the number listed on the web to check for today’s hours. The gentleman who answered the phone paused for a moment, and said “I guess we will close around ‘1:30-ish’ “.  Okay, so it sounds like a rather casual atmosphere.

Upon my arrival, I saw that the hours posted in the window said that they closed at 2 PM. Unfortunate for the customer that comes between 1:30 and 2:00 pm.

The store is a small store, with things organized in an intuitive fashion (pun intended). I browse the store for a while. I settle on a pair of pants and a unique jewelry holder. I had grabbed some cash on the way out of my house, sensing that this smaller operation would be cash and carry. Yes, they only take cash; no checks, no charges, no debit cards. I hand the gentleman a $20 bill for an $8.50  purchase. After rifling through the cash register drawer for a moment, he hands me back the $20 bill and instructs me to go down to the pizza shop five doors down to have it broken. I ask for clarification, “Are you going to walk down to the pizza shop to break the 20 or do you want me to walk down to the pizza shop to break the 20?”  He said he wanted me to.

I was confused. But, I am the customer. And, there are two other men here in the store working with him. Out of the three of them, one of them can’t walk down to the pizza shop to break the 20? This is customer service? I took my $20 bill and walked out of the store. I did not walk to the pizza shop.

Later that night, I was talking with my husband and kids about this experience over dinner. My youngest son was focused on the $8.50. My husband pointed out, rather accurately I must admit, that in fact the store had lost much more than that. I’m a frequent shopper at consignment shops, so this store lost ongoing business from me.

The next day I called the store to share my experience, just in case the fellow I dealt with yesterday was in fact not the owner, I was sure the owner would want to know about this “customer service”.  The number rang for a while, and then a machine picked up that says simply “the mailbox for this number is full and cannot accept messages”.  No professional message indicating the business that it is attached to. No hours. Never mind no ability  to leave a simple message. Wow. This one will go on my Never Again List.  Zero Stars out of Five Stars.

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Two-For-One Special

One place where there’s really not room for a two-for-one special would be at a stop sign. Just because I’m facing you and am taking a left turn in front of you doesn’t mean that two of you get to go at once, one after the other. Each driver needs to stop individually at the stop sign. No, just because the fellow in front of you stopped doesn’t mean that stop counts for you too because you’re right behind him and going straight, too. One at a time, please!

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Today as I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes, something caught my eye.  It was the unmistakable blur on the stove top of grease that had been wiped.  What else do I see; effort.  I see the effort made to clean up a spill.  Now, some might be annoyed that the spill-cleaner-upper didn’t even take the time to spray a little cleaning solution and wipe it away with a paper towel.   But, no, not me. I appreciate the effort put forth here.  And , the “F” written in blue Sharpie on one of the stove knobs? Well, again, effort.  The Sharpie wielding artist clearly had a plan. The   “F” written in blue Sharpie helped this person to know which knob turned on the front burner.  Effort. Clearly put forth to use the stove top.  It’s all good.
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A Lid For Every Pot

I recall a conversation that a friend and I were having. We were talking about people with unique personalities, with idiosyncrasies.  She said to me “there is a lid for every pot”. I pondered this, and went on to use this  colloquialism I had learned from her from there on after in similar situations.

Well, today at the secondhand shop, I found a bunch of lids for pots. Real life ones, though.  And, I thought of my husband. He is my lid. But, also, just yesterday, he was complaining about my use of plates as lids for my pots and pans when I cook. Oh, the complaint didn’t come out of nowhere. He saw a few lids for pots that I had in the pile for donation, and wondered aloud where they were headed off to. This is when he commented on not being aware that we had lids for pots in the house, as I always used plates. But, these lids that I was donating were aluminum, not very versatile. They fit over the boiling pot in a way that allows condensation to drip down the outside of the pot, making a sizzling sound on the burner. It got messy, and I always wondered about it putting out the gaslight. So, into the donation bin they went. They just might be perfect for what somebody else is looking for. After all, there is a lid for every pot, right?

So, back to my secondhand shop trip today. I found three lids for pots, all different sizes, glass, with handles that don’t get hot.  I will be giving these to my husband tonight as a gift. He is always so supportive of so many different things. He is my lid.

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Eleven Rusty Nails


Today, while waiting in my car for my son to return from his day camp, I was doing some general neatening and rearranging. I came across a pile of rusty nails, 11 in total. I know exactly where these came from. You see, I carry around with me ways that I have been wronged. And these nails, they are from a gas station I patronized some months back, a gas station that I feel wronged me.

I stopped into the gas station to get my son a snack and a drink after an event. Little boy is hungry and thirsty; I act. After making our selections and paying, I noticed the bed of rusty nails I had parked in. I collected a handful of rusty nails, and went back into the store. I put them on the counter as I explained to the man that I had collected these from the parking lot, where I was parked, under my tires. As he stood, silently looking at me, I felt compelled to explain what the issue was. “They could give people a flat tire” I said. his response was simply “They are doing construction on the gas station.” He stood there, not really looking at me, just stood there. I quietly took my 11 rusty nails off of the counter between us and walked out. I share with my son as we got into the truck that we would not be going back there, that he didn’t care enough about his customers, even in a basic way. I have held true to my declaration, and have not returned, even when my gas light is on with no little bars left on my gas gauge, even though he is right by the highway right where I get on.

These 11 rusty nails here in my truck are a reminder to me that I have control of how I move forward when people have wronged me. I cannot control what others do, but I can have a say in how I move forward with it. I can decide when, if ever, I give another chance.

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