Come on, anyone of you have had to deal with them know that lurking secretly in your heart is the longing to treat them exactly like they deserve to be treated, like the huge pains in the ass that they are. They deserve to hear they are stupid. They deserve to know that no one really gives a sh*t about their petty little problems. They need to hear how little their complaints really mean to the big, bad corporation. They need a reality check.
While we have all longed to abuse the customer, very few of us have the cajones to actually do it. I, however, exacted one of the most heinous, cruel punishments on a customer that could be devised. And I did it completely on accident.
When I was pregnant for Emily, I worked at Barnes & Noble. I loved every minute of my job there. I loved the customers. I loved the atmosphere. It was a genuine joy to help a customer find the exact book he is looking for when all he can remember is that it is red with black letters. I lived for the challenge of making our customers happy.
One day while working at the cash register, a gorgeously dignified black woman came up and requested her book that had been specially ordered. I went to the bookshelf and quickly found the book with a piece of paper bearing her name held on with rubberband. Slipping the rubber band around my wrist, I rang up the book.
"That will be $14.93," I said as I quickly whipped the book into a Barnes & Noble shopping bag.
"Oh, I'm sorry," she said, "This book should only be $2."
"Well, unfortunately I do not see anything in our system. Let me call the supervisor."
I made nervous conversation with the customer while I waited for a supervisor to come and take care of the pricing issue with the customer. Especially at that time in my life, any professional confrontation made me intensely nervous. To my vast relief, I saw Kristen coming. She was one of my best friends and vastly funny. I was sure she'd be able to get it settled quickly.
"I'm sorry," Kristen explained. "This book is $14.93. We can't give it to you for $2."
Within moments, to my ever-growing horror, Kristen began to argue with the customer. This gorgeous, dignified woman was giving as well as she was getting, insisting to Kristen's well-reasoned logic that the book should be given to her for $2. Completely forgetting my presence, they began to debate about what had actually happened when the woman ordered the book. The situation had escalated to an almost shouting match when suddenly the rubberband I had been nervously twittering with flew out of my hands and hit the customer square in the forehead!
Whipping her head toward me with shock and disbelief, Kristen exclaimed, "What did you do that for?!?!"
As though I had done it with a purpose in mind!
As though I was chiming in on her side and the best way to win the argument was to slap her in the forehead with a rubberband!
And with every progressive thought of my whirly-birly mind trying to explain and defend myself, the absurdity of the situation became more obvious. A rising laughter I couldn't control was wrestling its way out of me. And Kristen knew it.
It was that moment of anxiety turning to panic and the insane laughter that seems to explode out of nowhere. Like when your mother falls on the ice and you can't help because you can't stop laughing and you are too weak to keep on standing yourself. And the worst part about it is that you genuinely feel bad. You just can't stop laughing.
Working my mouth frantically to get something out before the guffaws began escaping, I managed to get out, "But I didn't mean to!" before running away. I was still laughing uncontrollably five minutes later when Kristen walked in to find out exactly when I had lost my mind.
God, there are fewer things in life funnier than smacking an angry customer in the forehead with a rubberband. Truly.