Tests, Trials and Tee Shirts

While searching through the morass of my computer files, I accidentally stumbled across a piece of writing that I did in 2005 BC (before Covid). Having come upon it again, I just couldn’t resist passing it on.

The scenario: It’s 11:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning in the busy Men’s Furnishings Department at Nordstrom. Customers are milling about waiting to be helped.  The phone rings, I answer. Big Mistake. A woman starts in . . . (I give you HER end of the conversation only). Note: All caps indicates that she’s screaming.

FINALLY!  Somebody answered the phone.

Do you still carry the Nordstrom tee shirts that are made in Canada?

That’s NOT what I asked.  Can you go check?

What other brands do you carry?

Where are they made?

Are they combed cotton?

What else do you have?

What is Underarmor?

Are they thinner than the Nordstrom?

Read me the label.

What do you mean, microfiber?

Read me the part about breathability again.

What size is medium?

What size is large?

Is the Nordstrom thinner than the Calvin Klein?

Can you wait while I go get one to see what size I have?

Can you wait while I try it on to see if it fits?

NO!  I CAN’T WAIT WHILE YOU ANSWER ANOTHER PHONE.  I’VE BEEN TRYING TO GET THIS DONE FOR TWO DAYS AND NOBODY COULD DO IT YESTERDAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO BUSY.  I DON’T WANT TO WAIT WHILE YOU TALK WITH SOMEBODY ELSE ON THE PHONE.  I JUST WANT TO GET THIS DONE SO I CAN GET ON WITH ANOTHER PROJECT.

Are the Calvin Klein’s thinner than the Nordstrom?

Okay, I’ll take a package of the medium Nordstorm. 

BUT LISTEN.  THIS IS IMPORTANT.

Do NOT send me the package you scanned.  You’ll have to scan one, then send me one that hasn’t been scanned because I can’t have anything that’s been scanned around me.

How do you ship them?  

What service do you use?

Do NOT send it by mail.  It has to be shipped, not mailed.

How long will it take?

Why will it take so long?  Last time they came in a day.

How much is shipping?

Why is it so much?  Last time it was only $3.00. Why is it so expensive?  I don’t want to pay more than $3.00 because that’s what I paid the last time.

What is the total?

NO.  I WANT TO KNOW NOW.  I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO CALL ME BACK.  I JUST WANT TO GET THIS DONE SO I CAN GO ON TO ANOTHER PROJECT.

When will you call me back?  

You’ll call me back in 10 minutes?

LISTEN.  THIS IS IMPORTANT.

Do NOT ship in a mailing envelope.  It HAS to be shipped in a box.

Ship it signature required.

When will it arrive?

Her charge doesn’t go through.

I have an incorrect phone number, so I can’t call her back.  AAAARRRRRRGGGGGGG!  Is this a test? 

Obviously, she doesn’t get the shirts.

She calls the store manager a few days later and goes through the entire routine with him.  I forgot to void the original transaction so she gets charged twice

Fortunately, I kept all of the paper work.

She calls the manager again. In frustration equal to mine, he ends up wiping both charges from her account and sends her shirts are free.

Next year, she’ll probably call again and expect more free shirts and free shipping. I hope to God that I‘m not the one who answers the phone when she does.

Lest I forget, I go home and write the experience while it’s still fresh in my mind. The next morning, I showed it to a colleague. She asked for a copy to for her husband to read so that he’ll understand the sort of thing that we have put up with around here . . .

It isn’t always easy to face the fears of others in the face of our own, particularly during these exceptionally difficult times in which we live. Daily, we must choose between right and wrong, and decide how to behave under confusing circumstances that demand our attention. In the long run, it all boils down simply to one choice only: will I act in love, acceptance, and forgiveness, or will I allow judgment, fear, and anger to rule my mind?

Tee Shirt Lady surely did try my patience on that busy Sunday morning years ago. If this entire scenario occurred BEFORE Covid, can you imagine what in Heaven’s name those in the service industry must have to endure AFTER Covid? Pray for them and be kind. They need all of the love they can get. Don’t we all?

5 thoughts on “Tests, Trials and Tee Shirts”

  1. What a wonderful post, Julia. BC – so clever and I love it. You have painted the scenario so well that I feel so much empathy for that 2005 Julia on the phone and for the incredibly demanding customer who must have such a stressful life. Your love, acceptance, empathy and reminder are so inspirational! Beautiful!

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Wynne. I will admit that at the time of our encounter, my empathy quotient was rather low but since then, I have been blessed with the grace of understanding and compassion for her pain. Thank goodness for the passing of time and the healing it brings.

    1. A test? indeed! A frustration? Absolutely! A chuckle? Definitely—the day after, not the day of! Life lessons come in many forms. Stand in one place long enough and they will find you. 😉

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