Friday, May 01, 2009

Customer Retention

I went on a quick grocery shopping excursion the week before last because I could no longer scrounge up any sort of meal from the items left in my kitchen. (Parmesan Cheese, pepperoni, soy sauce, and something that used to be chicken.) I had just gotten out of class, and was making a quick run before heading home to take care of Casey...because, um, dog food was something else I needed, and if I didn't buy some, there was going to be no "taking care of Casey" just a "starving and angry dog."

I was in a really good mood after having received my latest physics test score (which was a 97% in case I didn't already tell you!!!) but otherwise, the only things on my mind were getting what I needed and getting home. When I got to the checkout counter, I began putting my items on the conveyor belt and was immediately amused by how the items screamed out "lives alone!" Tuna helper, tuna fish, wine, skinny cows, dog food. Hmmm...if that doesn't scream single woman, I'm not sure what does.

So I was smiling to myself as I lifted the 25lb bag of dog food onto the conveyor belt and when I glanced at the cashier, I was somewhat startled to make immediate eye contact.

< Tangent > I always try to make eye contact with people when I'm speaking with them, whether they be the Starbucks barista, the pizza delivery guy or the checkout guy at Safeway. My rule is at least a good second of eye contact and a smile. It's actually pretty difficult to catch and maintain eye contact with strangers. You should try it sometime. It's like we've become a society of no eye contact. I miss it. I think it makes you feel more connected to whoever you're talking to and these days, who doesn't want to feel connected? < /Tangent >

He was a young man, probably in his late teens, but in my eyes he looked approximately twelve years old. He had really pretty eyes, and as he watched me heave the dog food onto the conveyor, they widened slightly.

"Wow. You're really strong."

I got embarrassed and looked down. "Yeah, well, I've had a lot of practice." When I glanced up again, he was still looking straight at me, and at that moment I could see him decide to say something. I braced myself for some comment about the "great night" he could see that I had planned based on my purchases.

"You look like J-Lo. Has anyone ever told you that before?"

My immediate thoughts went something like this: Do not laugh. DO NOT LAUGH. That was a COMPLIMENT. Nevermind that it has no basis in reality. It probably took a lot of courage for him to say that. Don't you even smirk! Just say something non-committal and move on. Do NOT LAUGH AT THIS LITTLE BOY!

I bit the inside of my cheek for what felt like five seconds, swallowed back my laughter and said, "Well, thank you. I don't think I've ever heard that before."

"Well you do. You know who she is, don't you?"

"Oh, I know who she is."

As he handed me my receipt he said, "Can I have your autograph?"

For a brief moment I was tempted to sign 'Jennifer Lopez' but refrained at the last second. I silently returned the receipt, took my bags and with one last smile, I headed out to my car.

Where I dissolved into tears of laughter.

I immediately called my father, "Hey dad, do you want to hear something hilarious?" and proceeded to tell him what had just happened. He laughed, and mentioned that between that compliment and my test grade, it had turned out to be a pretty good evening for me.

"It really has. But dad, do you want to know the best part? From where the boy was standing behind the checkout counter, he couldn't see my butt! He wasn't saying I look like J-Lo because of my behind. He actually thought I looked like Jennifer Lopez!"

And then I laughed again. Because I was flattered. Truly. But in reality? No freaking way kid. Thanks for making an old lady's night.


Kat(i)e said...

I think my favorite part of this story is that it's actually labeled "random awesome."

ems said...

Of course. It was random, and it was awesome! When's the last time you were told you look like someone beautiful, rich and famous?? :-)

Candace said...

You made me smile...Thanks

Aren't sincere compliments nice...I think we need more of them.