Thursday, February 5, 2009

Great Moments in Customer Service, Part I

Scene: Work. I'm trying to water plants in the greenhouse, but I've been interrupted a few times already by the CUSTOMER, who has explained that she's looking for a long-blooming plant for a man's hospital room. It's a big deal to her that the plant not be too "girly," though she's also rejected hints that maybe a foliage plant might be a good compromise. The plant must have flowers; they just can't be girly flowers, because they're for a man, and who knows what kind of flowers men like.
 

 
CUSTOMER, interrupting again to gesture at a dark-purple Cyclamen: Would you like this color, if you were a man?

ME, pointedly: "If I were a man?"

CUSTOMER, cheerfully: Uh-huh!

ME, furrowing brow: .


10 comments:

Julia said...

For some people, the wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead...

J said...

I would have pointed her toward the Tolthang variegatus, the Norse tool plant. It's got masculine-looking brown flowers that can be used as shopwipes or coffee filters. Its leaves are rigid enough to scrape painting mistakes off of windowpanes (a benefit in the North, where days are short in the winter and every available bit of daylight is needed indoors). Its roots can be dried and brewed to make a passable substitute for Viagra. THAT would make him feel better! I would have shown her that.

Sunita said...

You should have handed her an Anthurium !

Darla said...

Funny!

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

What Julia said! Now we want to know what you were THINKING at the time....or did that customer's idiocy render you temporarily incapable of thought as well as speech.

lancetx said...

I think if I were a man, I'd say anthurium also. But then I'm not a "normal" man.

Poor dead hamster.

mr_subjunctive said...

J:

Out of Norse tool plants, unfortunately (the perennials don't start coming in for a few more weeks). But I like the way you think.

Sunita & lance:

I think I did try, and she was sort of interested, briefly, but the theme that emerged during the incredibly repetitive conversation was that it was equally important, or maybe more important, that she like the plant. Whether the recipient cared was what she was making all the noise about, but deep down it was all about her. And she didn't like the Anthuriums so much.

Incidentally, it wasn't for her husband or anything like that: it was somebody at her church who may or may not have been her pastor. About whom she apparently knew nothing except that he was, you know, a man.

jodi:

Well, I found it funny, obviously. More embarrassed for her, if anything. When I told the front counter about it (which "if you were a man" looks like it's going to lead to another joke, along the lines of "slut glitter"), another customer overheard, and the customer and front counter person both were being all reassuring about it, oh, she didn't have any idea what she was saying, trying to make me feel better. Which was kind of puzzling to me until I realized that these were straight women, who were used to dealing with straight guys, and straight guys are always needing to be reassured that they're sufficiently manly and stuff. So then I kind of wished I hadn't said anything. Didn't mean to get everybody all worried.

lancetx said...

I find customers often don't know what they are saying.

forest said...

Does Amorphophallus count as a "manly" plant/flower?

I'm surprised you didn't say "I'd bet he'd like pansies."

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

hahaha.