Now you usually get all types of 'old folk' in any store you can think of. There's the cheeful grandparent type, the cranky old biddy/bastard, and then there's the third type. The third kid can barely walk, may be on oxygen and have legs that tremble so much, half the employees converge behind them in order to catch them in case they keel over backward. One look and you know for a fact that they should be sitting in a comfy chair in their jammies enjoying their twilight years, not tottering around in a mall or store that suddenly looks impossibly large if you dared to look through their eyes. You know they're not healthy enough to follow you to the section, even if you walked slowly and offered your arm to hang onto. But for whatever reason, they need something, and so they haul their aching bodies up and go to the store. They either don't have loved ones to pick it up for them, or else they are determined to hang on to that last thread of independance left to them. Whatever the reason, however the method, they somehow make it to the store and request assistance.
Thus far, everything is beautiful. He knew the title and the author, and we had it in stock. Staff was immeditately attentive to his needs and comfort without having to be asked. A staffer appeared out of the cafe with a chair as soon as the elderly gentleman appeared and tottered his way to the info desk. As the grateful Elderly Gentleman sat down, I went on my mission to look for and retrieve the book he wanted.
I have the title, the author and the location written on a piece of scrap paper and I'm heading to the section, when Asshole steps directly into my path, bolidly blocks my progress and asks me where some book is.
"It's in the Psychology section, which is right over there." I gesture to it.
"Aren't you going to help me find it?" Asshole asks, his voice rising just a bit to hint at a whine.
"I'm actually helping another customer at the moment, but I'll be happy to help you as soon as I've finished with him."
I try to walk around him and he sidesteps to block my path again. "Maybe you didn't hear me. I need help finding my book." He voice drops again to a threatening growl.
"Maybe you didn't hear me, sir. I'm helping that gentleman over there." I gesture to the elderly man, who is slightly slumped over his cane in the chair, but still managing to carry on a friendly and animated conversation with Truck. "If, however, you are in a rush, the information desk is about ten feet behind me and you can get some help there."
He looks at the elderly Gentleman, sizes him up, sniffs distainfully and plants himself squarely in front of me. "I'm not interested in walking that far. I'm asking you, and I expect to get the service that I deserve."
In a cartoon, fire would have sprung up behind me, also reflected in my eyes. I would have grown twice his size and I would have told him what a lowlife jerk he was in no uncertain terms until he shrank down to teeny, tiny size and fled like a frightened mouse.
Instead I gave him my most oily, nasty smile, and told him, "Certainly sir. I will give you the service you so richly reserve."
He relaxed with a superior, smug sneer and proclaimed, "That's better."
And with that, I darted around him before he could react and went straight to the section. He stood there with an expression of profound shock on his face. I retrieved the best looking copy of the book I was searching for and carried it back to the Elderly Gentleman.
Yes, that was the right book, and he was very happy to have it. It was at the time of day when there was no line at the registers, so he was run up right away. He politely declined assistance and tottered out the door.
Of course Asshole wouldn't let it go and he chose, of all people, Truck to complain to. Truck flicks me a reasurring glance then turns his "FBI stare" at Asshole.
"While, yes, I agree that it is our job to assist customers, Ilia was currently helping someone. If you really felt that you needed help finding a book, you should have asked someone who was not already busy."
Asshole flinches as the stare but continues to bluster, "Buh, but she was rude to me! She needs to be taught some manners! I demand that you reprimand her right now!"
"I heard her. She was polite the first two times that you rudely demanded assistance. After which, apparently she simply decided to exercise her right to refuse service to you and continue doing her job."
When the man refuses to let go, Truck gives him the look and tells the man in no uncertain terms to stop harassing employees.
I love Truck, and I miss him so bad!
But seriously, it was obvious I was helping someone and that someone obviously needed more help than Asshole. Out of the hwole store, only Asshole was the only one unable to get that?
May all your customers be nice,