Hey there, RHU. Without Nametag here, and last week's post about dogs reminded me of a dog-in-the-mall story that I had yet to share. While there were some strong opinions on both sides about "no dog" areas in parks, I think most of us can agree about shopping with dogs.
I swear none of this occurred before Paris Hilton decided that she could take her dog with her anywhere she wanted. Suddenly, everyone had a tiny dog who desperately wanted to go clothes shopping with them. Lately, it's not even tiny dogs in purses. Now I'm seeing German Shepherds in the mall. They're leashed, yeah, but... really? And not one of these dogs is wearing a service vest. On most larger stores the rules are clearly spelled out on the doors: "Please wear shoes. No photography. Service animals only." But no one enforces it, because I live in a dog-centric area.
The only enforcing that I've noticed is in a mall in a less-affluent neighborhood: big signs on all of the mall doors declare that the dog that comes into the mall must be a service animal and wearing a vest, or that the animal must be accompanying the owners to a photo shoot in a photography studio, and that the animal must leave right after the photos have been taken. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Anyway, on to my story.
Years ago, I was working as an on-call slave for a larger department store, and waiting for the elevator to take me upstairs, where I had been paged by a manager to take care of something. While I stood with several other customers at the elevator, I noticed a woman in the shoe department who was acting strangely. She was bent over, looking under fixtures, and calling out "Giselle..."
My immediate inclination was that a child had wandered off, but she didn't seem frantic enough. Her voice was sing-songy, like she was playing hide and seek.
Unfortunately, she spotted me in my uniform, and I guess that screams "I have all the answers," so she headed over.
"Could you help me? I've lost my dog."
Places you expect to hear this: in the park. In your neighborhood. From a lady tacking "lost dog" fliers to telephone poles. NOT in the shoe department of a store in the mall. In truth, since people had started shopping with dogs, I had been waiting for something like this to happen. Lost dog in the mall. A pair of dogs sees one another in a store and starts a fight. Barking. Abandoned waste or piddle. Someone getting bit, or someone who is terrified of dogs or highly allergic complaining.
Even though I had been expecting an "incident," I was surprised when it actually happened. I think my response may have been to blink at her.
"My dog, Giselle. She was in my purse, and I set it down in the fitting room to try on clothes, and she hopped out and ran away."
I suppose that she was nice enough, but I couldn't help but think about how stupid this situation was. "Can you get someone in Customer Service to help me?"
The company had done away with a physical Customer Service department months earlier, and had doled out it's responsibilities to the sales people. Everything was done from the registers now. Because we got this question so often, I gave her what was basically this memorized answer in reply.
"Oh. How about security?"
I was still rather stunned, and the elevator doors had opened, so I directed her to the register in shoes, where they could call security for her. But, as I got on the elevator, I couldn't help but imagine exactly how that call would go from LP's side.
"Giselle? How old is this little girl?...a dog? Oh, hell no. I'm not putting out a Code Adam on a dog. Frankly, this woman could be running a bait and switch, having us scour the store for her damn dog while some accomplice robs us blind. Tell her to find her own effing dog."
For her sake, I hope her dog was found quickly, in apparel in the center of the store. Because two of our doors lead to parking lots, and the third lead to the mall. A department store is not a safe place for a loose dog.
May all of your custies remember that they are not Paris,