The Business of Shopping

A lot of businesses talk about customer service.

Few of them actually deliver, and I believe it’s because it’s a seldom few who know what it the phrase really means. Living in a smaller town, there is a big push to support local merchants and for the most part, I agree. Unfortunately, I can’t shop for my kids in town, unless it’s their groceries. Shoes and clothes have to be purchased roughly 45 minutes to an hour away.

Therefore, when trips to the “Big City” whichever direction that may be, are strategic and include trips to stores we don’t have locally. One such store really gave me an eye opener in a good way. Upon check out, one employee who jumped to help me with the my cart, offered two really great suggestions regarding purchases I made. His colleague was helping with the transaction and asked if I had considered upgrading my membership, which would allow me to earn back 2% of all my purchases. She explained the change simply, quickly and made complete sense to me. Within five minutes, my membership was modified, I had a new card and was heading to the parking lot. Second Born Son was with me, and he was blown away by the experience. THAT’S how obvious it was.

You see, when we buy items locally, there is a certain assumption. It is assumed that we will buy from our local stores, therefore the level of interest to actually be interested in the purchases we are making isn’t significant. If we don’t buy there, no biggie, they know our neighbors will. They’ll be back next week, and the week after. Unfortunately, my shopping experience at some businesses has left me feeling less human and more like cattle in a chute. Truly – like the change drawer is still closing and I’m the one saying “Thank You” to them!?!

I don’t apologize for shopping out-of-town from time to time even though some people would have you feel guilty for doing so. I work very hard for my pay cheque. It is not in my best interest to burn the gas to drive out-of-town to shop. However, I do get tired of clerks who refuse to make eye contact with me, and heavy sighs when I ask if there “is any more in the back.”

It’s been a long time since I actually felt good about spending money. So much for the customer always being “right”.

Little Sister

I think it says a lot about my relationship with my sister to state that I can’t really remember much of my life that didn’t have her in it.

Whether it was watching my father pull her out of the pool in early April, fully clothed in her snowsuit, or wearing a swimsuit, swarmed by cats coming from every direction as she fed them dinner, I have had a front row seat for the life that is Little Sister’s. When we were younger, we were either best buddies or bickering bitches¬†sibs.

As much as we were alike (she always wanted to pick the same chocolate bar that I picked at the corner store), we were very different (I never had a problem falling asleep at night, she would need some “wind down time” before drifting off – more on that later!) She had naturally curly blonde hair. I think you remember what my hair was like.

She is a free spirit, a young heart and big laugh. There are few mothers more dedicated than she, and she has been dealt – and endured trials that few others could overcome. I feel I have helped with that sense of tenacity. I like to take credit for shaping the person she is today!

It came from years of holding her hands after she pulled her mittens off and stuffed her hands into snow drifts. Either that or it was when I’d cross the hall to her room in the dark of night and pound the ever lovin’ crap out of her for failing to SHUT UP when I told her I wanted to go to sleep. I tempered her physically and emotionally which prepared her for life’s challenges!

Now, in one of life’s little twists of fate, I work with my sister. For her actually. We were recently asked how it was to work together – and neither of us could come up with an answer. Partially because we have always worked together, in less formal circumstances, and also because of the nature of our relationship.

We have always had each other’s back.


Happy Birthday Little Sister!