Your favourite customer

When a person comes in and the first words out of their mouth are "It's your favourite customer" - one of many who claim such an honour, and what you want to reply is "actually, I can't stand the sight of you, please leave my shop". What you say though is "aha; that you are"

They then proceed to say "you look tired. Good night, was it?" this is followed by a wink. What you want to say is "no, actually, it was a shit night. I've not slept a wink, feel like shit and would rather be anywhere than stuck here at the moment". Instead you reply "yeah, something like that"

The next words from their mouth are "So, how are you?"

This is where it's gets harder, because what I want to say is "Shit; I am totally shit. Life is shit, always has been, always will be"  You want to carry on then and explain why it's shit "because yesterday I got told after 6 weeks of running back and forth to a vet's 'specialist' with my dog, whom I have spent thousands of pounds with (money I don't have to begin with) and will need to find more because the insurance are being arse's and not wanting to pay, I've now been told that the most likely cause of the fluid build up in her heart, which I've had drained 3 times now, is due to an aggressive and incurable cancer. However, they can't tell me for definite if that is the problem, without me putting her through open-heart-surgery, at a cost of £5000. This will also include her being stuck at the surgeons for a week while her wounds heal, and will be followed by another 4 weeks of her being at home, not allowed to do anything (have you ever tried to stop a Staffie from jumping?). IF it is cancer, then she will have a day in the surgery every 3 weeks for chemo, and this will not cure her, but will (most likely) give us another 3 - 6 months with her). If it's not cancer then we could have up to a year; the nurse then followed this by "So what you do want to do, for we have a surgeon available tomorrow morning?". That's what I want to tell the customer. That my heart is not just breaking into a million pieces, it has been completely shattered and those pieces are being stamped on constantly. I want to tell them that I don't have the £5000 for surgery which means even if I could have her around for another year, I can't afford the costs involved. I'll be honest though, the vet seemed so certain it was cancer, I have decided not to put her through the surgery. I will never forgive myself for such a decision as I have always vowed to do everything I can for her. I just don't think it is fair to put her through 5 weeks of pain and suffering, and having no quality of life, for my own selfish needs and wanting to keep her around. Those are the words I want to tell this person I despise in my shop, yet I smile, and say "yeah; things are good right now"

That's what working in this job entails. It's not about me, or what's going on in my life. It's not about how I may have spent half an hour locked in the toilet earlier, sobbing like a crazy woman because the enormity of the decision I have just made has hit me like a tidal wave. It's not about my wanting to be at home, having as many cuddles as I can with my furbaby, before you have to watch a stranger put a needle into her leg, ending her life (I literally have no idea how I am going to be able to deal with that when it happens). It's not about how crushed I feel that I finally began to believe that maybe, just maybe, for the first time in my life, the hope that I was holding onto so tightly is finally going to prove to me that not everything ends in death and destruction, and I really did hope and genuinely believed everything was going to be ok. You could have knocked me for 6 when the vet phoned and told me she had "bad news". Even she said she was shocked at what they were seeing on the CT scan after the way my dog had been bouncing around her office - she was full-of-the-joys-of-spring yesterday. If you'd met us as we left home, you would have given her fuss and never even given a second thought to the fact there could be something wrong with her. That bounciness to her, that zest for life, is making everything so much harder to deal with. I can't let my customers see that though. They don't walk through the doors to be confronted with that, so when they ask how things are, I always reply "yep, great, thank you"

A customer asked me once if I was ever 'miserable and down' because I am always so cheerful. If only she knew. I guess I must be a pretty good actress. My shop neighbour is always praising me for my "joyful and upbeat attitude" telling me she wished she could be 'more like' me. She believes I never let anything get me down. 

When you run a business, any kind of business, it should always be about your customers. They are always the most important person in your shop (even the ones you despise) and they should always be made to feel that way). 

I know I've touched on this before, and probably will again, however, I like to repeat myself. Please remember when you go into a shop, or pick up the phone, that the person the other end may be having the shittiest day of their life, so go easy on them. Even if they've made a mistake, remind yourself they are only human (as are you and I am sure you have all made mistakes in the past) and while you may have a right to complain, try to show a little compassion for the person the other side of you. They may well be at "break-point" in their life and your little bit of kindness (even when you're pissed off) could be the thing which restores their faith a little in humanity, and stops them from considering darker alternatives.

I, myself, have just had someone offer to take my car to be MOT'd for me tomorrow to make things a little easier on me. A little thing I am sure to most of you, but it's the little things which count in this world.

Now, if I could just win the lottery this weekend, things might look a little brighter.