I just had an interesting interaction while trying to return a pair of shoes at a local big box store. (Yes, the one I abhor that rhymes with Schmallmart.) I bought them on Sunday. I tried them on in the store and they were comfy and looked pretty sharp too. All was well until I got home and put them on in the silence of the nest; step, squeak, step, squeak. Sigh. Now I have been down the 'I-Can-Break-Them-In-And-They'll-Stop-Squeaking' road many times, and I have a closet full of fully-broken-in-and-yet-still-squeaky shoes to prove it, so I knew they would have to go back from whence they came. Crap. I finally summoned up fortitude to go back today to do the deed.
I was pleasantly surprised to see no other customers in The Return Line. Usually, at this store, you have to stand for at least 30 minutes before talking to anyone. (It's kind of like the doctor's office that way, but honestly, I'd rather have (insert procedure of your choice here) done at the doctor's office rather than return anything to this particular store.) I thought that luck was with me. I'd be in and out and could get on with my life. Yeah. I'm delusional like that. Hope springs eternal. Kick the football again Charlie Brown.
I took the shoebox out of the bag and put it on the counter and put the receipt on top of it. Skippy, who was all of 8 years old looked at it and asked me what he could do for me. He even smiled. I was on top of the world. This was it! The moment I'd been waiting for! I was going to have my first ever good experience at this store! But then it went a little something like this:
Me: I'd like to return these shoes please.
Skippy (offended tone of voice): What's wrong with them?
Me: They squeak.
Skippy: (picks up a shoe with two fingers looking suspicious and incredulous all at the same time) They squeak?!?!?
Me: Yes, they squeak.
Skippy: Well, didn't you try them on in the store?
(Mom? Is that you?)
Me: Uh, yeah. But it must have been loud in here. I didn't hear the squeaking 'til I got home.
Skippy: (conceding a little) Well, sometimes it IS loud in here.
(Skippy silently eyes me and the shoes for 30 full seconds without any action.)
Me: ...Soooooooooooo I'd like to return them.
Skippy: You can't wear them if they squeak a little?
(Now he's done it. I'm getting a little annoyed. It's open season.)
Me: Um, no. Actually they squeak a lot and in my line of work I really need to sneak up on people.
Skippy: (predictably) What's your line of work?
Me: (eyeing him menacingly) I could tell you but I'd then I'd have to sneak up on YOU.
Skippy: Oh. (crickets chirping..........)
Skippy: So which shoe squeaks?
(Does it matter!?!?!?! You can actually see the little gerbil wheel in his head turning, trying to figure out a way that I can continue to sneak up on people while wearing these lousy shoes!!!)
Me: Only the right one. You can probably still sell the left one.
Skippy: Oh. Yeah....(crickets chirping again...) Well, probably not....
Skippy: Do you want to try another pair?
Me: No, those were the only size 6 ones back there.
Skippy: Did we have any 6 and a halfs?
(Oh. My. God. What is the deal! )
ME: Does it matter? I wear a size 6.
Skippy: Yeahbut...sometimes my Mom......
Me: (cutting in) Look. I just want to return them. I don't want them. They squeak. I don't want to try another size. I don't want to try another color. I would not like them in a house. I would not like them with a mouse. I. just. want. my. money. back!
Skippy: OK ... (and then under his breath) Jeez!
It took 10 full minutes of fumbling with the shoes and the computer, all the while shooting me sulky looks, before the transaction was complete so I didn't have time to go to another store and buy sneaky shoes. I'm going to need them for my next visit to Skippy!