In the spirit of my prompt for these first ten days of January here on Just Jot It January, I decided to allow my mind wander along the thread of inspiration endowed upon me by this post by Opinionated Man on HarsH ReaLiTy.
My question for the day: when is it okay to say anything?
I once worked for a woman who owned a wool shop. It was an interesting job in that I was in a position to help people with their knitting and crocheting projects; this included aiding them in getting the right yarn for their pattern. While I worked hard to make sure they would meet with the maximum amount of success with their finished article, my boss would say anything to make a sale. Not happy with the colours the proper materials come in? Sure, that other one will work. No. It won’t, I used to think to myself. But how can you argue with the owner of a store in front of a customer? She did this knowing full well that in 99% of cases the customer wouldn’t come back and complain because they would think it was their fault for not doing something correctly. The patrons who would complain were knowledgeable enough not to buy the wrong product in the first place.
When I did say something to my unscrupulous boss, she brushed it off, insisting that the project the poor customer was about to embark upon, their hours and hours of work, would come out fine.
Honesty is one of the virtues I hold in highest importance. Bad sales practices are not confined to the retailers you might think they are. Keep your eyes open and do your research.
I’d like to tell you a story. It’s a true story of a weary traveler who landed after a thirteen hour flight in a country far far away from home. Alone, tired, and barely able to read the signs or speak the language, she found a train that would take her to a station close to the hotel in which she was booked for the night.
Crude map in hand, and fully equipped with an address, she approached a policeman who was standing guard at a road block and showed him her piece of paper. Much to her astonishment, he directed her to go in the exact opposite direction to which she believed she was supposed to go. This should have been her first clue, indicating what was to come. After a little wandering around, she decided to ignore his directions and go where she thought she should. So far, so good.
She walked a little way and came across another hotel. Surely, she thought, they would know where their competition was located! Sure enough she was rewarded with success – another, even clearer map of where she was to go. So off she went.
She had been informed by the website from which she had made the reservation that the hotel was only a ten minute walk from the train station. She wandered along sparsely lit streets, dragging enough luggage for an eleven day trip behind her, quite positive that soon she would recline on a cozy bed, softly slipping into dreamland.
An hour later, she stopped at a convenience store. Whilst waiting to speak to the busy clerk, a stranger stepped up and asked her if she was looking for directions. In English! (It must have been the two maps in her hand that made him ask.) Yes! She replied and showed him the address of the hotel. Oh dear, he said. That is indeed a long way away.
And so she set off again, trudging down dark unfamiliar streets, the traffic on the wrong side of the road and the sidewalks non-existent. Had she never visited this far away country before and felt supremely safe there, she would have lost her shit by now.
After several miles back in the direction she had come, she stopped at yet another convenience store – one that appeared to be on her initial map, a landmark promising that she was close to her destination. Finally.
The clerk there, in broken English, told her she needed to go up the street – again, not in the direction she would have gone, but he was quite insistent. So off she crawled, lugging behind her her tonnes of luggage. By the time she reached the train tracks from which she could, in the distance, see the station at which she had disembarked from her train she was almost in tears. And so she set off in the direction of a large supermarket, hoping that there, someone would be able to finally give her a definite direction.
It was by chance that she came across and made the decision to go into a car-rental office. She stepped up to the desk with her luggage and placed her two maps on the counter.
Help, she whispered, holding back the tears. Three men behind the counter shuffled about, trying to make sense of this woman, our poor traveler. She attempted to speak their language but came out instead with a word here and there and, in her extreme exhaustion, flailed about in sign language, gesturing her utter desperation until the three employees were all but backing away in fear. And then he appeared. Her knight in shining armor.
With one glance at the original map, which just happened to have GPS coordinates included in the address, he gestured to her, Come with me.
She heaved her luggage into the trunk (he wasn’t that gallant) and slipped into the passenger seat as he punched in the coordinates on his street finder, and within seconds they were whipping in and out of traffic in that little rental Toyota. Three minutes later they were at her hotel. Eureka!!!!
He popped open the trunk and went into the lobby while she struggled with her suitcases, wheeling them finally through the door of her refuge. The knight (Sir Non-Gallant) spoke to the desk clerk, laughed a little (by this time she didn’t care) and she thanked him profusely for dropping her off.
And that is how she came to rest, finally, sixteen and three-quarter hours from the time she had boarded her plane to the moment her head hit the pillow and she drifted off into a thankful slumber.
And thank God for little GPS-equipped Toyotas and the marvelous, kind-hearted Japanese men who rent them out.