Since I turned 30 (and now I’m about to turn 31) I have a little less patience for people who try to treat me like I’m 20. I used to feel like it was a rite of passage, like hazing into the real world. Now, I’m tired of it.
Last week I ran to Walmart in a fit of, “Oh dear God I have to get some form of decorations for Abe’s birthday party.” Walmart is my least favorite of all the marts but it was right there and I was in a panic. I ended up buying a little motorized bubble blower that I put on the front porch for folks to walk through as they entered the party. The damn thing broke in 16 seconds. So yesterday, I took it back.
As I walked in I realized I didn’t have a receipt. Eek. I figured I’d try anyway. I approached the customer service desk and watched as the lady in front of me had a casual conversation with the woman behind the desk as though I didn’t exist. It was clear I was standing there, clear I had something to return. Not even a glance in my direction. I stepped closer to the desk…”Excuse me, is this the line for returns?”
The woman behind the desk looked at me. “Yes.”
“Oh, ok. Great. I’ll just wait.”
The two went on talking. Yeah. I’d say it was a good 5 minutes of talking while I waited there. I finally wandered away to entertain myself near the gum section when I saw another employee approach the customer service desk. She was a short, middle-aged black woman who was giving me attitude before she even saw me. I re-approached. Keep in mind that I remained incredibly cheerful and kind throughout the following exchange. Tone is important here, people.
“Are you available to help me with a return?”
“Where? Here?” No, lady, over there in the restrooms. Can you process the return of this bubble machine in stall 3?
“Yes, here. This is customer service, right?” I asked.
“Yes. What are you returning?”
“This bubble machi…”
“Oh, that’s cuuuute. Where’d you get this?”
“I’m not sure, somewhere in party favors. But it doesn’t work.”
“Oh, it’s broken, huh? That’s a shame.”
“Yes, and I’d like to return it. I don’t have the receipt but I have the card I used.”
She paused and sighed. “Well, that ain’t gonna do me any good.”
“Ok. You can’t look it up from my card?”
“For the millionth time, we ain’t Target.”
“Oh. Wow. Ok. I didn’t know that was a Target-exclusive service.”
“Yep. And we ain’t it. I say it all day.”
“In fairness, that’s the first time you ever said it to me.”
“I mean I say it to other people all day,” she snarked.
“Yes, I know what you meant, but since I’m getting bitched at for all those other people I thought I’d mention I didn’t know before this moment that you ‘aren’t Target’, so it’s actually a first for me.”
She stood quietly and stared at me, half pissed off that I “talked back” and half surprised. “Well, it’s not a service that we offer. It would be terrible for us back here if we did,” she said.
“But it would be nice for your customers, and your customers are actually the reason you’re standing back there. Right?”
About this time the woman who was engrossed in conversation with a customer this entire time left her conversation to join ours. She threw her hand up on her hip and looked at me. I smiled. I’m guessing she has a hard time being alone.
“Actually, the reason we don’t offer that service is because it’s very expensive and our prices would go up. You know our slogan is (yes, she said this) ‘Save Money, Live Better’? It’s ‘save money’ because we don’t do things the way Target does.”
“Gosh,” I responded, “That’s an answer if I ever heard one. Thanks so much for chiming in.”
I left shortly thereafter with my $9.48 feeling incredibly proud that I didn’t let that woman make me feel like shit for asking a question I truly had no business knowing the answer to. I also felt proud that I wasn’t shaking from head to toe. (Ordinarily when I let people know that I don’t like the way they’re treating me, I get hot, shaky, red, and then sweaty. It’s a glorious combination.) And I learned that I will never go back to that mart, and I will always keep my receipts.