I was ringing register yesterday when a woman comes up and asks in a heavy Chinese accent, "Escuse me, where you have a slope-e?" (I spell it like that because I don't know how else to spell it. She pronounced it like the word slope with a long E at the end.)
My brain must've gotten an error message or something, because I stared at her for a good 3-5 seconds before I said, "Excuse me?"
"Iss a slope-e," she says.
"I'm sorry," I say, shaking my head, "I'm not exactly sure what that is."
"Iss a thing you use," she says. Boy, that sure narrows it down.
"What do you use it for?"
She scrunches her forehead as if trying to figure out how to explain nuclear physics to a four year old. "Iss a thing to... uh... for when you want to keep it. Uhh... you know, inna computah?"
Computer. To keep something from the computer. The only thing I could come up with that sounded reasonably similar was a floppy disk. "To save information?" I asked her.
Her eyes light up. "Yes! Iss a like a CD but before."
Before CDs. Gotta be floppies. "Floppy disks?"
I directed her down the correct aisle and went back to ringing. I kind of wonder how she'd have reacted if I'd figured it out from her first clue alone. "Iss a thing you use."
Shopping tip of the day for 9/17/09: If I ask you a question, let me finish speaking before you respond. I realize that the American public has become so overly impatient that you can't wait more than 2.34 seconds for anything you want, but we're simply doing our jobs. We ask these questions because we want to make sure you get the right thing - we really do care. Know why we care? Because we don't need you coming back an hour later to hassle us about giving you the wrong thing. Best to make sure we give you the right thing from the start to avoid headaches later. Other questions we'll likely ask will involve add-on sales, warranties, or other promotional programs we have going on. We ask because we have to. The least you could do is let us finish speaking before saying no.
A good example would be a customer I had the other day. My question was simply this: "We only have a two week return policy on this printer, but if you'd like to get a two year warranty on it you'll be able to use the full $130 you're spending here today toward a new printer if this one should break." In the time it took me to say that question, the guy had said no 3 times. I wanted to smack him not because he didn't buy the warranty, but because he was just a rude piece of crap.