Many of my best stories come from my time at the upgrades counter in CompUSA. We had a cardboard display right on the counter there with some advertisement on it, and we used it as our "Stupid Questions Board." Everytime a customer came in and asked a stupid question, we'd write it down on a post-it and stick it to the back of this board. We left that thing on the counter every day for months, and surprisingly, no customers or even managers ever saw it. When the time came for me to shift out of upgrades and into merchandising, I collected all the post-its, took them home, and typed them up in Word. That's one of the reasons I can remember so many old stories so well - I still have that list.
Today's selection from that list - "Do you have . . . I don't know what it's called."
A lady came into the store looking for something as most customers tend to do. Oddly, though, she had no idea what it was. Even more stunning was the fact that she expected that we should've known. She walks up to the counter and says, "Do you have. . ." and pauses for a minute as her eyes scan the wall behind me, clearly hoping something would jog her memory. Finally, she just says, "I don't know what it's called."
It's easy to forget the name of something - I do it all the time. "Ma'am, what does the product do?"
"I don't know," she says simply. I wait for a moment, figuring she might tell me something about how she wound up looking for who-knows-what, but she just stares right back at me.
So I try to get some information on what kind of job she was hoping this product would help her accomplish. "What does it do?" I ask her.
"I don't know. It's for my son. I think it's four letters."
Simon, a guy I worked with at upgrades, smirks at me from the other end of the counter. I know what he's thinking, of course. "I got four letters for you, lady, but the word they form ain't gonna be what you're looking for."
"OK," I said, trying to figure something out. "What has your son been trying to do? Is there a project he's working on?"
Common sense told me that she had to at least understand that there'd be no real way I could help her if she couldn't provide me with SOME kind of information. What she said next proved me wrong. "I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it's four letters. You don't know what I'm talking about?"
At this point I couldn't help but laugh a little. "Ma'am, we literally have thousands of products in this store. We have everything from games to magazines to video cards. Without any sort of information whatsoever, there's no way I can tell you what you need."
She gives me one of those "What do they pay you for around here?" looks before leaving. Hours later she returned with the name and description of the product she wanted. It was a firewire card for her son's computer. The name of it? Pyro.
Yeah, any idiot would've been able to figure that one out.
Shopping tip of the day for 9/18/09: Ladies - The shopping carts are there for people who need to purchase either a couple of large items or a large number of smaller items. They are not there simply for you to put your purse in while you shop around only to wind up purchasing a mouse pad when all is said and done. Be considerate to the other customers and just throw your purse over your shoulder. Better yet, leave the thing in the car. Either that or take an afternoon to clear out some of the unnecessary junk inside if it's that heavy. Just try to remember that not all stores have an unlimited supply of carts like the supermarket does.
And when you're finished with it, it goes back up front where you found it. Not stretched across the aisle or right in front of the candy racks at the registers. Seeing that kind of laziness makes me wonder how some of you even have the energy to feed yourselves. "Ugh, lifting this spoon is such a hassle! Can't they just make a thing that lifts it to your face for you?! I'm never buying this cereal again!"
But I digress...