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Patience This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Anyonewho has a job needs a lot of tolerance and maturity. I work at a toy shop, andit's important to satisfy all shoppers. Sometimes, though, that doesn'thappen.

Working late one Friday evening last winter, I had my firstencounter with an unsatisfied customer. The day before, apparently, she hadwanted to exchange an item. Since the price was unclear, the store owner was tocall her back with the price. In addition, the new toys she selected needed to bewrapped by the time she arrived Friday evening.

When she approached me andasked about the wrapped presents, I went to where they should be, and panickedwhen I could not find them. I did what I do when I'm stuck - call an olderco-worker.

Returning to other customers, I felt the woman's gaze as shefuriously paced. When she went down an aisle, I was relieved, thinking that shewas more interested in other toys than in giving me a hard time. Five minuteslater, she approached me again and demanded to know where her presentswere.

"This should have been taken care of already. I don't know whyI'm waiting here this long. This is insane."

"I'm sorry, ma'am,but we have two people taking care of it upstairs."

"I want toknow who," she said sternly.

Telling her the names of myco-workers, I felt like I was tattling since I knew she would file a complaintwith the store manager.

As the minutes passed, the air continued to fillwith tension. Another co-worker went upstairs to help. The wo-man then said,"Can you please find out what is going on? It looks like you're juststanding here and no one else is doing a thing. I have places to go and peopledepending on me. Do you understand?" Even though I was supposed to watch thecounter, I did as she wished and went upstairs, where I found the unwrappedpresents. I brought the bag down and began to ring up the items. Julie and Lorenaexplained the situation, and apologized. The customer brushed them aside as iftheir words were dumb excuses and became very annoyed.

"Pleaseexplain to me why I am paying for all these? I don't want this, this, or this anymore," she pointed at three items. "This is ridiculous. I buy stuffhere all the time and this has never happened," she added.

"Weare very sorry. We can wrap the toys right now and it will take just a fewminutes," I tried to calm her.

Relief spread over me when I saw hertemper fading. We wrapped them, and she left.

I tried to forget theincident and busied myself with other jobs not involving customers. One wasenough for a day. Later, a co-worker came over.

"You know never totake that personally, right?"

"Yeah, I just felt bad about thewhole thing," I replied.

"You behaved very maturely. We've hadpeople talk back to rude customers, and that never works. I'm sorry you had to bethe target, though."

Although at one point I wanted to defend myself,I kept my mouth shut. By letting her vent her feelings toward the store and ourservice, I was helping the situation by not being immature and rude.

In acomplicated circumstance, it is wiser to be calm and deal with it as best aspossible rather than avoid it, or create more friction.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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