I give you an example of perspectives…
Last night (Saturday) a client came to pick up her chandelier. She’d just come from the Montgomery Gentry concert out at the air base, where she’d gotten to go backstage, take pictures with the singer, and been given 6 tickets to the final Brooks and Dunn concert tomorrow night (Monday). She gave two of them to me. I called home real quick to make sure Honey wasn’t working that night and we could go. We were all excited.
My (rather overwhelmed) perspective:
This morning I go to work and get a call from the client. She’s all in a panic; some story about her mother took it upon herself to call the sister and got the sister on a plane to Vegas thinking that she has tickets to see this concert. Those would be the tickets the client gave me. And she wants them back. She says she’ll make it up to us, take us out to dinner, but OMG she’s gotta have those tickets back. So I tell her fine, no big deal. I send Honey a message saying tomorrow night is canceled, long story, she wants the tickets back.
Honey’s black-n-white perspective:
She gave us tickets; they’re ours now, Hell No she can’t have them back. Indian giver!
Me: What am I supposed to do now? I know this is gonna get ugly – these are not the kind of people who take ‘no’ for an answer. So I call the client and say look, I should’ve talked to my husband first, he doesn’t want to give them back. As expected, she breezed right past that like I didn’t say it. She said we gotta have those tickets, we’ll go to the house and pick them up – for the record, I was smart enough to say flatly I wasn’t giving them my home address – and of course she was right down the road from the shop and was headed to see me. She wants me to explain everything to my husband, all the back story and make this happen; I call home.
Him: No! It’s not our fault or our problem. I’m gonna burn ‘em.
Me: Really, what am I supposed to do? These people are coming to my work expecting to get their way, I can’t leave and I don’t need a scene right in front of the counter and possibly customers. Besides, this is personal, not business. I’m on the phone with Honey in the back office when they arrive. By this time the tickets are ash in the bbq out back, a bombshell I’m not man enough to drop, I’ve spoken to both sides at least twice – I’ve omitted a lot of the yelling swear words for this post – everyone is pissed off except me (my turn comes later). I say a small prayer and step out front. I tell them the most expeditious thing would be for them to speak to my husband directly and privately. I take them into the office, close the door, call home, and let all Hell break loose.
Him: hehe, bring it. (I think).
Me: Honey spoke to her. Once he said he’d burnt the tickets she passed the phone to her husband, who had already lost his temper, and at a certain point said he was an FBI agent and would call the venue to have the tickets invalidated, if we wanted this to get ugly.
Him: Would you like their number?
Me: Dear Lord, here we go. I’ve been staring at the wall with a blank expression this whole time. The husband loudly says, do you want this to get ugly? I say, are you talking to me? He says yes; I say no. He says I better talk some sense into my husband and hands me the phone. I say hello very sweetly, knowing there’s no sense to be had from this mess. I hand the phone back; shortly after it’s slammed down and they storm out. I say ‘I’m sorry guys’, to which the husband snaps: no you’re not, if you were you’d do something about it, and slams the door in my face. In all honestly, my very first thought after that was: you don’t know my husband.
Deep breaths. Call home.
Him: That went well. His voice tells me he’s smiling. If you’re going to argue morals, remember you gave those tickets away and they are property of someone else. The morally correct thing to do would be solve the situation by buying replacements – basically the exact opposite of everything you just did. You don’t ask for gifts back (that’s ballsy at best), you don’t get nasty when the answer isn’t what you wanna hear (rude), and you definitely don’t try to strong-arm me into doing what you want (go fuck yourself!).
Me: I spend the next hour on the phone. The client called twice. Between those calls I was on the phone with Honey. They want to bring back the three amazing fans I found for them and the chandelier from the night before and they want it all credited to their Amex. (In theory to punish me for not bending to their will). I paused, momentarily considering how wise it would be to tell them about our “all sales are final” policy, if that would be poking an angry bull with a stick, and went for it. I said they could get store credit or exchange them. Her husband said he’d contest the charges with Amex. I said ok, or he could take it up with the manager on Tuesday, it really wasn’t up to me. He made some snide comment about how that wasn’t up to me either, how convenient. We hung up. By this time Honey is practically giddy. The tickets were free - easy come, easy go - and he made it so they couldn’t win, which is more infuriating than losing. I’ve been cool as a cucumber since the angst was deflected off of me and I’m starting to see the clear picture now. These people are shitty. The client calls again. She’s a little friendlier and conversational now, almost chatty, and she’s trying to figure out my husband’s irrationality. They don’t believe for a second that the tickets are burnt. I say if he says he burnt them, I believe him. Now she says her husband isn’t gonna do anything, there was a little more discussed confusion on their side, and we hung up.
I call the manager so he’s not blindsided if they come storming in on Tuesday.
Later that afternoon, having had time to think things through, now I’m pissed off. When you give something away it no longer belongs to you, nor do you have any claim to it…possession being nine-tenths and all. There are two of us, Honey and me, in this marriage so if I say yes and he says no and we can’t compromise, then we stick together whether we agree or not. They think that because they gave them to me and I said yeah sure you can have them back, that his opinion means nothing. Or that I’m gonna stomp my foot and say “you will” and override my husband because they want me to. (Haha, nice try). I realize I’m younger than them, which automatically equals ‘kid’, and they’re so used to throwing money and weight around (possibly doing the flip-flip to other people with the so-called FBI badge) that they’re used to getting their way, but they’ve never come across someone who truly doesn’t care. That would be Honey. And they’ve never had to fight irrationality – that will make you crazy if you think about it too long.
So Honey was right. I couldn’t see it until I was basically removed from the situation. He said I was thinking about it from a customer service standpoint, which I was, but the truth is if they bring everything back…I lose about $14 dollars. So live and learn I guess.
I am not a door mat; you will not walk on me.