Monday, October 15, 2018

Wanisha

I met a woman today named Wanisha. She was at the register at the check out lane at the Dollar Store in Hopkins. I went in looking for Lily's favorite pretzel sticks and Zach's favorite rice cakes. I found the rice cakes right away but circled back a few times unable to find the pretzel sticks. Wanisha observed my meandering and called out, "Can I help you find anything?"  I told her what I was looking for, and she replies and points, "That aisle there and about a 1/3 of the way down on bottom on the right."  I found it immediately and shouted a thank you to her over my shoulder. "Anytime hon!"

I finished grabbing a few things and went to her check out lane. As she was ringing up my items a woman came up behind me and shouted at Wanisha.  "DO YOU HAVE MORE OF THESE?!" 
Wanisha was kind and said no ma'am, but my manager is down that aisle and she can help you.  The woman turned on a dime a strutted off down to find the manager. I turned back to Wanisha and she had tears in eyes. 

"Oh goodness. I am sorry that happened. I am sorry she was so snippy."  Wanisha went on to explain the woman had just insulted her and actually told her she was stupid for not knowing what inventory the store had just before I had entered into her check out lane.  I must have stood mouth agape.  What?  She told me again. The woman wanted exactly 13 of an item from an unopened box.  Wanisha explained that isn't how it worked. They can't sell unopened boxes and the boxes of that item come in 24.  She explained that the woman could make a special order from her manager if she would like. That explanation wasn't good enough and Wanisha was told that she was stupid. 

"You answered her question and gave her a solution.  There is never a reason for rudeness."  I told her. Wanisha asked if I could tell the mean woman that. She wiped her single stray tear and we giggled together a bit.  Right in front of me I saw this beautiful young woman, maybe 20 years old, with gorgeous hair and a funky pair of hexagonal gold framed glasses. Every time I have seen her in the past, she was always being helpful and had a smile on her face.  I went out of my way to use her name on her name tag.  "Wanisha, you are great job.  Use this as a reminder when you get older to never act like that woman. You are doing a great job. And thank you for your help today."

That is when my heart broke a bit. She looked at me for a such an uncomfortable long period of time. She squinted her eyes and tried to take me all in.  I don't think Wanisha has ever heard two words of kindness in all of her days in retail stores. Never has someone complimented her or told her thank you. I think she was still a bit distressed and continued to just look at me without saying anything.  "Have a good day Wanisha, thank you!" I gathered my three small bags and turned for the door.

My husband has worked in a retail setting for the majority of his life since he was 15 years of age. The stories he tells me are atrocious. People are horrible. He has even been made fun of for being deaf and not understanding what a customer was saying to him while his back was turned.  He has had to intervene when customers were yelling and screaming at his employees.  He has offered many a tissues to his employees as they shed tears in break rooms because of how horrible people treat one another.

I have always used these examples as how to not to treat people in stores.  Today was a perfect example. We need to say thank you. We need to compliment.  We need to make someone enjoy their job even if for only a moment.  We need to smile at each other and address people by name when possible.  I need to remember not to rush through each day so that I can move on to the next thing. If I had been rushing today, I would have missed out my time with Wanisha.

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