Now, let us discuss mathematics and secondhand clothing. I promise this ties together.
We took a little shopping jaunt to my favorite consignment shop. $72 worth of clothing was laid upon the counter. I walked out after paying $9 cash. Here's the break down:
Original tag prices: $72
After tag sale discount: $32
My in-store credit applied to the sale: $23
Remaining balance: $9
Now, my dears, what was the value of the clothing we purchased? $72? $32? $9? And did I spend $9 or did I save $81?
Value apparently is in the eye of the beholder. Which is why I want to viciously attack the hidden cameramen. It's not funny anymore. I've spent the last ten weeks of my life in a battle, apparently to the death of my sanity, with customer service. My mother-in-law could place her hand on a Bible and testify that she saw me become a venom-spewing demon. BLESS HER for still loving me. And for not walking out the door with all my children promising that she was taking them to a better place. She just kept reading books to them. What a woman.
I've remarked on customer service here, and my outlook hasn't changed. If companies would hire me to teach a day seminar on appropriate customer service, it would change the world and I would be rolling in wads of cash.
Sidenote: Just in case you're the head of a company who wishes to do just that, this is my bullet point seminar:
-How to listen and pretend you care
-How to apologize for things that aren't your fault
-When to argue with a customer; quick answer: never
-Speaking the language/dialect of the people calling in: a quick guide to winning friends and influencing people
-How to love and adore the angry people you'll be talking to all day
-Automated systems: how to make fussy people even fussier in 5 quick keypad pushes
My most recent come-apart was when we landed in a local Verizon store. The external speaker on Lumberjack's phone recently bit the dust. Not a problem, and we could totally live with it in an alternate universe, but he keeps on-call hours and having a phone that you can hear ringing is a necessity. Especially in the middle of the night. We hoped for a repair; no dice. We faced the reality of buying a new phone. At this point it might've been in everybody's best interest for me to shout JESUS, TAKE THE WHEEL and leave the store with my hands dramatically flying. I didn't.
Instead, with us now in her clutches, the salesgirl rattled off a stream of numbers that sent my head spinning. Apparently there was A New Phone That Was Just Released Yesterday. And if you buy it today, you'll get a $300 bill credit. And then you'll get this premium offer of only paying $27/month for the next 24 months (this might as well be the rest of my life). And because he's a hospital employee Serving The Community, there's this additional discount. Oh, man. Thank you for your service, Sir. You are a real hero. Please Look Away While I Magically Apply the $300 Bill Credit Twice and make it look like you're making money off this dumb thing. OH WAIT. That sounds like a great sales tactic! I'll actually tell you that if you buy this phone, you'll make money off it!
Oh, can I, now? Can I, please?! BECAUSE THAT IS EXCITING MAGIC.
I stood firmly rooted to my position. I wouldn't budge. She took the Boy you are really an idiot for not believing me tone. Madam, I'm about to dial 1-800-LOSE MY JESUS. There is no way you can keep your job as a salesgirl and Verizon stay in business if you are actively selling all of your products at a loss. Quit pretending this is what you are doing. At this point it was totally sweet timing that my little cherubs were apparently emaciating away from Total And Actual Starvation. It was super helpful that apparently in that same moment they completely forgot how to behave like human beings. It made for the optimal excuse for leaving the store.
"I will think about our options," I said, hoping the hashtag #nothingthatyouveshownmeisanoptionandplusyouareawful wasn't blinking too brightly above my head.
Regardless of how you view savings, I see it as spendings. I didn't actively save $81 at the consignment shop; I simply spent $9. And no matter how many times a sales clerk magically deducts a one-time $300 credit and insists that I am turning a profit by spending $648, I refuse to believe that money works like magic. The flip side is tantalizing, I must confess: if what she says is true, and that valuable discount can be achieved by the average customer, think of the discount if I worked there! The apparent solution is to put my application in straight away so that I can work alongside her because we obviously have the makings of an epic friendship. I can't wait!