Customer Service

I wandered a short distance down North Road yesterday while I waited for Rusty to change the oil in my car. This used to be a separate village but is now part of Welshpool and it has some really nice homes.

All of them along the road have spectacular ocean views so just take that as a given. Right now I’ll just show you some houses, or part of houses, to give you a feel for the area. 🙂

Today’s topic is Customer Service. I started thinking about this last night when I had to use my superpowers to help a couple of friends. More on that later. Memories started to come back from the time early in this century when I worked in a bookstore. It was usually a straightforward task to get somebody what they needed. Not always though.

An older woman came in one day and wanted me to find a book for her friend. It was a book she herself had read, but she couldn’t remember the title or the author. She did remember buying it in an airport “If that helps”.

You might think this was impossible, however the internet is a wonderful thing. I got her to give me as much of the plot as she could and pulled out all the nouns. Luckily there weren’t too many novels with that combination so it only took about 10 minutes to read back the synopsis of a recent tale of a guy and his bicycle. I was a hero. 🙂

Another day brought in a couple I can only describe as creepy. He was over 6 feet tall and dressed all in black and skulls. She looked like the sweet school teacher in Rocky Horror Picture Show before she gets corrupted. They wanted books on things made from human skin. I directed them to the true crime section and only relaxed once they left.

I failed but felt that survival in this case was a positive.

Every year the High Schools try to broaden the minds of their young charges with reading assignments that require purchases. Sometimes they warned us in advance, but rarely.

On one late evening a kid came in desperately seeking The Golden Bough. He was supposed to have the assignment done a few days later. Of course, we didn’t have it and I wouldn’t have been able to get it in on time for him. So, I told him to come back when we closed and wait for me, went home and got my copy, brought it back and handed it to him. I said the cost of the book would be him getting an A on the assignment. He came back a few weeks later and showed me that he had done just that. Once again my hero status was achieved.

Another “book” on the list was Shakespeare’s Henry V. The first problem was (again I didn’t have the list from the school) that the kids didn’t know there was more than one Henry. I had to call a teacher to figure out which one and then hand the boys their copies.

A few hours later a woman came in and said she was the mother of one of those boys and I had given him the wrong book. Apparently I had given him a play and she felt he should read the original novel. It took a while to (politely, no really I was polite) that Shakespeare wrote plays and sonnets and this one wasn’t based on a novel. Another failure.

All of these (and other memories) came back because of a text conversation I had last night. Two friends of mine went wrinkling (harvesting sea snails from the rocks at low tide). It’s quite lucrative if extremely hard/cold/wet work.

The conversation really (I can show you on my phone) went like this:

  • Them: The tide won’t go down!
  • Me: Oh, sorry. I forgot to turn it on.

10 minutes later:

  • Me: OK All done. It should go down now.
  • Them: It’s about time!

Once again I was a hero. Sometimes it just requires special abilities. 🙂


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