A good rea­son to be happy

Bray People - - Bray People -

HAPPY CHRIST­MAS to all. Yours truly is happy any­way. Be­cause the shop­ping night­mare is over for an­other year.

As I write, I’ve just picked up the last of the Christ­mas presents, and the weight off my shoul­ders is so im­mense it’s as though Elvis in his fi­nal ham­burger-eat­ing days had been sit­ting on me.

No more rack­ing the brain about what might suit as gifts for fam­ily mem­bers and loved ones (not nec­es­sar­ily the same thing), or what you’d have to try fob off in the ‘it’s the thought that counts’ bracket. No more traips­ing through aisle af­ter aisle in the for­lorn hope of in­spi­ra­tion. No more fruit­lessly go­ing from one place to the other, when you know the one thing that some­body would love, but which is prov­ing far more dif­fi­cult to find than you’d ex­pected. And no more won­der­ing if you’re go­ing to too much trou­ble try­ing to find some­thing ‘nice’ for some­body, when all you might get back from them is a pair of socks and a packet of biros. But most of all, no more hav­ing to deal with the one thing that makes shop­ping more of a night­mare than any­thing else: peo­ple. Other shop­pers, shop staff, and even store man­agers are all to blame in dif­fer­ent mea­sures, and if you don’t be­lieve me, al­low me to rid­dle you with ex­am­ples: There are the shop­pers who hold up queues af­ter they’ve been dealt with, by stand­ing in the same spot to sort the coins in their change into one com­part­ment of their purse, and the notes into an­other, be­fore then fas­ten­ing the purse, putting it back in their hand­back, fas­ten­ing their hand­back, and only then gath­er­ing up their pur­chases to make way for the next cus­tomer. Look mis­sus, can you PLEASE just take a step or two side­ways be­fore do­ing all that, to al­low the next per­son in to be served? Such a sim­ple thing can make a big dif­fer­ence to ev­ery­body else be­hind you.

Maybe you’re a shop as­sis­tant who be­lieves in the per­sonal touch, but doesn’t re­alise that while there’s a time and place for ev­ery­thing, there are also times when it doesn’t suit. You know the sort who con­tin­ues to chat chirpily to the cus­tomer at the till af­ter the pur­chases have been rung up and the change handed back, when there are other cus­tomers wait­ing to be served. Surely the first pri­or­ity in any shop is to serve all cus­tomers as smoothly and ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble, and that can’t be done if you hold them up for the sake of chat­ter. And if it’s the cus­tomer who’s con­tin­u­ing to chat­ter even as the staff mem­ber is try­ing to end the con­ver­sa­tion, they shouldn’t be afraid to say ‘sorry, I’ve more cus­tomers wait­ing’ - you might an­noy the one poor soul who’s there with noth­ing bet­ter to do, but you’ll have the grat­i­tude of the many more in the queue be­hind them, so it’s bet­ter for busi­ness over­all.

Un­less of course you’re the sort of store man­ager who doesn’t want to serve cus­tomers, as was the case in an­other shop just last week. There were three tills at the counter, and three staff mem­bers there - seem­ingly per­fect to deal with the ten or so cus­tomers who were wait­ing while one of the staff dealt with ques­tions from the per­son at the top of the queue, ex­cept that the other two staff were stack­ing shelves in­stead of man­ning the tills.

Af­ter a full five min­utes (a long time to be stand­ing wait­ing) of the queue get­ting longer, one of the other staff fi­nally beck­oned to the per­son sec­ond in line and said ‘I’m not sup­posed to be serv­ing cus­tomers, but I’ll let you off any­way’. Fair play to him - but what sort of store man­ager would give that or­der any­way, to not serve cus­tomers at a peak hour and do some­thing that could be done at a qui­eter time in­stead?

Oh, woe is me as I re­live those frus­tra­tions - but happy I am now as I re­mind my­self it’s all over. And next year, shop­ping on­line is def­i­nitely the way to go!

The weight off your shoul­ders when the Christ­mas shop­ping is fin­ished as is though Elvis in his fi­nal days had been sit­ting on you...

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