Friday, February 5, 2010
Let's face it - retail isn't very fun. Some days are good, some days are bad, and some are so terrible you don't even want to talk about them. But sometimes, every so often, you make a real human connection, and those are the days I live for.
The other day I was in the stockroom at work looking over the new stock that I needed to merchandise. One of my managers, Sarah, came back to get me to ask if I could help a woman pick out clothing for a funeral and a wake.
Obviously, these are rough situations to deal with, so I was initially a little weary. I went out to the floor to meet the customer - which actually turned out to be 2 women, a mother and daughter. They both looked distraught - it was immediately obvious that it was someone of close personal relation that had passed away. I know (from my own experience, and other peoples') that death of a loved one can leave you in an emotional fog. You want to talk about how you feel, you want to be distracted from how you feel, and you just want to hide. It was obvious they were mentally far away from the Natick Mall.
I started the ladies fitting rooms, walked around collecting things for them to try, and put together some outfits. They both went into the fitting rooms at the same time, and the mother finished first. She came out, with some success in finding clothing, and sat down on a bench in the fitting room while her daughter tried on multiple options for all of the events that they would have to attend.
The mother and I started speaking casually, and then somewhat more personally. She informed me that it was her son who passed, and that he took his own life. He had been living with her and her husband, and that they both knew things were not looking good. She told me all she could think about now was "What If?"
It's always hard to know what to say in these situations, especially when you don't know the person well (or at all). I, of course, offered my condolences, and told her "we all do the best that we can." Not being terribly religions, I can never honestly say something like, "he is in a better place now." I'm not sure they would have felt relieved by the sentiment anyway.
At this point all I can do is try to make life as easy as I can for a woman who has lost her son, and a woman who has lost her brother and best friend.
The women were wonderful, kind, and easy to talk to. I helped them find everything they needed for the week of events ahead of them, and I hopefully provided a nice little distraction for an hour. They told me that they were just walking around the mall in a complete haze, and that they were happy to have found me. The mother gave my arm a squeeze on the way out of the fitting rooms, and I wanted to hug them both.
It's not that I think retail is life saving, but there are times when I feel like I can make life a little better.
This post is for you, C & C. I hope that I could help you, if even in the smallest way.