Friday, November 3, 2017
Notes from the Fitting Room
I work in retail. It's a job I started this past summer. I enjoy the people I work with at the department store. I also don't mind the actual work. I 'm a fitting room attendant, so it isn't difficult. The difficulty comes in actually interacting with the public. Ha!
You think I am kidding, but it's not always easy for this introvert. There are days I arrive home after working and I hole up in my room for 12 or 92 minutes until I feel human again.
My job includes showing the customer to the particular fitting room they will be using. It's a small, but effective touch. Some customers are surprised. Most, though, are pleased to have this done for them. But every week, there's always that one customer . . .
Just the other day, I noticed a lady and her adult daughter scoping out the fitting room area. They both passed by several times together and separately, looking in and quickly looking away when I made eye contact. This sent up a red flag, as you can imagine. Eventually, the mother came in with several pieces of clothing wadded up in her hands and stepped toward a room as I smiled and approached. She was immediately put off by my request to put them in a room for her.
"What for? I have five items." She eyed me warily.
"It's part of our policy to show our customers to a fitting room." The smile on my face suddenly felt plastered there.
"You don't think I can find a room for myself? This was never done in (name of nearby city) stores. Oh fine. Whatever!" She pushed the items toward my torso, dropping several in the process. She made no move to retrieve them.
I counted out her six items, grabbed a tag with the proper number of items on it, and put them in the room next to where she stood with her hands on her hips.
"What's taking so long?" The whining voice of her daughter hung in the air as she passed by yet again.
"They don't trust their customers. I guess we require valet fitting rooms." One side of her mouth quirked upward as she rolled her eyes in my direction. When she exited the her room, she threw a few snide comments over her shoulder.
I have no doubt that she was looking to pack away an item or two in her purse and was angry because I foiled her plan. I would rather have given her a bit of grace and chalked her behavior up to having a bad day. But that was not the case as I saw her dump the items she claimed to want on a nearby rack of clothes and exit the store altogether.
Shortly after that, another customer arrived. We chatted as I walked with her to an empty room for her use. She remarked how nice it was to not have to carry her selections any longer. Because I was still smarting from the nasty interaction with the first customer, the words from the second customer were welcome indeed.
It would've been easy to merely hand out numbered tags as customers passed. But then I would have missed out on being a part of the small blessing for the second customer. Her comments, in turn, were a blessing to me.
It's always worth it to continue to do the right thing. The kind thing. To go the extra mile. Is it easy? Sometimes. Not always. But, even if we don't see the benefit, it's always worth it. And it's worth it because of the Person I aim to honor: The Lord.
And, in small part (admittedly a very small part), isn't that what the whole "loving your neighbor thing" is anyway? Do we love because someone deserves our love? Do we love just because it is easy? It's a greater act of love if the person does not deserve it, right? I don't remember the Lord saying, "Love your neighbor when they love you back" or "Love your neighbor when it benefits you." Just "Love your neighbor (Mark 12:31)." That includes the unlovely. Those we deem unlovable. Not easy, for sure. But then, nothing that comes easy has quite the same reward.
So, the next time you are tempted to chuck it all and forgo doing the right thing, stop and think what blessing you may missing out on. Or better yer, the blessing you may be to someone else.
And that's the note from the fitting room for today.