Please Don’t Touch
Taped to the front door of the craft store was a piece of yellow paper telling me to turn off my cell phone, and if I am a solicitor to please go away because she won’t want to talk to me during business hours.
The owner stood silently behind me looking over my shoulder as I looked at wooden bowls. She took a wooden bowl from my hand as I was about to put it back on the shelf and said, “I should really put the price on top so you don’t pick up every bowl and look at the bottom.” I thought she was being nice and trying to make it easier for me to find what I wanted.
I found another display of bowls, picked up each one and studied it carefully. I wanted a bowl that had character; A wooden bowl that looked like it was originally part of a tree. “Should I get the one with the knot on the side that is a light wood, or the darker one that has streaks through it. Or maybe the one with the small visible worm hole.” I don’t like to purchase an item the same day I look at it. I like to take my time making a purchase. I think about if for a day, maybe for several days. Then I drive back to the store, anxious that someone else may have bought what I want, before I get there.
I walked over to another display and saw a large wooden bowl on the back of a shelf. There was a stuffed bunny leaning against the bowl and several stuffed apples inside it. I moved the bunny and the apples to look at the bowl. I picked it up and looked at the bottom of the bowl. Then I placed it back on the shelf and put the stuffed apples back in the bowl. I was about to put the stuffed bunny back where it was leaning, when she appeared beside me and grabbed the bunny out of my hand. She said,”I don’t mind if you pick up the things, I just want you to put things back where they belong.”
I felt chastised, and wanted to say, “Yes, mother. I am sorry I was naughty and touched your bunny. Will you please forgive me and let me go out with my friends tonight?” But I just said, ” Oh, sorry” and started to head for the door.
I thought maybe she didn’t know how her comment made me feel, so out of kindness, and wanting to help her with her business, I walked back to where she was standing and said, ” I wanted to let you know your comment made me feel uncomfortable and that I don’t want to come back.”
I thought she would say, ” Oh, I am so sorry. I have so many items, I just like to keep it neat. Or maybe she would say, ” Oh honey, I didn’t want you to feel bad. I shouldn’t be so anal, and make my customers feel like children. Or ” I have such a problem with control. I really do need to lighten up and let customers actually touch the items I am trying to sell.”
What she did say.
In front of her store is a sign that says, “Celebrating Three Years In Business.” I wonder how she managed to last that long. Maybe the customers remembered to put the bunny back where it belonged and never had their hand slapped.
I won’t be back.
About Pamela Hodges
My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.