Poetry, Reflections, Stories...

“I Want…”

I want…


as yet undefined.

I sense a void

an aching need

a vacant space within my soul.


A restless fire

that burns away the apathy

replacing it with… what?


A breeze to fan the flames

an endless circling

tornadoes in my brain.


The body craves

life-sustaining energy

and pleasurable extremes.


A feeling or a fact?

Illusion of the Heart

that makes me want…


© Lisa R. Palmer, 2016

A true story, an anecdote, of something that happened at work not so long ago. I work retail, and while I do not usually interact with the customers, I do, from time to time, get a chance to work the floor. It was one such day, and I was covering breaks…

A woman wanders into our “craft room” where I was stationed, looking completely lost, so I asked her if I could help? She nodded, looking relieved and said, “Yes, I want [such and such].”

Being unfamiliar with the name, I asked her if it was a brand name, to which she replied, “I don’t know, but I need it to complete my project.” So I asked her to explain her project and what the product was supposed to do. Luckily I understood instantly what she was trying to accomplish, and so I responded happily…

“Yes, I know what you’re talking about,” I assured her. “We don’t carry the particular brand you asked for, but we have a similar product that will do what you need. Would you like me to show you that?”

She nodded somewhat hesitantly, then followed me to where we had the product on display. After looking it over, she glanced up at me like I was daft, saying, “But I want [such and such]…”

“I’m sorry,” I explained again, “but we don’t carry that brand. This product does the same thing, though, if you want to try it.”

“But I want [such and such],” she replied, adamantly, looking me straight in the eye, as if she could change my answer with sheer force of will.

“I understand,” I reassured her, ”but we don’t carry that brand.”

“But I need it to finish my project,” she insisted.

I waited a full second or two before responding, unsure at this point if she was being serious, or deadpan sarcastic… “Yes, I know,” I finally answered, “but we don’t have it. If you need that particular brand, perhaps you can find it at another [big box] store.”

“I went there,” she said, speaking slower now, as if trying to explain to a particularly difficult child, “but they didn’t have it. That’s why I came here.”

“I’m sorry,” I replied, managing to keep the laughter from my voice somehow, “but we don’t have it, either. Perhaps you need to go online to find it; I hear you can find most anything online these days.”

“But I don’t want to go online to get it,” she replied, clearly getting annoyed with me. “My friend shops here all the time, and she told me if anyone has it, your store would!”

“Well… I’m glad your friend thought of us, and I’m truly sorry we don’t have what you’re looking for,” I told her, sincerely. “However, if you’d like to try this [other brand], I’m sure that it would work for you.”

“But it’s not what I want!,” she insisted. “I want [such and such]!”

This time I waited several seconds before responding, while she glared at me, willing me to magically produce her chosen product. Finally, I sighed, looking desperately for a way to extricate myself from this customer…

“I’m truly sorry,” I began, “but I don’t know what else to suggest to you. We do not carry the brand you want, and I don’t know where else to send you where they might have it… Is there anything else I can help you with while you’re here?”

She looked at me long and hard, and said, “Yes! You can get me what I want! It’s what I came for, after all!”

Shrugging my shoulders, and shaking my head, I could only repeat, “I’m sorry, but that is one thing I cannot do.”

And then my supervisor appeared to relieve me (thank goodness!), and before I could stop her, she enacted a ritual perfected by more than 11 years working together…

“Hi!,” she said to my customer, paving the way for my escape. “Are you finding what you need?”

“No!,” she responded adamantly, eager to find someone less stubborn than myself. “I want [such and such]!”

My boss looked at me, confused, noting the jar the woman still held in her hand. “I’m sure Lisa told you, but we don’t carry that brand. However, the product you’re holding is similar…”

“But it’s not what I want!,” the customer insisted…

I shrugged my apologies to my supervisor, excused myself by assuring the customer that she was in good hands with my boss, and left to take my own break. And for some reason, I had a Rolling Stones song stuck in my head for the rest of the day…


21 thoughts on ““I Want…”

  1. Hi Lisa

    The introduction encapsulated it all. Clever mix.

    I enjoyed the read, had to chuckle (been there so often)

    Well done for dealing with ‘the person’. Everyone who deals with public has a story about….I could fill up an entire blog about my time in the UK Civil Service…but we aren’t supposed to-nothing top secret, just not good PR).
    (Oh you just gotta love ‘the public’)
    Best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well that really made me laugh. The women was clearly non connected to the real world in some way. ( She’s not alone in that of course he said coughing.) I would have held up a completely different object and said “What about this then, Not what you want I know, but you have to love the colour don’t you think? And so on till I’d probably ended up getting sacked, so your approach was both wiser and more patient 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You know… I have to admit I’m surprised that no one has asked yet how it all turned out; that would have been my first question..

    In case you ARE interested, I was told the woman left with the alternative brand, but she was not happy about it. Still, I wonder if she finished her project…

    Liked by 1 person

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