This Life, by Gerry Moran
I did the shopping last week. I always do the shopping, that’s because I’m retired and have time on my hands. And on my feet. And on just about every other part of my anatomy! Not least my wrist!
Now my wife is retired also, but I retired first and got landed with the shopping chore. Which isn’t a chore actually – I quite enjoy it, not least meeting other retirees like myself with time on, and a shopping list in, their hands.
It’s a social outing now. Many retired folks meet on the golf course but a few of us meet in the aisles of the supermarket.
Anyway, because we had family staying ‘over’ (my son, grandson and daughter-in-law, all the way from Wales) it was a significant shop i.e. a big shop. A one hundred and twenty five euros of a shop!
Apart from other offers in the store, there was a three for two offer on a particular food item.
Being partial to the product I pop two in my trolley. Back home I empty the shopping bags (the hardest part of shopping as we all know) but where’s me freebie?
Damn, I forgot to pop it in the trolley. But what the hell, I’ll pop back tomorrow, or the day after, and claim it. Won’t be a problem I’m thinking.
Boy, was I wrong! Two days later I am back in the store strolling along with a half-full trolley when I come upon a man in a suit. A manager.
“Excuse me,” I say, “but I’m wondering if you can help me?”
And, producing my receipt (without which there’ll be no conversation whatsoever - God knows, you’re at nothing in this day and age without a receipt; indeed I am now of the opinion that when we arrive at the Pearly Gates (we hope) God won’t just ask how good we’ve been but have we the receipts to prove it) I explain my dilemma to the man in the suit showing him my receipt (for €125) with the two items in question underlined.
“Oh, sorry,” he says, “but that deal has to be done on the day of purchase.”
“Why?”. “Policy”, the man in the suit informs me. That’s when I point out the total (€125) on my receipt to him.
“Don’t you think I’m a very good customer?” I tell him, “and surely this can be sorted out.”
“Have you brought the two items with you?” he enquires.
“We’ve eaten them. Why do you ask?” “I’d need to run them through the till to get the free one.”
I cannot believe what I’m hearing. I duly point out that we can get two identical items from the shelf and run them through the till. The manager sees the light, or perhaps the fire in my eyes but off he goes, returning with the freebie.
Now I have no idea how long this man has been a manager but as long as he’s been in the job – he’s not in it long enough to know that a long shopping receipt is indicative of a big spend and not long enough in the job to spot the cost of the freebie – a massive €3! and, for sure, not long enough to realise what a good customer he has on board.
The little run-in might be enough to put people off doing further business in a particular store, but I like the staff who have a way with people, a good way, a friendly way which makes shopping here pleasant, and enjoyable.
Now I seldom have run-ins with managers for the simple reason that most managers are co-operative, accommodating and understand that old adage: ‘the customer is always right’ (even though, I’ll readily admit, we’re not always).
My definition of a good manager is a manger you’ll never have a run-in with because he, or she, can assess a situation rapidly and know how to handle a major issue such as a three bloody Euros freebie!
So, Mr Manager, a word of advice (if you want to keep your customers): park the policies prattle and brush up on your people skills; we, the customers are your bread and butter, not goddam policies!
Just remember - People Before Policies.
Hey, that sounds good.
Maybe if there’s another election (and there could well be) I’ll throw my hat in the ring under the banner: People Before Policies, might even form the PBP Party.
And who knows maybe we’ll win enough seats to be yet another part of this jigsaw government we could end up!