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Customer Conversation Clashes

In a smaller market store, everyone potentially hears every conversation going on. Sometimes the mix is like oil and water, and no amount of turning up the store sound system will solve anything. It’s the close quarters of 1,800 square feet.

Furthermore, we serve a wide variety of customers. Different doctrinal views. Varying numbers of years as a Christian. Much variety of exposure to different types of ministries.

Customer “A” can only be described as having a faith that is very fragile right now. Two decades of tough circumstances have led to a great chasm existing between her and church. Her faith is real, but she doesn’t always meet peoples’ expectations.  She was making some remark about how people are ‘judgey’ about things like language, when Customer “B” walked in.

I’ve served Customer “B” before, but this day, I saw a very different side of her. Ultra-conservative, and on a roll of quoting Bible verse after Bible verse. And then, through a rather strange route, the issue of language in writing came up in reference to a book on which we’ve placed a warning sticker. (We sticker about 1% of our books to alert customers to things they should know, and as a reminder to staff to point these things out.)

Fortunately, Customer “C” walked in. “C” and “A” know each other, and quickly got into their own conversation, while “B” went on and on about the appearance of evil, causing people to stumble, living by the highest standard, and other themes I can’t remember. Then “B” left. I hoped that “A” had missed the bulk of what had been said.

“C” seized the opportunity to make the quick purchase she had come to make, and that left me back with “A.”

“Do you see what I mean?” she said. “That’s just the kind of judgmental person I’m talking about.” And so on…

Honestly, I can’t remember how I responded. It’s all a blur. The paramedics found me on the floor of the store curled up in the fetal position.

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