~ notes from an uncommon journey ~

Why a Health Food Store Worker Told Me to Love Myself—and Why I Won't Shop There Again

On a recent Friday night I ended up driving around in an area that I don't usually, just looking for somewhere different to eat. I found a little Greek food place, and while I was waiting at the drive-through for my gyro and fries, I saw that across the street was a health food store I've been intrigued by, so I figured I'd stop over there after I got my food. (Don't think I haven't noticed that I just wrote "gyro and fries" and "health food store" in the same sentence....)

So I drove over there, parked and went inside. I figured I'd look around a little bit but make it quick so my food wouldn't get cold before I had a chance to eat it. I browsed for a few minutes, picked up one item, then got an idea. I walked to the counter, where one of the employees was helping someone; another was apparently just having a casual conversation, because she turned to me and asked how she could help. I asked her what the number one, "top of the list" thing was for acid reflux (I suffer...daily). Well, this woman launched into a laundry list of every single thing that I simply MUST start doing—or stop doing as the case may be (ya gotta eliminate a lot stuff too, apparently). This was simultaneous with a tour of the store, each stop being the next thing I needed to start taking.

Now, believe it or not, I don't think she was trying to sell me—at one point she mentioned that they don't work on commission—as much as trying to convince me of the necessity of doing ALL of the things she was throwing at me.

When she got done, I said, "Wow, that's a lot to take in." I was thinking, "I don't know that I'm ready for that much change." She didn't hesitate when she responded, "You need to start loving yourself."  Uh, wha...?!? ...is what I would have been thinking if—it didn't make so much sense to me. I said, "It's interesting you should say that...that's been a real theme for me lately. And I'm determined that 2011's going to be a different year for me in that regard." She expounded by saying that a lot of people come in, the staff tells 'em what they need, and they walk right back out the door because they're not ready for change. Whoooa...sound familiar??

I can see how if you don't truly love yourself, you're less open to change—because even though you don't "love what you've got," it's all you've got...and you cling to it desperately, just so you have something.

Our conversation was done at that point, and she went back to whatever conversation she'd been having before, while I thought more about what to do. Well, I didn't have a lot of time (my food, relatively unhealthy though it may've been, I was still going to eat—and it was getting colder as we spoke). And as usual I didn't have a lot of money, so I said "Well, I hate to be a stereotype, but I'm just going to get this one thing" (unrelated to acid reflux, by the by). I stepped back to the counter, and while she continued her previous conversation, she began pulling together bunch of brochures for me (fine, no problem). So her coworker rang me up.

This guy must be a peach in real life. As part of ringing me up, he asked me for my contact info. so the could add me to their system (which I totally understand as we do that in my store). So I gave it to him...which, naturally, involved giving my street name. Now, my street name happens to be Tuckahoe Lane. (Oh yes I did just tell you that.) Soon as I said it, he goes, "Really?? I wanna live there...I'm gonna come live by you." (giggle) Yeahhhh, I let that one just hang out there. Didn't say a word. ("Sorry"; more giggling.) *gag*

At some point in the next day or two I realized: While that lady is probably right, not just about loving myself, but maybe also about every single health thing she told me to do, I won't be shopping there again. (In fact I plan to return the one product I did buy; I'm certain I can easily obtain it elsewhere.) And do you want to know why? It's because she didn't meet my stated need. At my company, we've been trained (and rightly so) to first meet the need that the client tells you she has. It's why she came into the store in the first place. Once you've done that, you can engage her to see what else she needs and make additional recommendations. But you meet that stated need—first.

Let's review: I'd asked for what was the one thing at the top of the list for my condition. Implied is: I don't want a laundry list. What I got was a laundry list. And—it's not that I am completely un-open to change. If I were, I wouldn't have even walked into the store! I just am not ready for that much change...all at once. For better or worse, gradual is the way for me. Drastic equals stressful in my book, and Lord knows, I don't need any more stress. If she had said "The first thing I would recommend is _______" and then asked me questions to determine other solutions to focus on, that would've been one thing (and I would've been more open to her suggestions). But she didn't. Well guess what: I don't want to shop where they steamroll over what I asked for.

And—her coworker's crudeness...well, that's just the kicker. Being in retail, I take an additional lesson: Keep it classy. I don't want to shop where the creepy cashier's gonna be crude.

I'll keep on working on loving myself...and take my health food business elsewhere, thank you very much.

1 comment

  1. Unerstood.
    Anyone in retail (that knows anything about retail) knows that service is the key to return business. Those people are idiots. LOL.


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