Saturday, October 04, 2003

#5 Time is money

At the next table in the coffee shop was a woman who was visiting from out of town. She needed to vent about her 88 year old mother a very high maintenance woman a retired teacher who raised five children healthy enough to live alone but rather needy because she was so spoiled by her husband who died in 1995 a pastor who was just the neatest guy in the world and she missed him so. You get the idea. My old $19.95 Timex, having witnessed way too many discussions and debates about just how much you should tell complete strangers, just threw up its hands and quit.

So Tuesday I went out to buy a new battery. The K-Mart was out of the one I needed. So I just stopped to browse, and there was a nice looking one in silver and gold (colors), dainty and feminine, for only $14.95 Mentally I subtracted the $3.29 for a new battery, which really brought the price down!

Of course, I know you would never do this, but I made a quick judgment about the clerk who was helping me--a large, tired-looking, middle-aged woman wearing an oversize t-shirt and snug slacks. Wrong of course, as first judgments usually are. She made excellent suggestions about the purchase and readily admitted if she didn’t know the answer to my questions.

Turns out she was from South Carolina and had lived here about a year. Her husband was transferred and is required to stay with his company because he has some patents. She misses swimming in her pool and scuba diving (we‘ve had a horribly rainy summer).

Plans to retire in Florida, she told me. Why not South Carolina, I innocently asked. She told me she's bought two condos, one in Bradenton and one in something Beach just south of there. “Any for rent this winter,” I asked hopefully, since I really like Bradenton. “Nope. Same renters for the past 15 years,” she told me. "They've been nice enough to buy them for me," she added.

This lady knew a lot about time, money and customer service.

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