“Why is she still here?” was my thought as I was standing at the counter of my local hardware store … the third time I had been to that same counter and spoken to the same young woman on that specific Saturday. On my first trip, I bought a bunch of things: in my mind, “everything I needed to complete my project.” I was chatty, happy and likely annoying to the young person with my attempt at charming witty repartee … and off I went with spirit and determination. The next trip was right before lunch. I was getting that one last thing I needed, and replacing a product that I had purchased the first time that proved to be wrong. I was in a hurry, business-like — no attempts at charm were made. The third time, I was a beaten man. My countenance had fallen; I had little hope that this third desperate shot in the dark would be the solution to my day of distress. (It was not.)
As I stood there in line, I wondered how many other customers she has seen demonstrating the same obvious sequential cycle of failure? Do the hardware folks make bets in the morning which of their customers will be back and how many times? Or is it so common and predictable that they are inured to it? Inquiring minds want to know.
Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal