Thursday, July 05, 2007

Bike Shop Ruins Customer

I feel like the guys at the bike shop were talking smack about me.

You know how it is. You ask one of the sales people a bunch of questions. You let them know what you're looking for and why. And then one of the sales guys' girlfriends comes in and they've put you up to asking her about some women's cycling club and the two sales guys retreat to behind the counter. You're left standing near the front door talking to the girlfriend and you happen to notice the sideways glance of one of the sales guys. Like he's talking about you to the other guy.

How else can this sideways glance be interpreted? You know what a sideways glance is. It's the indirect look that's supposed to disguise the fact that a person is talking about you (we've all done it). The "I'm looking at the cash register here, not at you. See, my head is even angled downwards." As though you can't see the whites of the eyes that are so obviously fixed on you. It's hilarious.

But also incredibly disconcerting. As I left and got in my car, all I could think about was "What the hell were they saying?" And then I'm left to run through everything I said and everything I did. I replay it over and over in my head. I said this and this. He said this and this. And then it's like, "Wait, he kept mentioning his girlfriend. Did he think, somehow, that I was picking up on him just because I was asking questions?" And then I’m like, "Why the hell would he think that? I have a ring on and I didn’t flirt and it's his job to answer my questions." Then I wonder if I unintentionally sent signals.

And then I become a wreck. Then I wonder if I was one of those annoying customers who dream big but never do a damn thing. Then I remember how he said something like, "Yeah, tons of people come in here looking for triathlon bikes . . ." And there's that elliptical phrase, the unspoken, "but they never buy them and I doubt if they ever actually do a triathlon."

And then I think, "Well, I'll show you, Mr. Arsehole." And then I'm calling him names without actually knowing whether or not he was talking crap about me to his stupid co-worker and, after I left, the girlfriend too.

See, you can't ever do that. Unless you really hope a customer like me never comes into your stupid specialty shop again (I was the only customer in the store, by the way), you can't go behind the counter and have a word about the customer. And if you're not having a word about the customer, you really shouldn't do the eye thing, the sideways glance. Because it LOOKS like you're talking crap about someone. This goes for all social interactions.

By the way, the nice girlfriend: ripped as hell. I couldn't believe my eyes. There were veins popping out of her biceps. That sounds like an exaggeration but it completely isn't. She's probably nice as hell, too. I just couldn't believe my eyes, that's all.


Jodi said...

perhaps the girlfriend is on steroids. and he was looking at ya'll out of the corner of his eyes because he was afraid she'd go into a 'roid rage and start beating on you for talking to her boyfriend and, in fact,t hat is why he had you talk to her, because he has to defer to her in all things. because of the rage.

Aries327 said...

Ha ha. That's really funny. Yeah, you have to wonder sometimes. Like how can a woman be that ripped? I work out and my biceps don't have veins popping out of them.

Jodie K said...

You've hit on exactly why some specialty retail shops make me feel like the nerdy outsider. There's a great lesson here; the folks behind the counter should be required to take some kind of sensitivity training.

During the Christmas holiday, I work weekends at the store, love the employee discount even more. And during new employee orientation they tell you, never overlook or judge a customer in appearance. Esp here in Colorado, where the woman in jeans and Uggs or the “slow talker”, seemingly uneducated mountain man in flannel may have more eccentric money than God.

Dani said...

Niks, I doubt they were talking smack about you. If anything they were saying how cute you were, and how much better looking than the girlfriend you are. Anyway, who cares what they say, go buy a damn triathalon bike and prove them wrong!

Aries327 said...

Jodie K: You're totally right. It's pretty daunting to go into a boutique shop. I think it takes courage to choose the small shop over mass retailer. I've been on both ends, unfortunately. I used to work in a small cd store and I'm pretty sure we were scary to the non-regulars. I know I was scared of the employees at that very store until I became friends with them. But that doesn't happen overnight. You know? Anyway, now that I'm an outsider most anywhere I go, it bugs me more than it used to. Growing up, I guess.

Dani: Thanks for the advice. HEY! Do you think you and Money Bags would mind footing the bill for a low-end racing bike? ;) Honestly, you could think of it as charity work. I'm sure you could claim it as a tax write-off, somehow.

Remember how I almost copyedited your entire dissertation? Ha ha.

I'm kidding. But if you did want to buy me a bike, I'm sure we could barter somehow. I'll come watch your kids at the St. George marathon and you guys buy me a bike. That sound fair.

PsychoIntern said...

I hate when people talk about others behind their back, but I do it a lot... :) Of course, I try not to make it so obvious...

Aries327 said...

Me too. I do it all the time. Mainly it's because I'm looking at other people and figuring out what I like and don't like about being human.

Like Bluetooth, for example. I think it's ridiculous to walk around with a Bluetooth thing on your ear, all the time, like you receive calls every minute and can't afford to miss a single one.

Bluetooth is something I find ridiculous about being human.