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I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Friday, August 24, 2007

I get a lot more than $7.25 an hour.

I'm going to share a couple of stranger's stories with you today. They've both had an impact on me this week and I can't seem to get their faces, or what happened, out of my mind.

Buckle up and hold on.

At the beginning of the week I had a woman come into the shop where I work, a woman's clothing store. She came in with her two teenage daughters. I greeted her when she came in and asked if I could help her find anything (hey, they don't pay me $7.25 an hour for nothing). She shared with me that she'd had a baby a few months ago, her 6th child. Her daughters told me that she never bought anything for herself and they'd talked her into buying herself some clothes that weren't maternity. Well, we were having a really great sale and I led her to some of our best values (forget the $7.25, I could see she didn't do much for herself and showed her where the real savings in the store were). She tried on many things, reminding me of a child in a candy store, but picked out a selective few items. She found me when she was ready and asked if I'd ring her up. We don't work on commission, but I thought it was sweet that she wanted me to ring her up so we waited till there was a register open. She explained to me why she had picked out each piece, all practical reasons, such as how they'd go with more things and wouldn't show baby spit up as much as something else. I wanted to hug this woman and tell her that she should buy at least one thing for herself just because she wanted it, but it was clear that she couldn't really afford to do that. This is something that I understand completely. When I gave her the total, around $150, she paid a little more than half of it in cash and gave me a credit card for the balance. The card was declined. She gave me another card and it, too, was declined. Since we were having such a great sale, the store was fairly crowded and a line had formed behind her. I was being very quiet, trying to keep an appearance as if we were still chatting a little as she asked me to try one last card. It was declined. She told her daughters to go wait in the car. By this time, people are looking around each other to see what was going on at the front of the line, and I saw her eyes tear up, but she didn't let any escape. I asked if she'd like for me to try a little bit on each of the cards. This took a little time, testing each card for how much it would take, but from putting $30 on one, $10 on another and $20 on the last, I was able to bag her clothes and let her walk out of that store with her purchase. I'll never forget this woman.

Yesterday, again with a packed store, two little Hispanic children came running by me, laughing as they chased each other. I walked after them to see whom they belonged to as they ran up to their mom and dad, throwing their arms around their dad's leg, clearly something they were use to doing. I smiled and asked if there was anything I could help them find. The mom returned my smile and told me no, that they were fine. As I started to walk off, the man told me in slightly broken english "Don't worry, ma'am, we are going to buy something". I know I must have looked confused when he said that to me because he repeated "We're here to buy". I said "Well, we've got some great sales going on, so please take your time and browse". A little while later the woman brought me a very nice business suit and asked if she could try it on. I led her to a dressing room, telling her that I loved the suit and she told me that she had just gotten a job interview and wanted to look nice. Her husband was obviously a laborer, as he was dressed in some sort of uniform and, without meaning to sound judgemental, was covered in a fair amount of...dirt. When she came out of the dressing room to show her husband the outfit, she beamed. She looked absolutely beautiful in it. He smiled and nodded. A few minutes later she brought me the suit and said she'd take it. When I rang them up and gave them the total amount, the husband paid me in cash. As I took the cash from his hand, he made direct eye contact with me and said "See, I told you we would buy something". He didn't say it in a confrontational way, not at all. He said it in a way that made it clear to me that he has had to prove himself before. His english was broken, but it was clear that his pride was not.

As I've said before, the pay sucks, but I really don't hate my job.


Blogger LoveLladro said...

now who's wiping tears! great stories Kathi ~ thanks for sharing!

12:43 PM  
Blogger 3carnations said...

Those stories gave me the chills. So they pay you $7.25...but it sounds like YOU'RE paying the customers with your compassion. :)

1:06 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

What great stories. The first one made me tear up a little, and the second one made me fell proud for that family.

I'm glad that you do enjoy your job, but even more I'm glad that you were able to help both of these families.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

I worked for chicken feed for 4 years in a drugstore. I had my favorite customers, and I will never forget most of them. Of course, there were the others...but great stories.

One of the most colorful was Leroy, whom we called simply "The Sheriff." None of us knew what had happened to him...whether he was born with a brain injury or what. There were rumors he was once "normal" but fell off a roof or was struck by a city bus. He wore a black Lone Ranger mask and carried plastic pistols in holsters, and we were always kind to him...even though he was VERY stinky and wanted to give us hugs. I was one of the only people who could understand him. I have a photo of him somewhere in a box, and I smile every time I see it.

Even for a shy girl, I got a lot out of working in public. I don't miss most of it but I don't regret it, either. It really enriches your life.

Thank you so much for sharing your stories. Pure gold.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Sometimes we're called to a mission field where different scenarios are presented, but the same love and compassion is given. Kudos!

12:56 AM  
Blogger ~ Amanda X&O said...

I love your view on your customers. If every person in retail had your attitude, I'd shop more.

Ok... so maybe that's NOT a good thing. :)

4:28 PM  
Blogger Casually Me said...

The first story...thus the reason I love ya. Many folks would have been too busy, or enjoyed making this woman squirm. You get some bonus points from the guy upstairs for that one.

7:16 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

lovelladro ~ awwww, sorry for the tears darlin.

3 c's ~ that's such a sweet thing to say, thank you.

michelle ~ yeah, I did think while I was helping the first woman that I was glad I'd gotten her because someone else may have not tried to help her. It was embarassing enough for her the way it was.

nancy ~ I know. I'm sooo shy, this was really stepping out of my comfort zone...but I'm so glad I did.

rosemarie ~ great point.

amanda ~ lol, silly girl.

tom ~ awwww, ya love me. =) Thanks for the kind words guy.

10:22 PM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Thanks for sharing these, kathi. I worked for $6.30 at a grocery chain just before minimum wage went up and I got his job I'm at now. I got a kick out of many of the elderly people. One woman in particular would come in just to try to rile up some of the younger cashiers. I took to butting in, and handling her sales myself, as she knew exactly what she was doing. Finally, the one day, I looked her in the eye and asked her if there was ANYthing else ANYone could do for her (after about 5 questions from her trying to get someone in trouble). She looked me right back in the eye and said "I guess it's time I went home now, I've caused enough trouble for one day!" ANd she laughed and left the store. She was back the next week, trying again tho LOL.
You definitely earn $7.25 times 725. Keep up the good work!

8:48 AM  
Blogger The Real Kidd said...

You are such a wonderful person! Man do I ever feel lucky to know you! Even if it is only in the cyber world.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

You are such a dear person. Both stories are beautiful but I loved the first more because of your patience and tenderness. That ladies will remember your kindness forever....
the second story was special too. Thansk for sharing them....

12:12 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

dabich ~ that's so funny, she was just trying to get someone's 'goat'. LOL, too funny. Hugs right back at'cha!

kidd ~ girl, I'm sure I'm much better to know in cyber world than the real one...consider yourself lucky! ;)

rose ~ that's so sweet, thank you, I appreciate your words.

12:26 AM  
Blogger DZER said...

you are worth $725 an hour!

you should submit one or both of those stories to Reader's Digest or something ... very nice.

8:36 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

dzer ~ awwww, you should come by more often. ;) Hugs darlin'.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Wonderful stories. Really.

7:40 AM  

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