05 November 2010

sometimes it's better not to know

My mom always said "you don't know if you don't ask". And that has come in handy for me several times over the last couple of months at work. If I'm doing something new and ask about procedure or policy or whatnot, most everyone is happy to give me the information that I seek.

It helps me to know.

But there are cases where it's better not to know. And it serves me right if I asked because I think that "if you don't want to know, don't ask" could apply sometimes too.

A couple of nights ago, there was an older gentleman leaving the store carrying a bag from the pharmacy. He looked kind of sad as I smiled at him and told him to have a good night.

That's when he proceded to tell me that he'd just had his third radiation treatment earlier that day. But he guessed that the bright side was that he only had two more treatments to go.

I'll admit that my brain kinda froze here. Most of the time when people launch stories at me it's just to complain that our store "didn't have what [I] was looking for". And in those cases, I make the situation right as best I can; either by running to an aisle or the stockroom for product or paging management for assistance.

I couldn't fix this one and it really bothered me.

When the customer left the store, Nathaniel and I just looked at each other and didn't say a word. While I don't in any way regret my interaction with that customer, I was just again reminded that I have to be prepared to hear whatever may come.

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