Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Christmas Jerk!

www.thekeystonekid.org It was a cold morning in Wichita Kansas, but that was typical for Friday November 29th.  The stores were jam packed with shoppers taking advantage of  the Black Friday Sales, the sporting goods stores were no exception. Charley wasn't in the best of moods, this was something his wife used to do, he didn't like crowds, didn't like having to stand in lines and as of late, didn't care much for holidays either. He wasn't unusual in those regards because the holidays, starting with Thanksgiving were hard on a lot of families. It was a season of depression for some and the lack of patience had come about and learned in a fast food society where most everyone was used to getting what they wanted when they wanted.

While the lines and crowds at Parsons Sporting Goods were not nearly as bad as the big box stores like Wal-Mart or Best Buy is was still substantially worse than any other time of the year. Lines were at least 5 customers deep on each of the stores 6 registers and although the store had brought in extra help for the holidays there were short tempers from some customers not getting the help finding things when they needed. Most of the customer service reps were at the end of the line on their nerves from trying to be patient with the customers. After looking through the store longer than he expected for a specific soccer related item Charley finally decided to hunt down a salesperson on the floor.

While the section for soccer wasn't the largest display in the store, it was still busy as soccer was a popular sport in Wichita.  Charlie, in his early sixties, was a little older than most in that department but he was persistent, coming off at times as a jerk. By the time he finally got a clerks attention, one who had been talking to another customer, he didn't come of as just a jerk, he was brash and direct. "Excuse me Miss, I've been in this store for 45 minutes now when can I get some help?"   

Sandra was a young woman who had been raised in a close nit family, she had learned manners but wasn't quite so used to such a direct approach from a customer, especially when she was helping another customer, a young mother looking for some Christmas deals.  "Excuse me sir, I am just about through, if you can wait another couple of minutes I'll be glad to help you." Sandra was shocked at Charlie's response yet kind in her tone.

www.mosaicwichita.com"I've been waiting for 45 damned minutes lady, how much more to I have to wait."

"I'm sorry sir that you've waited that long I'll be right with you as soon as I am done with this customer,"

Charlie's response was short and to the point, "Dammit!"

Sandra was as she said, helping Charlie within a few moments after helping the young mother. "I'm sorry for your wait sir, but how can I help you?" Sandra for her young 21 years was as polite as anyone could be.

"Well I'm glad someone is sorry, I have things to do."

"Like I said sir, I am sorry but how can I help you?"

www.thevirtualpew.com"I am looking for anything from the old Wichita Wings, what do you have!" It wasn't as if Charlie
was asking, he was telling Sandra to show him some products, even though the Wings had not been in Wichita since folding in 1992, it was as if Charlie expected to find something from the old franchise.

"I'm sorry sir, we don't have any thing from the old Wings." Sandra responded with kindness. "I don't even think we have anything from the refurbished Wings that was in town the last 2 years before going under."

"Shit!" Charlie responded, "that team left a lifetime mark on this city, what is the hell is it with not providing or having a part of history available!"

"I'm sorry sir, we just don't carry anything like that."

Charlie was starting to turn red from anger now, the pitch of his voice was changing, he was tired of waiting, tired of the crowds, tired of not getting the help he wanted, tired of everything, while gritting his teeth, he stated, "Can you get me your manager please?"

"I can get him sir, but it could take a little while, he is really busy right now with keeping the stock room going with bringing out the needed stock."

"That's what I would expect, a day you should have known that you needed to stay on top of things but instead taking advantage of customers and making sure that all your sales take place. It's all about making a dollar." What Sandra didn't know was Charlie had already been to three sporting goods stores on this crazy hectic morning.  Parsons Sporting Goods was the last hope. 

"I'll be glad to the stock room sir and ask our manager for you, but I can't guarantee anything as to having what you want." Sandra was still a professional, still trying to provide good service. Of course from the exchange up to this point she expected to have her head bitten off, she wasn't far off in her expectation.

"Fine, go check with your damn manager, I've waited this long, if you going speeds up the process I might get home in time for church on Sunday!"

www.thevirtualpew.comSandra still polite responded, "Yes sir, I'll be as quick as possible." Ignoring a couple of other customers, she left immediately for the stock room.  It wasn't long before she returned to find Charlie still standing there, his arms crossed and he was staring off  into space with an obvious lack of patience.

"Sir, I spoke to our manager and he stated that we haven't carried any Wings stock for some time but he had a suggestion if you are willing to entertain it."

Charlie still miffed, but somewhat responsive, responded in a blunt way, "Okay what is it, what can you do, what's your suggestion."

"Well sir," Sandra still trying to be polite and calm, stated, "Well sir our manager suggested that while we haven't had any Wings items for some time, we have a new team in town, The B-52's, they have pretty much the same color scheme and we have a pretty good selection of their merchandise. They are a professional team and our manager also suggested a friend of his who has a lot of old Wings merchandise that may be able to help you out, but you will have to call him, but my manager did give me his phone number and contact information."

What happened next surprised Sandra, she didn't know what to think but Charlie was tearing up.  "If you could show me the items please from the new team and get me the name of the person who may have some old Wings merchandise I would appreciate it."

Sandra, still staying professional and calm, "let me walk you over and show you some of the merchandise, and here is the contact information of my managers friend who has the old Wings merchandise."

Charlie looked down at her hand as she handed him the information, he wasn't tearing up now, he was starting to cry, his eyes were red and he kept taking his gloved hand trying to dab the tears as they started to freely fell. "Thank you miss, you have no idea what this is going to mean to me."

Sandra, confused and touched, stated, "Sir that is no problem." Showing a real measure of concern she asked as well, "Are you okay, is there anything I can do?"

www.thekeystonekid.net"No young lady, you have done quite enough, you don't understand likely and I know I have been an ass. You see my wife and I were huge supporters for the Wings back in the day.  My wife and son were killed in a car accident last year during the Holidays. All I have left is my grandson. Alex will be 10 in January. It was my son's 10th birthday when I purchased him a Wings soccer ball and took him to see his first pro soccer game at the Kansas Coliseum. We saw the Wings play the St. Louis Steamers. It was a heck of a game and my son became a fan for life. I miss him and my wife so much and wanted so much to give my grandson something for Christmas that would help with the loss of his father and grandmother."

Sandra was starting to tear up now, "Sir, I am so sorry, I would have never known, I am so sorry."

"Oh there is nothing to be sorry about young lady, you have gone out of your way, been kind and I so much appreciate it. I think it may be time to move on and I don't think the specific Wings material is necessary for my grandson, the B-52's will be enough to rekindle the spirit, that is what is important, not so much the team. It is the sharing of time together, the love, the memories. I think the B-52's is enough for my grandson, I may even have to take him to a game, but I appreciate the information about the managers friend, it will bring back memories for me while I start new ones with my Grandson, I think his dad and grandma would understand and like that."

"Sure no problem sir, I can do that, let's go look at some of that B-52's merchandise now."

www.mosaicwichita.comSandra learned something that day, she realized it as she saw a different man walk out of the store than she had encountered some 30 minutes earlier. She learned it wasn't so much about customer service, she had already been practicing those things, but she learned to always be nice to the customer, one never knew what they were feeling or had experienced. She knew at that moment, there were sometimes good reasons for people to have difficulty during the holidays, it was also a time of year that a lot of people went through extreme and clinical depression. Sandra realized the people mattered, she realized she could do her part by being a  more understanding person. It was after all the time of year that celebrated the birth of the one called The Prince of Peace, it was a time where people came together to give thanks for the blessings in their lives. With so many hurting people, Sandra decided, she would smile more and in her own way, by helping others, experience a different concept of the holidays she hadn't thought of before, loving others unconditionally in the same way God had loved her and others on this planet; unconditionally.

Mark 12:28-34 - 28 One of the teachers of the Law of Moses came up while Jesus and the Sadducees
were arguing. When he heard Jesus give a good answer, he asked him, “What is the most important commandment?”

29 Jesus answered, “The most important one says: ‘People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. 30 You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.’ 31 The second most important commandment says: ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is more important than these.”

32 The man replied, “Teacher, you are certainly right to say there is only one God. 33 It is also true that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and that we must love others as much as we love ourselves. These commandments are more important than all the sacrifices and offerings that we could possibly make.”

34 When Jesus saw that the man had given a sensible answer, he told him, “You are not far from God’s kingdom.” After this, no one dared ask Jesus any more questions.

The following video is also based on a real event that happened in Newton Kansas, just to the north of Wichita.  The themes are the same, think about it, to see the video just click on it, if the video doesn't appear, then click on the following link:

The Virtual Pew and our other work is supported solely by
the kind contributions of others. You can click on the donate button below to
give any amount to this work that does so much more than just post articles on
the net; I draw no ongoing salary from the church I pastor, Mosaic Wichita
which is predominantly a homeless church; I am grateful for any small amount
you can contribute to help with this ministry. 
Believe me there is much more going on than most realize.  I will also provide information to verify the
ministry and income that comes into this ministry and work.  Thanks and feel free to share any material
from The Virtual Pew, I only ask that appropriate credit is given and a link to
the original site with the material is provided.

Click here to read about, and order the book, The Keystone Kid

Click here to follow The Virtual Pew on Twitter

Mike Furches on Faceboook.

Click here to visit Mosaic Church where Mike is Pastor

The Keystone Kid/Virtual Pew Message Boards

Click to subscribe to my blog

There are hundreds of postings so make sure to check out the
archives. You can also contact me for a free audio book link of The Keystone
Kid at mike@furches.orgYou
Hopefully you will consider a gift to The Virtual Pew.

Now I get asked this quite often, Can we repost your blogs
or articles? The short answer to that is, what an honor that you would ask, and
by all means, spread the word.Here
is our contact informationwww.thekeystonekid.org

The Virtual Pew
1249 N. St. Francis
Wichita Kansas, 67214

Email: mike@furches.org

Click on the following links to learn more about The Virtual

Donations to The Virtual Pew

Personal Furches Web Site

The Virtual Pew Live Radio Web Page

To Subscribe to The Virtual Pew Live Feed

No comments: