Working in customer service allows you to meet some truly amazing people. Because I work in a video shop, unlike being a checkout chick, we not only meet and greet each customer; we are able to actually have a decent chat to them on just about anything, including movies, obviously. You build up a special rapport with them (time and bosses permitting) Their constant choices of movies usually dictate what kind of person they are, and as a writer I like to exploit that.
Although it’s not usually promoted in the business world, I have built up some pretty strong friendships with customers that have led to dinner invitations, wedding invitations and potential dates. I have also been known as “the poor man’s Psychiatrist”, “Love Doctor”, “Parent”, “The Big Brother”,” The Unofficial Uncle Brendan”, and my favourite, “The Shoulder” to cry on.
I mean no disrespect or to cheapen it at all, but I love it. I love all the interaction, and I love all the walks of life that enter my domain on a regular basis. I experience the good, the bad, and the ugly of people who all come from my happy town called Maitland.
But every now and then, it becomes me who is the pupil, and the customer that takes on the role of the teacher or storyteller. Once in a while, someone will come into my shop with such a great outlook on life or a story to tell that will leave me speechless or inspired. Sometimes even both.
I have learnt a great deal from these customers and I continue to be inspired by them. Over the past year alone I have met some amazing people; some have taught me a few life lessons, some painful, but none the less enlightening, making me a better person. Some have become friendships that will last forever; one even became the love of my life and as such, she is my greatest fan but also my greatest critic. But that’s another story…
One great example about one customer that became so much more has to be when a woman breezed into my life, smiled, said hello and agreed to meet me for coffee so we could get to know each other and go from there. At first I think she felt I was trying to hit on her.
Yes, she was attractive, but just by talking to her then, I knew she would have a tonne of knowledge to spread… she was interesting.
One year later, we finally sat down and had that cup of coffee. We carried on our conversation of 12 months prior. Our meeting inspired both of us and a proper, strong friendship developed from there; one that I am happy to say is as positive and strong as ever. She taught me the value of meeting new people and learning from them, and that sometimes, we are meant to come together, learn, and sometimes go our separate ways to rediscover new people and learn from others. She helped me with my confidence issues and gave me inspiration to do what I’m doing now. She in turn found her own voice, became a traveler and now, with her experiences, is already teaching others. Although we are a bit busier now, I know it will only be a matter of time until we will meet up again, come full circle; the teacher becomes the student and vice versa. We will get to have another cup of coffee.
Something tells me… it won’t take another 12 months.