CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM MOMENT
I had to return something at Best Buy tonight and I was already in a sour mood of sorts. Sir Saunders called me on the way and he told me about his grandmother’s funeral and it sounded like such beautiful event with much love. It improved my mood just talking to him which is usually the case. We were still on the phone when the Best Buy door guy tags my return with a sticker and I head to the line.
As I get closer to customer service I see that no one is at any register, then coming up on my right is a guy with a big Bose box. As we both get closer he speeds up to try and beat me there. Now I’m on the phone and only half take in what’s happening. Steve and I are discussing whether we can go biking Saturday and still make niece Maddie’s first birthday party. So as this guy tries to beat me to the line, by instinct I speed up to and beat the guy to the register.
He says to me, “I need to sit this on the counter” so I move up a few feet and continue with Saunders. Not long after a girl comes to the register and helps him. He doesn’t say anything. Saunders, I think, can tell that I’m distracted and we end the phone conversation.
I'm sure most people would have said nothing, but you know me. So I said, “Hey, why did you cut in front of me. You said you wanted to sit your box on the counter?”
He said, “I was here first.”
I said, “You were behind me.”
He said, “She already had my paperwork.”
The cashier said not a thing during the exchange. And even though he was a bigger guy than me, he sheepishly left on the paperwork line and hustled to the door.
Looking back, the way he tried to get ahead of me makes sense if he was worried about being in an awkward position, because he was mid-transaction, and no authority figure was present to vouch for him.
I’ve been in similar situations before. I wait my turn in line and when the customer service person returns he/she decides whether to bring me to the front of the line. I don’t take it for granted that I am next when the only other person in line has never seen me. He could have set his box on the floor and waited for her to return.
More importantly, if you ask a person to let you sit something on the counter and then it looks like you took that opportunity to jump the line, the answer isn’t I was here first, but you apologize for the misunderstanding and then explain. And I think that was the uncomfortable part, his having to explain the situation to a scary stranger. This wasn’t some kid, but a guy around 40 years old and he looked successful.
That's what makes this story interesting to me. He's too proud for a humble explanation and yet a part of him acts like he did something wrong and he needs to defend himself. He's lost without an authority figure.