Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Lost A Customer Today...

...Not a very good customer by standards of the bottom line.  She didn't come in all that often.  Only a handful of times a year.  She didn't spend all that much.  Certainly not enough to make any kind of impact on my business with her absence. 
...But I lost a customer today.  The kind of customer that leaves a hole not because of money spent or items bought but because of the presence she had.  The last time I saw her she wasn't buying anything at all.  She was picking up a certificate to help support an event her daughter was involved in.  We spoke briefly about the baby she was carrying.  We wished each other a good day.  She was here maybe a minute.  Maybe a minute and  a half.  After she left it felt like a friend had stopped in.  Always when she stopped in it felt like a moment with a friend.  She brightened my day. 
...I saw on the news this morning that I lost a customer today.  Actually I lost her yesterday but learned of it this morning over a cup of coffee while sitting on my couch.  Half listening to the news I caught the story and thought "how sad" as I often do when I hear of a tragedy of such proportions.  Than I hit reverse on the DVR.  Who's name??  What??  I just saw her two days ago.  Pregnant and vibrant and planning for her future.  So young.  All the cliches.  So sad.  Feel for the daughter.  The poor husband.  There is nothing that can make this right or easy or acceptable.
...I lost a customer today.  I read through the article in the paper and through the comment section and learned a lot about this customer.  Things I already knew and things I didn't.  Putting clues together and seeing for the first time the whole person who used to walk through my doors.  Wife, mother, employee, volunteer, friend, neighbor.
...I lost a customer today.  I've lost customers before.  I see their name in the obituary section or someone comes in and tells me so-and-so passed away.  It's sad.  I shake my head.  I say I'm sorry.  Sometimes I give hugs or cry with them. 
...I lost a customer today.  Just a customer.  One of hundreds.  But for some odd feels almost like I lost a friend.

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