John Stossel often writes about the "double thank you" moment that occurs when an item is purchased. For example, when you go to the local coffee shop and buy a steaming cup of joe, you hand the person behind the counter your money and both of you quite often say thank you to one another. As a consumer, you are thankful to have the coffee and feel that it is worth the amount you are paying. The person who owns the store or the individual who is employed at the establishment is thankful for your business and the revenue it brings in. All parties involved are benefitting and are grateful. Ergo, the double thanks.
Today I found myself ready to enter said contract with a young lady who works at J. Crew when she suddenly pulled a bait-and-switch.
I happened to walk by the clothing store when it dawned on me to check to see if they had some thermal tops. I have one in gray and wear it all the time. It is one of those shirts that would make a top five list of my favorite articles of clothing. Sure enough, I found one on the sales rack and was quite pleased with the price so I quickly strode to the front counter because I was running late for a meeting.
When I made my way to the register, I found that the two women employed by J. Crew were both assisting a customer reference a return and how she would be compensated for bringing the garment back to the store. One of the employees saw me arrive and took the shirt from me. I had my money in hand and was ready to tell her that I would not need a bag. Quick and painless.
Thank you, Ma'am.
Suddenly, without any forewarning, the J. Crew representative took the shirt hostage. Instead of ringing me up and completing my transaction, she continued to assist the customer and the other employee with the return and the thousand different ways in which it could be handled both by store policy and international law.
I must admit, I was none too pleased. I wanted the shirt and I was more than happy to pay for it, but the young lass refused to sell it to me. As a matter of fact, she had yet to turn her gaze my way as she continued to placate the other customer and try to come to a suitable agreement.
Suddenly, the maroon thermal that I desired no longer appealed to me. I eyed it clenched in J. Crews' petite hands and it looked stiff. I hated the color. I could tell it would be itchy around my neck.
So I walked away.
When she finally noticed that I was half-way to the door, she yelled out to me.
"Sir, are you ready?"
Of course, there is no adequate reply to that question. I was ready a long time ago, so I exited stage left and ended the scene.
It is situations like this one when I am reminded about how great freedom of choice truly is.
The more choice we have, the better off we are. I realize in this scenario it only involved a shirt, but what if we had the same liberty and power in the most important aspects in our lives?
Maybe we do.