Preface: Anecdotal accounts claim Donald J. Trump’s family is going the intervention route to get him to admit that he lost; convince him to vamoose when Joe Biden’s moving vans start rolling up at the White House, come January. While those who’ve earned PhD’s in psychiatry could certainly get ‘er done, I do believe even laypersons, drawing on common sense, could reap the same results. My faith in non-professional interventions stems from the following account.
Eons ago, during my retail clerking days, a shopper stopped in one early afternoon (let’s refer to her as “Jane”). Seeing how the young woman’s anxiety was just as noticeable as her unusual attire (unbelted, slightly open trench coat, flannel pajamas and fuzzy bedroom slippers) to say the least, I was not waiting on the average, everyday customer.
Trying my best to remain non-judgmental, nonetheless, my mind hunted for plausible explanations. Perhaps Jane had just narrowly escaped an apartment fire with only the clothes on her back?
Well, one thing was certain, she was ISO clothing that’d make her less conspicuous. While our product line could not offer her any footwear, I did walk her thru our women’s department and encouraged her to feel free to browse at her leisure.
As she shopped, I’d occasionally return to carry her selections off to a fitting room. During her hour long try on session, I kept on relaying her keepers up to the cash wrap. All the while, I was sensing a growing rapport; i.e., in my treating Jane normally she began acting more normally.
However, towards the end of her shopping experience, her worried expression suddenly returned. She asked, “Would you take an I.O.U.?”
I nonchalantly replied that this was not an available payment option, but quickly added that I’d be happy to put her selections on a three day hold; no deposit required. She then responded, “Hold my stuff till closing time, If I don’t return by then, I won’t be coming back.” The finality of her words were now filling me with anxiety.
I wondered if I could’ve done something more to help Jane? Or, would my good intentioned meddling have only made matters worse?
To ensure Jane’s return would also go smoothly, I recounted all the above to my superior (let’s refer to her as “Ruth”). After all, the worst thing that could’ve happened was for my boss and/or co-workers to upset her.
Well, it was about five minutes prior to closing time when the itching to get home Ruth ordered me to return Jane’s held selections to the selling floor.
As you may have already guessed, four minutes later, Jane returned.
Ruthless Ruth officiously, tactlessly and needlessly reminded her that it was a minute before closing time. That’s when I rushed up to welcome Jane and reassure her that, while her clothes were no longer on hold, I could quickly relocate all the items. And while my words calmed Jane a bit, they also pissed off Ruth a lot.
A moment later, while I was ringing up Jane’s purchase, Ruth kept glowering at Jane and breathing down my neck; whined on and on and on about it now being past closing time. I felt like turning around to blurt out “Ruth, will you please shut the F up?”; but bit my tongue.
Jane paid in cash and, other than being upset by Ruth, I do believe my empathy, professionalism and intervention skills had calmed and served Jane well.
We can only hope there’ll be a similar outcome to that White House intervention.
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