Service with a scowl

Here’s the fun of a personal blog. Venting!

I bought a t-shirt as a gift for someone about three weeks ago. It was a cute find from a cute little store that usually has some terrific stuff. Anyway, turns out the tee was a size too small. Since the giftee lives out west, I offered to swap out shirts and mail the new one back to her. Easy enough.

Except for the fact that I can be The Procrastinator when it comes to small tasks. The big stuff gets done fast and furious no problem. But mini errands – not so much.

Today was a free-ish day so I took a stroll down to the store to swap out the shirt. I found the receipt and noticed it said there was a 14-day return policy, but I thought it wouldn’t be an issue since I was just trading out sizes. The tag – a HUGE cardboard tag – was still on the shirt so it was clear it hadn’t been worn. And I can be relatively convincing with a smile and a little practical logic on my side.

I get to the store, and it’s empty. Not one or two people empty. Desert empty. Just the clerk and me. So I walk up to his little counter and say, “Hi. I’m hoping you can help me.”


“Well, I bought this shirt for a friend and it was the wrong size. I was wondering if I could just exchange it for a larger one if you have it.”

“Was it on sale?”

“Um. No. I have the receipt. I really like the shirt. I just want the same one a size larger. Would that be alright?”

He looks at the receipt and notices it’s been three weeks since my purchase, not two.

“I’m not supposed to do this,” he says.

“I know,” I say expecting him to follow up with something to the effect of, “but go ahead.”


“Um,” I continue, “Yes, I noticed that it was a little late, but it’s never been worn and I have the receipt and you’re not going to be out any merchandise or money because all I want to do it swap sizes.”

He looks at me with utter disdain.

“I’m not supposed to do this.”

Now at this point, I can’t understand where we’re going. Is he going to help me or not?

“Is there anything I can do? What if we make the exchange, AND I buy something new?” Go me for finding an excuse to shop!

“It won’t matter. I’m not supposed to do this.”

Ok. I just offered to give you MORE money in exchange for a small favor, and you declined? Or did you? I’m so confused. We just sort of stand there. He sighs and gets up from his stool behind the little counter. He then walks over to the t-shirt pile and pulls out three shirts in the same pattern but different color.

“Is there a large in here?” I say as I flip through them. There is.

“Can I swap?” I ask.

“I’m not supposed to do this. If I do it for you, then I have to do it for everyone.”

Did I mention the store is empty? Who am I going to tell? (I get the irony of my now blogging the saga. Let it go.)

Then he takes the old shirt, gives me the new shirt, and huffs off towards the back of the shop. I thank him profusely and try to continue to browse in the hopes of finding some more cute things and giving this cute little store more money. But moments later, the clerk is back behind the counter, and the longer I look, the heavier the weight of his stare of disgust. I can actually feel the scorn. I give up.

I thank him again on the way out. He grumbles. I leave. Then I call my mother and said, “Get this!” and recount the whole saga. She’s a good ear.

Yes, trivial in the scheme of things but here’s my issue: If you don’t want to make an exception, don’t. I’d get it. You can’t fault me for trying. There’s never harm in trying. And if you say no, I can cope. I’m a big girl. But if you ARE going to make an exception and do me a favor, then just do it. Be kind about it. Chalk it up to good karma and wait for it to come back around in some fabulously unexpected way. But attitude does neither of us any good. What’s the point?

I guess where I am going with all this is trying to figure out when little things became such big deals. And if you’re going to break the rules, then go for it. Shatter the suckers, and do it with a smile. Life’s just more fun that way.

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