Hello and good day!
We had three spunky women came through our chocolate shop yesterday.
The first was a ten-year-old girl who comes by most days after school. She takes the city bus home, with her bicycle racked on the bus's front bumper, and then she rides her bike from the bus stop to her house in Issaquah. Our shop is on the way. The first time I met her was on a Saturday. She came in with a friend.
Apparently, she'd been coming in for a while, but I'd never seen her before. "Hello! Welcome in! Would you all like a free hot chocolate or a free frozen banana dipped in chocolate?" I asked. that is my standard welcome.
"Not today. Thank you. I'm a regular. We're here to buy," she said. She wears glasses and has silky, long brown hair. She is petite and athletic. Her voice is high-pitched, with a rasp.
"Alrighty. What'll it be?" I asked.
"I'm getting my favorite, the strawberry milk chocolate bar, and my friend will get something too. And we want soft serves. No need to give me the topping list, I know what I like," she said.
She and her friend did their shopping. They gave me the soft serve order and I prepared it. When it came time to settle up, both young ladies went for their wallets.
"It's on me. I like supporting local businesses," said our regular to her friend. I told her what she owed. "Do you accept cash?" she said. "Yes, we do," I replied. She gave me the money. "Put my change in the tip jar please," she said. They walked out with no additional pomp or circumstance and sat on a bench in front of our shop to chat and enjoy the day.
Now when she comes in, I don't bother with my formal spiel. We know each other well enough to forgo formalities. What's going on? What'll it be?" I asked when she came in yesterday.
"I'd love a soft serve, but I don't have enough money," she said. "You're a regular. We'll make it work. How much do you have?" I asked. "Actually, I'm broke. I just have a blue Jolly Rancher. Can we do a trade?" she said. She pulled the Jolly Rancher out of her backpack, pinching it by a twisted plastic end, and waved it in the air.
"I don't think we can accept a Jolly Rancher as payment," I said.
"After all the business I've done with you, and all the people I've brought in, you can't give me a freebie?" she said.
I couldn't fight back laughter. I responded after I'd caught my breath. "I didn't say that. I just said I can't accept a Jolly Rancher. I'll hook you up," I said. Whew! I thought I might have to leave a bad review for you online," she said.
She was just kidding. She wouldn't resort to blackmail. At least, I don't think she would. Come to think of it, maybe she would. I served her and she stood next to her bike in front of the shop for several minutes eating soft serve before riding away.
Next, a wonderful regular customer brought in a friend who is in town visiting from The Netherlands. "Welcome in! Good to see you!" I said to our regular customer. "This is my friend from The Netherlands, Julie," she said. "Nice to meet you. What have you two been up to?" I asked."We just ate a good lunch and now we'd like to buy some chocolate," said Julie.
Most folks around here take a small hot chocolate, if they take one at all, after having recently eaten a meal. "Would you like a free hot chocolate, Julie? Maybe a small one since you just ate?" I asked.
She gave me a hard stare. I'd put her in her late fifties. Short grey hair. Strong athletic shoulders. Wrinkles around the corners of her eyes.
"We don't do small hot chocolates in The Netherlands young man. Give me a full please," she said. I loaded one up to the brim. She took a test sip to feel the temperature, and then chugged down the cup.
"A refill?" I asked, half-way joking. "Yes, please. All the way full," she winked at me. I served her and she began to shop very meticulously.
She murmured to herself while looking at the prices. "Young man. You have some price discrepancies here. These are the same chocolates, but one costs less per ounce than the other. Is that on purpose?" she asked.
"Yes, the one is molded so that it is easier to eat. That one costs a little bit more," I said. "Not a little more. Twelve percent more. That is on purpose?" she asked. "It is," I said.
She gave me a long serious stare again.
"The Dutch are very good at spotting price inconsistencies. It is like a national sport for us. I bought a shopping cart full of aspirin last week because the sign said buy one get one free. The sale was only supposed to apply to the small bottles, but the sign didn't say that. It only said buy one bottle of aspirin, get the second free. I spoke with the manager, and he tried to explain it away, but I wouldn't let him. The sign said what it said and since it was such a good deal, I cleaned them out of the big bottles. I will never have to buy aspirin again," she said, letting out a deep throated laugh.
Her eyes twinkled and the wrinkles around the corners deepened. "I will get the bigger cheaper bar. I know this is good chocolate. The hot chocolate is very good and we know about the best chocolates where I'm from," she said.
"Would you like another refill on the hot chocolate?" I asked. "Are you trying to make me fat young man?" she asked. "I thought the Dutch like a lot of hot chocolate!" I said. "Ok, one more for the road," she said. She paid and walked out with her friend.
The third spunky woman is ninety-four. I make her leave her purse at the counter when she shops, just for fun. She has pretended to shoplift on several occasions because she thinks it's funny that we can't catch her. Yesterday, she tried to make me give away free products to other shoppers as a hoot.
"Do it for an old lady, would you? As a gift from me to them? Since me and you are friends?" she said. She put on an intentionally pathetic old woman's face and tried to guilt trip me in front of a crowd.
"We've got your purse you know. Keep this up and you might not get it back," I said. She slapped me on the shoulder and cackled. "That's why I like coming in here. You don't mind mixing it up with an old lady. You take it and you give it right back," she said. We returned her purse at the door.
God, I love my job so much sometimes!
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!