‘Good morning, Sharon. How are you today?’ I greeted the sales lady cheerfully upon entering the large shop. She sat behind a desk and her eyes had left the magazine pages slowly and turned towards me. Obviously, she didn’t like to be interrupted whether by company representatives or even customers. In this matter she treated everybody with equal indifference!
‘Morning, Peter,’ she mumbled with a face long and bored. ‘The boss will be in tomorrow morning.’
‘I know, Sharon, I’ve just come to update your samples.’
‘I don’t know where they are but they are here somewhere’ she shrugged her shoulders and repeated, ‘the boss will be in tomorrow morning.’
‘Yes,’ I said and smiled. ‘I’ll find my samples,’ and walked towards a brick wall where all the sample books and catalogues were laid out in a neat row. They were, however, totally mixed up with other companies’ samples and it took me a while to collect and rearrange them to display them all together in one section of the shop. Then I brought in new samples from my car and handed Sharon a new pricelist and maintenance instructions.
‘Any problems?’ I inquired, ‘anything I may be of assistance with?’
Again, she forced her gaze away from her magazine ‘Don’t know’ she muttered, looking utterly bored. ‘The boss will be in tomorrow morning.’ And having said this, she lowered her head, returning to her magazine.
Suddenly the telephone rang. She slowly reached for the receiver and listened to a customer talking. When the flow of words stopped, the familiar phrase was heard again. ‘The boss will be in tomorrow morning’. ‘Click’, she hung up!
I tried to strike a conversation: ‘There is the Argus Hospital not far from here and they need a lot of floor coverings. The maintenance manager’s name is Ted Kneebone. If you contact him and ask for an opportunity to quote, I can help you with a quantity discount to win the contract.’
I did not get any further as she cut me off in a sleepy voice: ‘The boss will be in tomorrow morning’.
Knowing when defeated, I bade her ‘Goodbye’ and as I walked out of the shop I saw her attend a customer who had just walked into the premises. She was a housewife, asking right out for wall-to-wall carpet, which she was keen to have installed as soon as possible. She explained to Sharon that she had a party in a week’s time and that she just ‘had to have the carpet installed by then.’
And to my amazement, I heard Sharon answer - yes you’ve guessed it! I had the feeling that if somebody had told her ‘Excuse me but your warehouse is on fire’ she would have said just as calmly: ‘The boss will be in . . . ‘ until the flames reached her behind, I thought nastily.