Last night, a colleague and I went to an event at Phoenix & Dragon in Sandy Springs, I at the invitation of the event’s organizer, my colleague at my suggestion.
When we walked in, the cashiers at the counter – one male, one female – asked us if they could help us. I said we were there for the event and the male cashier decided to assist us, while his female colleague attended the store’s customers who were beginning to line up behind us.
“It will start in 20 minutes; they are just setting up”, the man said, “so you will have time to look around the store”, which is exactly the reason why we had arrived early. I’ve been to at least half a dozen events at Phoenix & Dragon, going back to the time when it was still located on Hammond Drive, and bought things there on almost every occasion. For my colleague, it was her first visit; I had told her lots of good things about the store.
The man then asked if we would like to pay. Yes, fine, of course. We had not known beforehand what the arrangement would be (I had imagined we would pay the event’s organizer, but never mind). We pulled out our coupon, provided by the organizer. If two people were to come to the event together, each got $5 off the attendance fee (in these dire economic times, every little $5 helps!). He looked at the coupon with suspicion, saying he had never seen such a thing before, and didn’t it look like someone had just printed it from their computer? Yes, someone had (“jerk”)! His female colleague leaned over to inspect this ‘suspicious’ coupon also and confirmed she had never seen such a thing either. So, the guy picked up the phone and called Candace Apple, the owner. Long conversation, glances of suspicion in my and my colleague’s direction, but finally he hung up and said he would accept the coupon. My colleague handed him cash, I wrote a check – a business check, with name, address and phone number printed on it. He looked at it, turning it over a few times – more suspicion! Then he wanted my driver’s license and I told him, untruthfully, that I did not think I had it with me. Asking to see a driver’s license when a personal check is presented is common; for a business check, it makes no sense.
Another phone call to the owner. I told him: “Candace knows me and she knows my business”, which seemed to make him even more suspicious, so he came away from behind the counter and started walking in the direction of where I suppose Candace’s office is. “You know what”, I said to him, “never mind the check; I’ll just give you cash.” So, he game me the check back, I handed him the cash and he handed me a receipt. He asked for my name, which I gave him. Then he accepted my colleague’s cash and asked her of she needed a receipt. Stupid question to ask when you are paying for a business event in cash! She told him “yes”, he gave it to her and then asked for her name. “Why?”, she challenged him, “I’ve paid in cash”. He told her they “just like to keep a list”, so she gave him her name as well and we were told where the event was taking place (next door, in a different building). We could not get out of the store fast enough, I, speaking just for myself, never to return again!
Oh, the event? My colleague and I were the only two in attendance! The presentation was excellent, the introduction was another disaster. Read: “Politeness Gone Too Far – Way Too Far” – next post.
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