It was one of the more stupid things I’d done in a long time: With a rare Saturday all to myself, I hopped in the car and drove 1.75 hours northward to a tourist/shopping destination, King Arthur’s Flour in Norwich, Vermont. I had one required purchase to make, and then I was going to meander and dream and maybe think about some early holiday purchases. I was going to make a day of it.
Only I had left my purse, and its all-important wallet, at home on my kitchen counter.
I was literally penniless and I was really, really mad at myself. After panicking about having enough gas to get home (I did), I sat in my car and thought a moment: There must be some way in these digitally-connected times, to buy something without my having to return home and, some day, come back to the store. I thought about the ways I sell things—I take credit card orders over the phone all the time, for a small side business my husband and I run. That’s it! I would call my husband, where he had gone for the day, get his credit card numbers, then wander in to the store to plead for mercy at the service counter. Couldn’t they consider me a phone purchaser and just let me buy the things I found by manually entering my credit card numbers?
Sonya, the clerk on duty, listened patiently, and immediately said, “Yes, I think we could do that,” and quickly checked with her supervisor, who happened to be standing nearby. Yep! It was a go! I was thrilled. I probably bought more things than was prudent just because I could, and because Sonya had been so nice to me. But, then, I threw another wrinkle at her—I really, really wanted a cup of coffee, which was being sold over in the cafe section of the store. Was there a way Sonya could put that on the same credit charge since I was, as previously noted, penniless and I didn’t think charging $1.95 for a cup of coffee would be appreciated over in the cafe. And I really, really wanted coffee.
“Yep,” Sonya said. “I think that will work. I’ll just go over there and place your order.”
Sonya was like my guardian angel that day. She charged my purchases—cup of coffee included—in a span of less than 2 minutes. It only required my name and my zip code, and the all-important numbers I’d gotten from my husband over the phone. She didn’t require I.D., which is good, since I had none and, let me just admit here, if I had been Sonya, I’m not sure I would have sold me anything on credit that day. I was wearing the most comfy of my Saturday work-in-the-yard type clothes, shall we say.
She had me sign the slip and all was done. Then she said my coffee was being brewed, would take a few minutes, and wouldn’t I just have a seat and she would bring it to me when it was ready?
Would I? Yes! And, if I had had any more money to spare, I would have just handed it all over to Sonya.