My co-worker broke his leg, and he had to wear a cast. He needed to work to survive, so they kept him working, he just had to sit a lot. I found him in the fitting room, giving fashion advice to customers and calling for stock checks when he needed them. At one point, I come in, and there is the overwhelming scent of toe-jams. It’s the potent, concentrated foot smell that some people get just by not washing their toes–and other people get it by sweating and wearing shoes without ventilation–and others just have fungus. It is that smell, close to the scent of feces, that I walked into that day.
I look at him and his cast, and I leave the fitting room. He’s a big guy, and even though he’s funny and laughs, he gets mad, too. I didn’t want to offend him and end up with a broken leg of my own.
Soon, I return to the fitting room, and he calls me over.
“Hey, come here.”
I hold my breath, and approach him.
“Do you smell that?”
“Um, yes,” I reply.
“Does it smell like toe jams?”
I look around. “Yes.”
“Okay, so it’s not just me that smells it.”
So he tells me he already smelled his foot and his cast, and it isn’t from that. Just as we’re trying to track down the scent, the room I’m standing next to opens. Wow, the smells that erupt from that room were overwhelming. I couldn’t breathe. Even worse, they opened the door to ask for a size. I did my best not to make a face, and quickly got them another size, telling them to just leave the clothes they didn’t want on their door. Neither of us wanted to put those clothes away, and the customer, being of good hygiene and manners, did leave the clothes in a pile on the floor. So in a sense, it looked like what it smelled like long after they left–a pile of poop on the floor.
Even though he had a hard time walking, he got up using his crutches, and hobbled out of the fitting room to get fresh air elsewhere in the store. As usual, I had some unsuspecting co-worker put away the clothes, and advised them to wash their hands right after.
Customer Types: Lowered Expectations