A couple of year ago, three, maybe four, when things at the coffee shop weren’t going all that well, my grandma said something. Mind you, my grandma never says or does something to impose her will, she always lets us make our own choices and our own mistakes. But that one time she told me, in a hushed voice: Why did you want a coffee shop? You are not a seller, you are a buyer. This series of posts is at least as many years overdue as this discussion is old.
Fast forward to yesterday. I was shopping. Usually, this happens from behind my laptop, impulse buying everything from books, to colored pencils, to owls. This time around, I was in a shopping mall, desperately looking for a nice little box for a nice little girl. As a last resort, after checking home decor, bookstores and jewelry stores, I decided to give the tea shop a chance. My face was probably red in despair and my hair all messy, I was talking quickly and unintelligibly, and the owner, a tall, broad-chested man in a striped shirt came kindly to my assistance.
The conversation below is real, only altered by my inevitable purchase. This is not a spoiler, the story is called, after all, diary of a shopper…
Him: Hello, how may I help you?
Me: Hello, I am looking for a pretty box.
Him: Oh, what we have here are only prettier boxes.
Me (charmed already): Oh, can I see some, please? (pointing to some tea boxes) Maybe like this, or like this?
—– I took some pictures and went outside for a short advisory phone call with my friend, the co-shopper in absentia.
Me (relieved the box shopping nightmare would end in a couple of minutes): We decided for the little box with green flowers, please.
Him (white working on the POS): Can I offer you some teas?
Me: No, thank you, I have plenty of tea at home and I barely have time to enjoy them.
Him: Do you also have teas from our shop?
Me (slightly confused, because, yes, but maybe not anymore): Sure, a couple, actually.
Him: What kind of teas?
Me (if the CIA specialists would have been looking at me right at that moment, they would have seen my eyes going to the lying corner, not the remembering corner): White, green with jasmine…
Him: Nice. But let me show you our newest recipes (opening several lids, dazzling me with mint and cinnamon and what not)
Me (truly impressed): Wow, you had me at cinnamon.
Him: Oh, but I can’t sell them to you, not even if you wanted to. Surely not.
Me: Oh, ok then.
Him: Or maybe just one.
Me: OK, I will take the mint one, the cinnamon is not for the both of us at home…
Him: We only have 200g packs.
Me: Well, sure.
Him: What do you say if we make a deal? I will update the list of products in my computer and give you 100g of the mint one and 100g of the cinnamon one.
Me: Wow, thank you, of course.
And so I left with 200g of tea worth 70 bucks or so, to add to my collection of 20 other teas that I barely have time to enjoy. For a moment there, entering the PIN code of my card and worrying I don’t have enough money for this very important, urgent and necessary purchase, i felt a bit tricked, but then, the discussion, the joy of this man taking care of his little tea shop, the smiles and the kindness were well worth it. Plus, I do have two very nice teas to sip while the clouds outside keep raining some more.