Micro Gratitudes, Macro Emanations

Thankful - Photo by Lucas Lenzi
Photo by Lucas Lenzi

A customer walks into the store. They look like your average person. They don’t look homeless, but they aren’t completely kitted out in a suit with a thousand dollar smile either. They seem pretty content with life in general, this of course is on first impression, however upon closer inspection something isn’t quite right.

They don’t look as content as they are showing. You can tell this because their face is of slight disgust, but when they see the product they are after their expression changes to curiosity to an almost slight excitement at how their future might just change today. If you are the kind of person that is capable of spotting micro expressions then this wouldn’t be a theory for you as you’d see it plain as day.

They stroll ever so slowly to the cabinets showing off the vape devices as they begin to draw in as much information as they can from colours to the words, to the brands to the logos and as their minds begin to overflow they finally turn around to look for some help. With a slight smile and a quirk of questions building up at the flood gates of their minds, they manage to get interrupted.

By someone like me. Watching all of this unfold, I time it perfectly to say hello in the friendliest voice I can muster, whilst also trying not to be too overly chipper. Even though on the inside I am because I know whats about to happen.

I ask them how their day is going and always end up with, “How can I help today?”. I wait in anticipation at the prospect of doing something for someone, that someone had once unknowingly done for me.

It was a team effort, between a decision I made for myself and how that person was able to help me. A team effort I was about to partake in from the other perspective with this man who had barely stumbled into the store. A man who knows he doesn’t want to stop what he was doing but at the same time was being yelled at by his own voice in his head that he needed to stop.

“I wanna give up smoking.”

Music to my over excitable probably-doing-the-alfalfa-fluttering ears. Since I’m behind an island of glass cabinets I tell him to wait a moment while I come around to the outside the island cabinets to show him some options.

I begin to ask how long he’s been smoking for and how many cigarettes per day to get a gauge of what he’s currently doing and how we might go about cutting that down and give him an experience that’ll make the decision he’s made to step into the store, completely worth it.

I explain how everything works, what he needs to do, look out for and of course some just in case scenarios. He begins to pick a device with is new found information which for a few seconds it seems like he’s using terminator vision to do so.

A new device has been picked, I explain how it all works and set it all up for him. I crack some jokes, he laughs, I feel less pathetic about myself and then we move on to flavours. At long last he has a perfectly functioning vaping device that he has now paid for with extra flavours to boot and some other consumable accessories to go with it.

This is what someone did for me once. They didn’t know what they did for me and how it felt for me at the time. I’m not entirely certain but I might have just been another customer. I might have just been another sale.

He’s seeming pretty stoked at this point. He’s loving his new purchase and I bag and tag the rest of it with a receipt as a final act. During this time I begin to speak from experience the things he is now going to be coming across.

Such as how 2 – 3 weeks from now it will seem as if he was tasting food for the first time again, that something as simple as a small slice of an apple will be the most amazing thing to him. 4 – 6 weeks after that the sleeping patterns will improve and how circulations becomes better to the point where a flight of stairs wouldn’t slightly wind him anymore.

During those 4 – 6 how there might be a chance if he were to pay attention, that colours will seem brighter and vision sharper. The most detailed of views will hit him one day as if it’s happening for the first time ever.

I added my experience because it was one of the best decisions I had ever made to switch, after having made one of the worst decisions to ever start smoking in the first place. I was hoping that my experience would give this person something to look forward to and they weren’t the only one. How the events that transpired for me could be the same for them, or even better.

He puts his wallet away. Giving me a smile, he grabs his bag with his new device and lets me know to have a good day and walks out in a decently confident stride. No. This is what a customer normally does for being taken care of with any other product as a quick in and out. No, this is what took place instead.

He puts his wallet away in a hurried fashion seeing another customer next to him, who was waiting patiently smiling at the man with his new found happiness and potential. He stops to think for a small but barely noticeable second, to then switch the bag with his new device from his dominant hand so as to free it. And with the most gentle but firmest of handshakes whilst blinking slower then usual to ensure eye contact was going to be made he says, “Mate, thank you, for everything”.

He takes his time and walks out with this overall demeanour of everything is most definitely going to be alright and with the same smiles, the next customer and I begin to interact. The glow effect of the entire event beginning to seep into all things, from my actions to even how this next customer chose her words.

He took the time to ensure I knew he meant it. The smallest of changes in how he normally did things to ensure I knew what this had meant for him. And without knowing himself, what it had meant for me.

That level of genuine gratitude is something I will never tire of.

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