To recap yesterday: three doctors failed to make Jane’s hair grow again, but a hair stylist’s offhand remark got it growing once more. And Jane decided to thank her…somehow.
The last time I wrote a positive customer-service letter, I was stupid. I mean, more stupid than usual. I left enough identifiers in the letter that they knew exactly who I was, and ever since then, when I go to that place of business, it’s awkward. Because they know. They don’t even want to look me in the eye. So this time, instead of giving mere thanks and a lifetime of awkwardness (especially since it looks like I’ll need to get regular haircuts again in the future) I’d give them something tangible.
Flowers. The stylists’ job was beauty, and flowers are beautiful. I’d bring them flowers.
I waited for a Friday because on a Friday they’d have customers, and they’d have customers on Saturday too. They could brag. They could show off. I’d leave a tag on the flowers so other customers would know a customer had been pleased with them. Right? Right. Go.
On the way between the flower place and the hair place, I nearly chickened out, trembling at the red light (Angelborough has three stoplights and three hair salons, just so you know) and kept telling myself “What would a brave person do? A brave person would deliver them.”
Not so much. I kept thinking maybe I should have given the florist ten bucks to do the delivery. But no. A brave person would walk in, say thank you, and leave the flowers. I would be brave.
The first thing that went wrong? No one was in the hair salon. No customers, that is. I opened the door and both stylists looked up at me.
Looked? No, they glared. They glared with a challenge at this woman wearing a baseball cap and holding a floral arrangment.
This wasn’t supposed to happen — they were supposed to be cutting and styling and weaving and dyeing and creating beauty, and I was supposed to bravely march in, bravely leave the thing on the desk, and sneak out without talking to anyone. Bravely.
Instead these two women glared at me, clearly not of their tribe, a customer in the middle of doing something weird. They were tall, slender, blonde, made-up, and stylish. I am…well, none of those things. But I am brave. So I forced myself to leave the entryway and approach. “I wanted to bring these to say thank you.”
They kept glaring at me. I said, “One of you helped me get my hair growing again — ” (a third stylist appeared from the back, and I turned to her) ” — I think it was you, and I just wanted to say thanks.”
I put it on the desk. One of them stopped glaring and said, “Oh. Um…they’re beautiful.”
I’m not beautiful. But my hair is growing again, and I thought they ought to have some beauty too, right? But brave or not, I couldn’t say it. So instead I smiled, then bravely turned my tail and fled.
They have no idea who I am, this weirdo who showed up with flowers and a frizzy halo of new hair stuffed under a baseball cap. And that’s the way I want it. They probably laughed their heads off after I left, but that’s okay. They know I appreciate them, and as for me, I went home to continue growing hair.
I just… so identify with this. I am the exact same way. I hate talking to people, but I try to be brave. Sometimes it backfires and I look like an idiot.
For the record, though– I don’t think you looked like an idiot. I bet those stylists were completely unaccustomed to such kindness and generosity. It is truly rare in this world, and that you have it?
That’s beautiful. True beauty.
Just saying. 🙂
It’s not kindness or generosity so much as fairness. Someone did something good for me and I wanted to get even. 😉 If you’re right that no one ever says thank you, though it would be really sad. I mean, hair cuts and all the other stuff they do at a salon is purely in the “optional” category. The customers are going there to do extras, so shouldn’t people be glad for their work and tell them they’re happy?
Hopefully they hear thank you quite often, but if people routinely show up with floral arrangements to express their gratitude… I want to live in your town!! 😀
Or at least operate a flower shop here!
I agree, they were probably totally surprised that someone would take the time to thank them.
But it’s so hard to believe you’re so shy about such things. You should treat such situations like those people are your crit partners. I can testify you’re bold and fearless with crit partners – to the point you leave them in awe of your talent and have them bowing and scraping in front of you.
Wow, I must sound like an incredible jerk. 🙁 I didn’t realize I had that effect on anyone.
You ain’t no jerk, ya jerk! 😉 But you’re certain of yourself, and able to get across the strengths and weaknesses of someone’s writing that’s confident and sure (and you’re usually spot on with what needs fixing on top of it). My crits usually consist of “that was great” or “ummm, it doesn’t really work for me, but I can’t tell you why” so naturally I’m in awe of someone who can be concise.
I always thought you were a much more confident person. You seem to have a command of facts, an understanding of emotional reactions, and a way with words that works on both.
Some situations leave me undone. Thanking people leaves me feeling vulnerable and scared for some reason, but it has to be done. 🙂 If I’d gone in there expecting a fight, OTOH, like if they’d overcharged my credit card, I wouldn’t have been nervous at all.
Youre wonderful to say thank you to them. Maybe you deepened their humanity a couple notches by your gesture. Lots of people are afraid to be nice. Good for you.