Plus Me


Years back at my place of employment, I was subjected to a battery of tests to determine if my capabilities complemented the job I was hired to do. I consider this type of testing as useful as a really bad blind date. All it’s good for is a funny story. 

I was perfectly suited for my job, so I figured this exercise was a waste of my time. My boss would have none of it. Feeling rather testy, he dragged me kicking and screaming into the examination room. My parting shot as I was pushed through the door was, “The guy who hired me is President of our company. If I’m not right for my job, are you going to be the one to tell him he was wrong?” 

A few weeks later, my boss called me into his office. He gleamed, “I have your test results.” To which I replied, “Am I fired?” 

Turns out, the testing had deemed I was the most creative person in the company which was a really good thing because I ran the Creative Arts Department. In fact, this brain analyzer had pronounced me 97% right brained. Left brainers are accountants. Right brainers are artists. Never let a right brainer manage your books. 

What does being very creative me? It means you don’t work retail. You’re busy writing, painting or making something all of which are done mostly alone. Sure, there’s client interaction but it’s done mostly via email or iSomething. Retail is an endless stream of dealing with customers one on one. 

Unfortunately, old broads who write are rarely rich. Sometimes we need other jobs to make ends meet. So when I went looking for part time work, I headed straight to an industry that dealt in my favorite hobby – gardening. I was quickly hired to water plants. Luckily, I am proficient in plant watering so I excelled. What I wasn’t prepared for were customers. Plants rarely talk back.

Back when I ran the Creative Arts Department, it was at TGI Friday’s corporate office. Though I didn’t work in the stores, I learned our most important job was to make the customer happy. After interacting with you, the customer should leave with a big “plus” sign right in the middle of his forehead. This meant you had done a great job by making your customer so pleased, he would run out and tell all his friends about his experience.

Imagine my delight when I learned people who buy plants are a happy sort. Really they don’t have much to complain about. There’s no – “This plant is one size too small,” or “I’m returning this vegetable because it tastes just awful!” The worst thing I’ve heard is, “I bought a plant here last year and it died.” I simply answer with, “Well, let’s go find you one you can’t kill!” See, that creative right brain always has a solution.

Now that I work retail, I’ve become overly obsessed with being a great customer. It’s almost a sickness as in, “No, you go ahead and keep the change from that $20. I know how hard it is to stand on your feet all day!” 

So, all shoppers out there unite! Let’s never forget the person who works retail might just be a part time rocket scientist, unpublished as yet writer, or former Chief of Staff. Make it a pleasant day for those who serve you and give them a big old “plus” on the forehead! Many happy returns.

 Spreading laughter throughout the world…one brain cell at a time.

Mikie Baker

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