A bit of shopping today ... there was a book I wanted for my holidays and I was also after a pair of sunglasses after my last ones went AWOL at Wembley.
I went to Boots with a half-price voucher for shades, which was handy. All the staff in the optical department wear spectacles, probably whether they need them or not. Here I saw examples of both the best type and worst type of customer services.
The best was when an old and severely physically disabled lady, with a profound speaking problem, was trying to get a new pair of specs. The sales assistant who dealt with her was the epitome of patience and thoroughness, listening carefully as she dealt with the lady's needs, sorted out her eye test and came back with numerous pairs of glasses, helping them over the lady's eyes, checking her hair wasn't caught and generally putting on a display of concern and assistance which impressed me greatly. It was outstanding. I hope her store manager and Boots as a whole is proud of her.
The worst was when another sales assistant started to deal with a customer's request to collect her new contact lenses. Just then, the phone rang - and she answered it. Whether it's internal or a customer, the phone comes a poor second to the person standing in front of you, needing your service and help, especially when you've already begun to deal with their custom. The conversation on the phone - it was internal, as far as I could tell - was brief, but brief is still too long when someone requires your attention. I expect this of disinterested late-night petrol station types, but not sales assistants in major high street chains.
Anyway, I got my half-price shades. If I lose these at Wembley I won't mind, as it means we'll have been to Wembley again, this time for a cup final. And we may have won.
I left Boots for Waterstones and got the book too. While browsing the shelves, I noticed also there was a biography of Lorraine Kelly (no, I didn't purchase it) which was sub-titled "The Biography of TV's Best-Loved Presenter."
Now I'm quite a fan of Lorraine Kelly, but that's a remarkable example of overstatement if I ever saw one.