May 11, 2009

There is no such thing!

Cottonelle double rollsObviously a trick photo as there is NO SUCH THING!

This is one of my and El Jefe's pet peeves. Often if you ask about something in a store and they don’t have it, the clerks won't tell you, "Sorry. We don't sell that size or brand or color or whatever" or anything remotely like that. They will tell you that there is no such thing, that you are wrong, that they know what is available in the entire universe, that they have talked to the distributor, and the thing simply doesn't exist, never has, never will. In other words, you are stupid for even asking.

Size 9 sewing machine needlesPlumber’s putty - doesn’t exist.
Size 9 sewing machine needles - no such thing.
Ceramic tile adhesive - nope.
10-watt sewing machine light bulb - they only come in 7-watt.

El Jefe recently bought some toilet paper. We like Cottonelle and it is sold here. The import stores will often carry the double or triple rolls which are more convenient both for storage when stocking up and for not having to change the roll so often. The grocery stores have on occasion sold the double rolls, though I've never seen the triple rolls at the grocery store.

El Jefe asked a clerk in SuperMega if they had double or triple rolls. She instantly said there is no such thing. He said, "Yes, there is." She said, "No, you are wrong." He insisted again that there is such a thing and said that we buy the double or triple rolls at Fiesta all the time. He mentioned that we had even bought double rolls in that store. "Impossible. We have never sold them and I've talked to the distributor and there is no such thing." She said, “You must be thinking of something else." As an added challenge, she dared El Jefe to buy it and bring it to show her.

Hah! By that time, El Jefe was so annoyed with her ignorance and inability to accept the fact that she just might not know everything in the universe, he made a special trip to Fiesta just to show her. Of course − wouldn't you know it? − Fiesta was out of double rolls as well.

10-Watt light bulbWhy is it so hard to just simply say “No, we don't sell that” or even − I know this is impossible to hope for − “I didn't know there was such a thing but I'll check into it”. Even more far fetched would be “I'll be happy to order that for you and call you when it comes in.” I gave up on that many years ago. I have heard those sweet words regarding some high ticket items, but almost never have seen any follow up on them.

El Jefe once even retorted, “Why are you asking for my phone number? You know you aren’t going to call me, don’t you? Don’t waste my time.” After her initial shock, the girl started giggling because she knew, too, that she had no intention of ever calling him.

If a store don’t sell something, they don’t sell it. I can and do accept that. I know that it isn't easy to import things to Honduras. I can understand that there might not be a market for the things that I’m looking for − though I have to believe, based on expansions of the two largest import stores in the past couple of years that there is a market here in La Ceiba for many imported products.

BUT, why clerks feel the need to convince the customers that the thing we want doesn’t exist, I have no idea.

Any ideas on this one?
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