Misunderstood by Jeffrey Zable

I’m still confused as to why I was fired from the clothing store on my first day when all I was trying to do was be helpful, supportive and direct with each of my customers. I told them honestly and fairly what I thought of the clothing they were purchasing so that each would be satisfied and want to return to the store again.

As I’ve observed a lot of people through the years, and considered whether they were wearing what suited them best, I genuinely thought that my perspective would be appreciated. That’s really why I wanted to work in a clothing store to begin with.

With regard to this, I reflect on my first customer—a woman in her late thirties—who brought a dress up to my counter, smiled and held it in front of her, subsequently asking me what I thought of it. Studying the dress for a moment and then looking her in the eyes, I said, “You know…that is the ugliest excuse for a dress I’ve ever seen. If you wear it outside where others will see you, most will think that you look like a ten-dollar whore or a lowly peasant from outer Mongolia. I’d suggest you go back to the women’s section and find something that makes you appear halfway decent.”

I was only trying to help, but surprisingly she dropped the dress onto the floor, gave me a horrified look and ran out of the store.

Next, this guy came up to me holding the longest belt I’d ever seen. I didn’t even know they made belts that size, nor that we carried them, so I said to him, “Sir, you need to do that Nutrisystem program and keep out of sight until you can at least fit into a reasonably-sized pair of pants that won’t make you look like a beached blue whale.”

He, too, didn’t seem to appreciate my help and actually tried to hook me with the belt before waddling out of the store like a man possessed.

Finally, there was this elderly gentleman with huge ears that came up to the counter holding a hat he’d found somewhere in the back of the store.

“Listen, old timer,” I said in a friendly tone, “you’ll need a larger hat than that to cover those Dumbo ears, or you’ll need to have an operation in which they trim those suckers considerably. After they do, you’ll probably have a hard time understanding what anyone is saying, but in a world like this, in which people mostly talk bullshit, it will certainly be a blessing!”

Witnessing this encounter, my boss came up to me with what I perceived as a hostile expression. Pointing at me, and then the door, he not only said I was fired, but demanded that I get out before he counted to ten. And when I asked him why he would terminate an exemplary employee like me, who in the long run would make him a lot of money, he wouldn’t even answer.

Before leaving, I looked at the clock; informed him that he owed me for twenty-three minutes, and to please put my check in the mail…

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