As a local high street business we do more than just just booking holidays, says Spear Travel’s Kim Kent.
As we all know, dealing with the public can be challenging, and we have all been in situations that are awkward to handle.
Here, we are quite fortunate to be on a high street in a small, affluent village on the outskirts of Wolverhampton, and rarely have to deal with any unusual behaviour.
That said, we’ve had a few odd moments. There was the passerby who wanted to buy the beach balls hanging in our window display (it was very hot, and there’s a public paddling pool close by). And someone else knocked on the window to ask if he could have some of our lovely luggage labels, even though he hadn’t booked with us.
But something really strange was bound to happen one day. And sure enough, it did.
My colleague was dealing with a lady who had come into the shop looking for a UK breaks brochure. She caught my eye as she was unusually dressed. After finding out what she wanted, my colleague offered her a coach holidays brochure, which included trips with door-to-door home pick-up.
The customer seemed interested and asked a lot of questions. But as soon as we’d answer one question, she’d ask another, and another, and so on. She wanted to look at the brochure for herself. I could tell that her eyesight was poor because she held it very close to her face. But she seemed happy to browse.
“A passerby wanted to buy the beach balls hanging in our window display (it was very hot, and there’s a public paddling pool close by).”
We offered her a seat and she sat at a spare desk close to the front of the shop as she read. She refused a drink, so we carried on with our work, having mentioned that if she needed any help, we were there to assist. A few minutes later, she started talking to herself, which was quite off-putting. I looked at my colleague and we had a little smile. We asked if she was OK and she said she was, so we all carried on.
…are made of this
We were busy with admin and phonecalls, but no customers were in the shop, meaning we could keep an eye on her. A few moments later, I noticed it had gone quiet. I looked over and realised why: she had fallen fast asleep. I looked at my colleague, shrugged my shoulders and decided to leave her as there was no one in the shop.
I thought she was sure to wake up soon. But she didn’t. She was sound asleep with her head bent forward and hanging down to her chest. As time passed, I wasn’t sure what to do. Should we talk loudly and hope to wake her up? Or get the vacuum cleaner out? I always see the funny side of these kinds of situation, but I was equally aware that if other clients came in, it would not look great for the business.
“I thought she was sure to wake up soon, but she was sound asleep with her head bent forward and hanging down to her chest.”
Because I was concerned, my colleague went over to our sleeper and put her hand on her shoulder to wake her up. After she arose from her slumber, the customer struggled to her feet. She didn’t apologise and promptly left the shop.
This particular customer had never booked here, and we’ve not seen her since– I don’t suppose we ever will. But the experience reminded me that looking after people in our communities is just one of our many duties as a local high street business.
We will pay our respects
We’ve had some sad news this week about lovely and trusted clients who have either died or become ill.
Mr Margetts was due to go on a Caribbean cruise yesterday but unfortunately had a stroke and is now recovering in hospital. He’s the second customer recently to lose their holiday this way. His wife came in to let us know. If Only were very good getting the cancellation letter to us so she could start the claims process.
As if that wasn’t enough bad news, we also heard this week of the deaths of three regular clients, two of which were unexpected. We will, of course, be showing our respects by attending the funerals.