Well, today’s blog is not a funny one. It’s a serious one. If you feel like laughing, maybe you should just skip today’s, or go on over to the right of the screen and click on “Some of my faves!” I can’t be funny all the time, and there’s a topic I need to get off my chest: my hatred of drugs.
I work at a high-end kitchen store. We sell whipped cream dispensers. We also sell the tiny individual nitrous oxide cartridges to be used in the whipped cream dispensers. Evidently, one can somehow use this nitrous oxide to get high. The Husband tells me a true cautionary tale of how a guy he went to high school with tried nitrous oxide one time and died instantly. For this reason, there is a legal limit to how many boxes we are allowed to sell (two boxes, and each box contains 10 cartridges).
Usually, someone legitimate will come in to buy the expensive gourmet whipped cream dispenser and one box of the nitrous oxide cartridges. They plan on making hot chocolate for the kids, or maybe some crepes for a special brunch. I personally used to own the same whipped cream dispenser a long time ago, and even in a full year’s time, I never made enough whipped cream to go through all the cartridges.
Yesterday, a young person came in and wanted to buy two boxes. As a mother, it physically pains me to think about one of my sons someday doing drugs and getting hurt (keep in mind, not everyone dies from drugs, one can just become brain-damaged instead! what an option!). I recognized this particular “customer” because I remembered selling him two boxes the previous week. The purchase stood out because that's the only item he bought that day, just the nitrous oxide (no oven mitts, no spatulas, no pancake syrup.) I know that it's bad to profile or stereotype someone, but I can say with 100% confidence from looking at the way that he was dressed, his nervous mannerisms, the way he acted, etc, that he was not a caterer: he was buying these to get high.
What I should have done: lied (“Oh, I’m so sorry, we’re out.”)
What I did do: fumbled (“I can only sell you one box.”)
He knew the rules (two boxes) and he fought me on it. (Aside: in researching writing this post, I discovered dozens of pathetic websites devoted to how to get high with the nitrous oxide and where to buy the cartridges and how many one is allowed to buy.) He informed me that he just bought two boxes last week (which exactly proves my point that he was buying too many, so I replied sharply, I know, I'm the one who sold them to you), and then he asked for a manager.
I cornered The Boss on her lunch break in the back office. I explained the situation to her, and asked her to come out and talk to him. She sighed a deep sigh, and told me she could not back me up on this. Apparently, I'm not allowed to make up my own policies at work.
She came out to the sales floor, and approached him. She asked for his driver’s license, and told him he had to be 18 years old to buy the cartridges. He provided it happily (he was 25). I finished the transaction (he paid cash), all the while giving him the judgmental Don’t-Do-Drugs stare-down, and then he left.
The Boss took me aside and reprimanded me. She said, “MOV, I appreciate what you were trying to do, and I know you think you were doing the right thing, but you know that corporate decided we can sell a maximum of two boxes of 10. You have to remember, we do have legitimate customers who use that much whipped cream professionally, for catering or maybe in cooking school. Unfortunately, it’s not your place to profile a customer and refuse to sell to him.” In other words, if I did it again, I could be fired.
Funny. I could be fired for selling them, but he could die.
("My Opinion: Valid?")
****Follow-up if you are interested: he came back into our store over this past weekend (May 8). He walked right up to me (as opposed to any of the other six employees who were working) and asked for the whipped-cream chargers. I went behind the counter and "looked" in the cupboard where we keep them, then told him we were sold out and I was sorry. Coward's approach? Perhaps. But I got out of selling him more to feed his habit.