Don’t trust a book by its cover

imagesThe summer between my freshman and sophomore year I spent the summer working as a flyer at Neiman-Marcus. A flyer is someone who goes from department to department depending on who needs help that day.  It was a great way to experience multiple departments.  I spent time in the food department including accessories, mens, women’s and even children’s.

There was a bit of animosity among the sales people that was created by the person running the store.  Everyone was on commission so all elbows were sharp to grab each possible sale.  Wasn’t pretty and nobody had any interest in talking to me which proved to be a mistake.  I would have been happy to help anyone get a sale if I understood the commission structure.  I was there to learn.

One day I happened to be working the men’s department.  They needed a warm body to make sure the floor was covered. I noticed a woman looking at clothes.  She was wearing frayed jeans, a white V-neck Hanes t-shirt and clunky shoes.  Nobody would give her the time of day because she didn’t appear to be a worthy customer.  I approached her and we started talking.  I was happy to help her pull some clothes together for her husband.

Soon enough it was obvious to everyone on the floor that this woman was going to make a serious purchase.  Then everyone attempted to be friendly with me.  Could they help, perhaps they should ring up the sale?  I ignored them all and did the sale myself.  Ends up the woman was the wife to the ambassador of Mexico.

She pulls a huge wad of cash out of her pocket to pay for the almost $5k purchase.  I was a kid, she was an adult but I said to her that she might want to consider not walking around DC with all that cash in her pocket.  She laughed and said to me “do I look like I have that kind of cash in my pocket”?  Obviously not or I wouldn’t have been the one ringing up this sale.

Bottom line….never judge a book by its cover.