Friday, June 23, 2006

Missed opportunity at store. Fri, Jun 23, 2006

06/23/2006. Friday didn't get off to too good a start either. My interet connection had been down since Wednesday evening, and tech support said the earliest they could get a cable repairman out would be Saturday morning. Yesterday, Thursday, I blew two golden opportunities to talk to people who were in my path at the library.

Friday, it was starting to be rush hour, and there would be traffic problems going to the nearer library, so I decided to go to the next nearest library branch, which is close to the Post Office.

I checked my Post Office Box, and headed towards that other branch, and decided to stop at a store known for bargains and close-outs.

I got some stuff on sale, and got in line. Two people ahead of me was a teenager with a box, and by the time it was his turn in line, his father came back to pay for it. The boy and his siblings didn't stand out as immigrants, but the father had a heavy African accent.

I struck up a conversation with the father, and he was from Nigeria and spoke Yoruba. I started to go into my routine of making an offer of books, but he was paying the cashier. I decided to get out of line, leave my stuff in the cart off to the side, and get the books out of my car and meet him outside. But I neglected to ask him to wait for me, thinking I'd have time to catch them outside.

I got the books from the car, but when I looked around in the parking lot, they were nowhere to be found. I stood there for a few seconds scanning the parking lot, wondering where they went. Either they left very quickly or were still back in the store. I went back in the store, and they were gone. And, the clerks thought I had abandoned my items, and put them back in a stack of stuff to be re-shelved, and we couldn't even find them. (And that was the only pair of pants that were on sale that were in my size.)

Ack. I blew it. The pants were nothing. But, I should have asked the man to wait for me, or else I should have accompanied him outside and talked to him after leaving my place in line. It was my fear of making a presentation there in line, right in front of the customers and the clerks. So I never actually offered the books. I had only gotten so far as to say my church had books in Yoruba.

It was not like he was put off. His reaction during the short conversation we were able to have was positive. The bottom line is that I let my fear of what others might think blow the opportunity. And I also learned to not assume I could walk away and come back and find them again without asking them to wait.

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