Freebies I donated to the goody boxes.
Some items that have sold.
My basket and I flowed smoothly around the grocery store, like inner-tubes on a uninhibited creek. Blackberries are on sale for 67 cents a container.
“Excuse me,” a Caribbean accent greeted me. “Could you tell me how to tell when blackberries are good or not? Are they bad when they turn red?”
“Well,” I said, pulling a container over and opening it. “When blackberries are still red, they aren’t ripe yet. But do you see how the berry cells in this one have begun to shrivel and collapse? That’s when the cell is no longer firm and has gone too soft. And here? See it’s also starting to mold.”
She thanked me, and I flowed on. I’ve been asked a lot of things, but that was new. I rounded another corner to find a slightly harried mother making a bee-line for me.
“Excuse me – do you know where I can find the living lettuce that comes in a ball shape inside a plastic container?” I know exactly what she is talking about. My sister-in-law likes to buy that. “Umm, hmmm. I believe if you look over in the corner over there where you find the bagged salad and organic collection, you will find it there.” She looked over to find her husband there with it in hand. I flowed on.
Truly, I do wear a psychic sign or something. I’ve never worked in many places, but this happens to me all the time. I round another corner.
“It’s really rare and only happens like every 37.5 years or so…” I look up as an employee at a tasting station educated his co-worker and smile. I already know exactly what he’s talking about, though I’m not sure where his figures came from.
I swing by the freezer section and try to find some pomegranate frozen yogurt. It’s a fruitless endeavor, but I’ve been craving it ever since being introduced to YogurBerry in AZ on my recent trip.
“And it only happens like once every 20 years!” I glance around and notice a lady on her cell phone walking past. What a surreal shopping experience this is turning out to be.
“This is such a special New Year’s Eve – it’s a Blue Moon AND a lunar eclipse too!” “It’s a once in a life-time event!” “It only happens once every 54 years!”
And so it went….. But I was good. In spite of knowing something about all this, I did not stop to interject or correct anyone.
There are always either 13 full moons or 13 new moons from winter solstice to winter solstice. And it is true that Dec 31st will be the 2nd full moon in December. However being a 2nd full moon in a month does not necessarily make a true “Blue Moon.”
In fact, the idea that two full moons within the same month making a Blue Moon, is actually only as recent as 1946 when Sky and Telescope Magazine mis-interpreted the Maine Farmer’s Almanac. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, a Blue Moon is actually the 3rd full moon within a season of four full moons. A correction was published, but not until some years down the road and the mistake has stuck ever since.
Which means, tonight is only the first full moon of the season and cannot qualify as a Blue Moon.
Some folks say they really find the Farmer’s Almanac definition confusing. I believe this probably has something to do with the fact our society is not as dependant on seasons and moon reckoning, much less traditional or even old-fashioned farming methods. Essentially, seasons were divided by their full moons. The early full moon, the mid full moon and the later full moon. During times of need, full moons could be useful to extend work hours, though certainly there were superstitions about full moons as well. Still, any season generally has 3 full moons. But on the occasion that there came to be 4 full moons, the 3rd full moon would be considered the extra full moon. The Blessed Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Harvest Moon, etc.. Although technically the Harvest Moon usually ocurrs in September and the Hunter’s Moon in October and refer to the appearance of the moon based on the length of time the moon is bright in the sky. Still an extra full moon was a blessing. One more night of light during the season. After all, you were only as abundant as you could work for it.
2009 is coming to a close. It’s been a tough year, but I’m not in a hurry to forget it. I think tonight, in the spirit of the eclipse, I will do my best to remember everything. Good and “bad.” For I believe each and every moment had its purpose. And I don’t want to lose it.
Yesterday was a busy day. I had a customer to meet to deliver two custom hats for. It was actually a bit of a drive for me. He was a return customer, though, and for that thanks, I was happy to meet him closer to his home. And I knew he was studying for finals all day as well, so it’d be hard for him to take off a lot of time just to pick up his order. Dear hubby kept the kids so I could take care of business. And besides, it gave me an excuse to go by Central Market.
When I got to the Starbucks we were to meet at, my customer was nowhere to be found and I hadn’t realized my cell phone was dead. To make matters worse, the cigarette lighter in my car is broken. (And I mean broken.) So there’s no way to charge my phone on the run.
So I talked to an employee at Starbucks to see if there was a phone I could borrow. He said they didn’t have a public phone, but to check out the AT&T store.
When I walked in to AT&T Mobility, down on the corner of 45th and Lamar, a sales support rep named Sajid Sanchez was there to greet me immediately. I explained that the folks at the coffee shop had sent me over to see if I could borrow a phone. He immediately said, “Sure! Use any demo phone on the walls.” I was grateful. Especially since I’d just realized that my customer’s number was actually a long distance number. Never matters on my cell phone, but would have mattered had I borrow a land line.
I managed to make my call. My customer was so busy studying that he forgot the time and said he’d be right over in a few minutes. I hung up relieved that I hadn’t driven 30 minutes just to turn around and go back home.
I thanked Mr. Sanchez for the loan of the phone and explained that I really did appreciate it since I was due to meet a customer and my own cell phone was dead. “Well,” he said, “What kind of phone is it? Perhaps we can charge it up for you here.”
I hesitated, wondering if this would turn into a hard sell to buy an AT&T phone. “Well,” I said, “It’s a Sprint phone….”
And that’s where Mr. Sanchez surprised me. “No matter, let’s see if we can try charging it anyway,” he said.
Mr. Sanchez proceeded to try several jacks around the store. Then he even raided through a box of oddball chargers they had stored away in a closet, trying out each one, looking to see if one of them might help charge up my phone a bit so I’d have a little juice at least for a little while. He was very polite and professional and not once did he say anything about buying a phone or switching my service.
In the end, there wasn’t a charger he could find to help me, and I needed to get back to the coffee shop to meet my customer. But I appreciated, none-the-less, that he went above and beyond. And I really don’t think it had anything to do with the season either.
I wasn’t even an AT&T customer. I’ve never had any cell service other than Sprint. But here was someone, even in a sales environment where time really can be money, who stopped and offered the time to see if he could help me out. With no strings attached. That to me really stands out. That’s the way business is supposed to be. When you focus on helping others, the rest just falls into place. And as a small business owner who knows a little something about sales, I really appreciate it too. So I went back over, after making my delivery, and asked Sajid for his business card so I could blog about his customer service and share this story with you.
So folks, if you might be in the need for a new phone or service, perhaps you might want to talk to Sajid Sanchez over at AT&T Mobility on the corner of 45th and Lamar in Austin, TX. I was very impressed with his professionalism and I’m sure you will be too. The main number there is: 512.879.8156.
Oh and hey, if you do decide to call or come by and check them out, please tell them that you read my blog post about Mr. Sanchez. I think his superiors ought to know they have a valuable employee. It would be a wonderful gift to him if you said a kind word on his behalf too.
So thanks again Mr. Sanchez – and Merry Christmas!