On my way to fish the other day I knew I needed a new streamer leader. I toyed with just running with a straight piece of 4x but thought better of the idea. After chastising myself for not adding leaders and tippet to my latest online order, I stopped by a fly shop that I happen to think is one of the better ones.
At the counter was a new face; older guy but not the usual older guy. He seemed vaguely familiar but if I had run into him before it was some time ago.
I got the non-committal greeting that I've come to expect at other places and proceeded to select twenty-five dollars of leader and tippet.
Back at the counter the guy was helping an elderly woman purchase a gift certificate for her son. She was having trouble getting her PIN in the system and finally made it work after about ten tries. It seemed odd to me that something so simple could be so difficult but I'm not of her age and I'm not going to cast any stones. I'm sure there are younger folks who roll their eyes at me.
As I stepped up to the counter I noticed a guy waiting off to the side. He had waders and a box of wading boots in his hands. He was clearly there first so I waved him forward.
He explained to the clerk that he had bought the boots yesterday and they were a bit small and he wanted to try on a larger size. Without a word to the wader guy the clerk turned to me and motioned me forward. I think what he meant to say to the wader guy was "Would you mind if I ring this guy up real quick?", but he didn't.
I pulled out my debit card to pay. I'm not sure why I did, I normally charge everything so I can get the points. Perhaps, sublimally, I wanted to demonstrate that the machine worked just fine. Regardless, I swiped my card and the clerk immediately prompted me to enter my PIN. That didn't work. In fact, it didn't work for the next five tries either. On the seventh try, I entered the number super slow, like the previous customer, and noticed that the last two digits I entered worked, but not the first two. I also noticed those two keystrokes registered when the text "Enter PIN" appeared on the screen. So, on the eighth try, I waited for the words to appear, despite the contrary prompting of the clerk, and everything worked out just fine.
So, I said to the clerk "I think you have to wait for the words 'Enter PIN' to appear before you try to enter the PIN".
"No you don't", he replied.
"Two customers just had problems entering the PIN and both were successful when they waited for the words 'Enter PIN' to appear. You don't think that means something", I said.
"Two customers with problems, I've had a hundred thousand* enter it just fine." the clerk says.
Now what I heard was: "You sir are a dolt as was the wench before you. You can't even handle entering your PIN correctly and far be it for me to make you feel better about being such a dolt. That'll be twenty-five dollars, please." What I was looking for was something more along the lines of "There may be something wrong with the machine. I'll let the manager know." Such a response would have let himself off the hook and would have allowed him not to call me a dolt; everyone wins. Except for the guy holding the box of wading boots.
I laughed. I shook my head. I suspect that this new machine, it looked like someone had just taken it out of the box, worked differently that the machine used for the previous hundred thousand transactions. But I wasn't going to waste precious fishing time discussing the fine points of this matter with the clerk.
I feel like clerks at fly fishing stores need some help with their interactions with clients. So, here are a few greetings that you may use in place of the grunt/head nod. Feel free to use them in order or mix it up a bit. To be truly effective they should be delivered while standing, smiling and maintaining direct eye contact. I recommend fly shop owners post this helpful cue card (suitable for framing) by the register.
Note that all of the above contain a greeting coupled with an offer to sell the customer something. I am startled by my brilliance. I'm sure you are too.
Some of you are probably feeling dissatisfied now. The title of this post led you to believe there was a joke within. So, for those of you who have waited patiently, here's a joke.
A guy walks into a fly shop and sees a horse behind the counter spooling up a new reel for a customer. He stares at the horse for a minute without saying a word. The horse stops what he's doing and looks up. "Hey buddy, what's the matter?" the horse says, "You got a problem with a horse working behind the counter?" "No", the guy says, "It's just that I can't believe the weasel sold the place."I didn't say it would be a good one.
* I suspect hyperbole.