The older gentleman was fishing in his coat pocket as he approached the customer service desk. Mark greeted him with a cheerful, “How may I help you, sir?”
The customer pulled out a small bag with the store’s logo on it and plopped it on the counter. “My wife got me these for Christmas and I wanna return them. Useless things don’t do nothing for my computer. Nothing at all.”
Curious, Mark upended the bag and two very ordinary flash drives fell out. He picked up each one and examined it for damage. “They appear to be okay…”
The man continued his complaint. “I plugged the one in and nothing happened. I tried the other and still no change. So I plugged both of them in. They made no difference whatsoever.”
“Excuse me? What difference were you expecting them to make?”
The man scowled. “They’re flash drives, right?”
Mark nodded, totally clueless.
“My computer’s old, like me, see? Well, a couple of weeks back we were at my nephew’s place and he was telling us he’d bought himself a new computer and a couple of flash drives. Got them right here in your store.”
“I see,” said Mark, though the picture was still fractured.
“He was showing us his whiz-bang machine and what all he could do. Man, that thing was fast! Click-click-click and he was all over the internet. Weather, maps, whatever, all in a flash. So I says to my wife later, ‘I need to get me a couple of those flash drives to speed up my computer.’ She got me these for Christmas but, like I said, they don’t do nothing.”
“Uh…but flash drives are just storage.”
The man looked bewildered. “I thought they’re supposed to drive something?”
“Listen, sir. Just let me call one of our sales reps and he can explain what a flash drive is and how it works.” He pushed the intercom. “Pete to Customer Service, please.”
At lunch time Pete sat down beside Mark in the staff room and gave Mark a nudge with his elbow. “About that fellow with the flash drive problem… That’s called passing the buck, you know. You could have explained just as well as I.”
Mark grinned. “Can you forgive me? I could see myself being tied up all morning. I noticed he didn’t come back for his refund.”
He gave Mark a thumbs-up. “Sure I can. I sold him a new super-speed system , plus he kept the flash drives.”