My quest for blue jeans in my husband’s desired size, style, and shade landed me in a mall thirty miles from home one crazy December afternoon. Christmas was approaching, and said blue jeans were on the “gotta find ‘em “ list. So, when a phone call from our local store confirmed that the distant store did, in fact, have them in stock, I was on my way.
Since the jeans were on hold, I made my purchase quickly. Then, I reasoned that I should shop for a few other items on my list. After all, this mall was larger than our local mall, and I might be spared another trip or some last minute headaches.
Soon I found myself in the jewelry department of a fine department store, selecting some earrings. The rack I was searching reached nearly to the floor, and of course the most compelling colors hung enticingly near the bottom of the display. So there I was, bent over at the waist, with my posterior sticking out into the aisle. I knew it wasn’t the most flattering or lady-like pose, but it couldn’t be helped. “Hmmm, shall I buy the red chandelier earrings, or the purple sparkly ones?”
Whap! The slap to my derriere brought me immediately erect. Incredulous, I turned to see who had been so rude. To my right there was no one in sight; to my left a saleslady was walking briskly away. She glanced backward, however, and her face wore a mischievous grin.
The saleslady’s grin lasted only an instant. She froze when she saw me, and we stood staring at each other with matched expressions, both seeming to say, “Huh?”
Finally, short, exclamatory sentences came tumbling from her lips. “Oh my goodness! You’re not Susan! I’m so sorry! I thought you were Susan! You look just like her -at least that side of you did! Oh no! I can’t believe it! I just spanked a customer!”
Her face had lost its color and the grin I had glimpsed for a moment had vanished. Her associates gathered around, and were no doubt trying to remember protocol for such an incident. Since they couldn’t come up with any, they all just stood there, watching and waiting to see how it played out. The poor woman was distraught.
I couldn’t think of any protocol either, so I did what came naturally. I laughed. Soon her co-workers joined in, and finally Saleslady, herself, cracked a feeble smile.
“I’ll probably lose my job over this,” she lamented as I handed her the purple sparkly earrings. “That was such a stupid thing for me to do. You have no idea how sorry I am. Let me buy these for you,” she said, taking them from my hand.
“Look, it was a mistake, and a funny one at that. I have no intention of reporting you,” I told her, “and I won’t let you buy my earrings; but if it makes you feel better, maybe you can give me the sale price that’s supposed to start tomorrow.”
“Really? You’re not going to report me? I can’t believe it.”
“Consider yourself forgiven,” I said, “just don’t expect me to forget this. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever experienced. What a great story! Don’t worry, though. Mum's the word. I’ll never reveal your identity.”
We continued our banter while Saleslady rang up the earrings at the sale price, and I could tell she was beginning to relax. Then she handed me the receipt. “Oh Ma’am,” she said, leaning in close across the counter, “Spank you very much!”
“Those who conceal their sins do not prosper, but those who confess and renounce them find mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 (Today’s NIV)
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