So, the tax refund came in and after being a good little do-bee and paying some debt, it was off to Sears for a new over-the-range microwave to complete the last of the great appliance replacement project of 2011 - 2013.
Why Sears? Because Ally works there, and has done a great job by us on many purchases over these past 3 years. And once again, we made out on the microwave, and it will be delivered and installed on Thursday.
But, follow me over the orange thingy to see how the other couple working with Ally that day paid $80 more than we did for an inferior product.
You see, Ally is transgender, not that this matters insofar as her job goes, but it matters in the story below. Insofar as her job goes, she is just about the most professional, knowledgeable and positive salesperson with whom I have ever dealt. Sears is lucky to have her and has definitely gotten a lot more of my money over the years as a result of her selling performance.
We have become friendly acquaintances over these past 3 years. Last year, the refrigerator was on the list for replacement, it was the 4th purchase we made from her, and she did a great job explaining how some of my research was incorrect and would have resulted in getting a refrigerator that wouldn't fit! She saved us about $150 and a lot of headaches that day, and the wife and I took her to lunch to thank her.
She also thanked us for being such pleasant customers and requesting her, and then began to cry. She said that people had been avoiding her much of the day and one man had even been cruel enough to say that he preferred to wait for a "real woman" to work with. It was heartbreaking to see a human being feeling the pain of being rejected out of hatred and ignorance. I didn't know what to say.
So, yesterday, we went in for the microwave, and Ally was waiting on another couple. The husband asked if she could look up a competitor's price on the computer. As she walked over to check the computer to look it up, the husband turns to his wife and says "I don't know what that he-she thinks its doing, but I know better than it, Lowes has a lower price". Ally came back and explained that the models weren't the same, and explained the difference. Mr. Know-it-all Hater then decides on a Kenmore model, ignores Ally's advice and gets rude, telling her "yeah, yeah, just write this one up, I think I know what I want". So, she did, made the sale and they walked out.
Ally then saw us, thanked us for waiting, and we chatted a bit. Her smile came back and you could see her relax, and then we got talking about the microwaves. Turns out, another Kenmore model that she noted had a good track record was being discontinued. It had a stronger and variable speed ventilation fan and a second rack and a no-stick interior compared to the one the other couple bought. And, it was $70 cheaper, so with tax we saved about $85 compared to the other couple, and got a better microwave to boot.
After we left, I couldn't help thinking how hatred and ignorance had cost that guy $85. And wondered how much more it had cost him over the years, not only in $$, but in relationships, in humanity. How much of life had he missed by not being open to people who were different from him. I don't know how to put a price on that.