Through our church we run a thrift store. Our thrift store handles our benevolence as well. It’s curious to me when people try to point fingers at us for their perceived offenses at what we do. Recently a customer came in to purchase $12.00 worth of items. She tried to pay with her debit card but it was declined. She rummaged through her purse to come up some of the money but she was still short. Our cashier explained that she didn’t have the authority to override the purchase for a lesser amount. The customer became livid.
“I can’t believe you won’t let me have the rest of my purchase. You are supposed to be the church. I am going to tell all of my friends not to come here.”
Our cashier was upset because she was following policy and asked me later how it should have been handled. Our cashier said that because the items weren’t essentials, she felt confident in maintaining the policy. I backed up our cashier’s judgment.
We often get these rants. What is amazing is that people often throw the “you’re supposed to be the church” comment to us. In other words, what they are saying is that since we are the church they should be allowed to take advantage of us. We should bow to their whims. We should give them what they want.
I understand that we live in an entitled society but I wonder if they yell in the same fashion at their local Walmart or Target? When they are short on cash they do begin to yell and make a scene that their things should be free? I have had to put things back before, or leave a store without something I wanted. Trust me, it isn’t the end of the world.
I often find the people who come in using their vouchers are so much more respectful, often humbled by their life experience, they try to stay under their voucher amount. They come to the register and ask the cashier to ring up their purchases because they don’t want to go over their voucher amount.
Sometimes it makes me wonder if the economy is down because we are a society who must have what they want when they want it regardless of what the price someone else has to pay for them to have it?
It is because we are the church that we must be fair and even-handed. Not allowing others to take advantage of the generosity of many.