My shop is located in a larger building, with a number of suites/units. As a matter of fact, my shop address includes Unit D. But somehow, the idea that I might be in the same location as another, or multiple businesses, is confusing. I regularly get people calling – from the parking lot – asking where I am located. I have been known to say “Use the yellow door in front of you with “Welcome” in the window. The door is under a sign for the shop.”
I also assume, apparently wrongly, that if the address is 123 D Main Street, that the place I’m looking for is on Main Street. Bust still, customers will call me from 1 or 2 blocks away – mind you the historic district in which my shop is located is only about 5 blocks long by 2 blocks wide. These people often call me because Garmin or Google “got them lost”. Then when I start to give them step by step directions from their location, I’m often told, “Wait, let me zoom out, oh, there’s your street, I can find you now.”
And yet, occasional the exact opposite happens. Just today I had an elderly woman enter the shop, carrying a knitting bag and a piece of note book paper with my shop’s address written on it. She mentioned that she was glad to find me, she’s been looking for a shop like mine for some time, and she found me through Google. But when she Googled the address, Google wouldn’t map it for her. So instead of 253, she entered 251. Her reasoning was that it would get her close to the correct address and it would be on the same side of the street. Brilliant. And here’s the thing – it worked! It worked because she understands how addresses usually work, read the way faring signs in town, and observed her surroundings.
See here’s the thing I’m struggling with in all of this, and similar situations, at what point does customer service (in the retail industry) or being polite (in regular social settings) become enabling? Read a map, zoom out on Google or Garmin and look around you. If you know you’re going to be at an event all day, pack snacks, throw a water bottle in your bag. If you burn easily and your going to be outside, grab your sunscreen. If you struggle with mobility, and are heading to a picnic, throw a chair or walking stick in your trunk.
Yes, it’s nice when you can find things easily. It’s nice when event planners hand you food. It’s nice when there’s a water fountain handy. It’s nice when there are pop-up canopies and extra chairs at picnics. But don’t expect the niceties all the time. Sometimes you will have to cut the cornbread with a spoon. Sometimes you’ll need to sit on the grass. Sometimes things will be overlooked by others. It will be ok.
I’m not saying I subscribe to the “every man for himself” adage. Rather, I’m wondering at what point did we stop taking responsibility for ourselves and the little things we do each day? Last time I checked, the world revolves around a star named Sol and not any of us. We’re all here together, we can think logically, use our common sense and help one another out, or we can remain in our private universe and wonder why others don’t think we’re entitled to all the hand-holding we think we deserve.