Today, I went to pick up some stuff at the Lidl (a local discounter here in Switzerland). I especially like their brand of sensitive wet wipes (which I have discovered are fairly useful when the J-man spits up everything he seems to have eaten). The sensitive kind are non-scented and are probably just sterilized water on disposable wipes. Regardless, I find them useful to clean up the regurgitated milk that ends up everywhere. ABSOLUTELY everywhere (on me, on him, on the couch, on the floor, and today, in the pocket of his small pair of jeans he was wearing).
I went today just to stock up on those. But, they also had a sale on Pampers (J-man’s size), so I bought some of them too. And some bottled carbonated water (from the Valais–of course). And some local Boxer beer for Ludo. And some non-alcoholic beer for me. And a few nectarines, because they are in season. And some bio bananas. And some yoghurt, because it was a good price. And some cheese. And a loaf a bread. And, some tuna, and some other canned fish. And well, I think that is about it, but I am probably forgetting something.
However, I had the J-man in a porte-bebe (a baby carrier), like a backpack, but on the front. I was loading things in the cart just fine. I was just going down the aisles looking to see if I really needed anything. If I spotted something, I put it in my cart.
By the time I got to the check-out, I had a trolley full of stuff. I sort of looked at it, and wondered if I needed everything, but sometimes, if I am out-and-about, I see staples (and I consider Pampers and sparkling water staples), I just get them. I manage. I just sling things in and out of the cart, in and out of the car, and up the elevator to the apartment. Sometimes, I have to make a few trips, but I manage. And Jonathan is with me all the way. Not a problem.
Today, however. Today, I sort of looked at my trolley and I looked at the conveyor belt to the cashier and I sighed. I started unloading the cart, doing a sort of twisty, dip, and dancey move to keep the J-man out of the way when I needed to.
All of a sudden, this gentleman appeared. He said: “Let me help you do that. It cannot be easy with a baby strapped to your front.” He was dressed in a shirt and jacket. I thought he was a manager of the store or something. I motioned that he didn’t have to. I would be OK. But he insisted, “It really cannot be easy with a baby strapped on your front. Let me help.” So I resigned and let him unload my cart onto the conveyor belt to the cashier.
At the cashier, he repacked my trolley. When everything was in the trolley, he laughed and said: “I’ll let you get the bill.” I was floored that he helped me load and unload the trolley. So I laughed and said: “Not a problem. Thank you so much for helping load and unload. It is OK with the baby, but it is much easier with the help.”
“Je vous en prie, madame.” “My pleasure, madame.”
Then, as I went to go out the door, he said again: “No, let me.” And he pushed my trolley out the door and to my car AND HE PROCEEDED TO UNLOAD THE TROLLEY–yet again– into the car.
I just stood back and let him. I was so amazed. AND since Ludo’s brother is some sort of head muckety-muck for the store in the region, I thought I would ask this gentleman’s name and make sure I told his brother of the suprisingly great customer service at one of his stores. I asked him his name.
“Je peux vous demander votre nom, monsieur?”
“Je suis Carlos. Carlos Kosta. Madame. Je suis portugais.”
And I laughed. And smiled. I was thinking of how pleased Ludo’s brother would be when I told him this story. I was also eager to tell my friend Karen as I had just been lamenting about customer service in Switzerland (or specific lack thereof). I couldn’t believe it. This gentleman had gone out of his way to help me get my cartload of stuff out of the store and into the car.
I thanked him again. And he said.
“Je vous en prie, madame. Je vous en prie. Bon journee.” AND THEN HE TURNED AND WALKED TO THE PARKED BMW BEHIND ME, got in, and drove away.
He was not a store employee at all. He was shopping with his wife–who was waiting patiently in the car.
I didn’t know what to say, not that I could say anything because he had already driven off. I ended up just tweeting a thank you into the tweet-o-shpere. Hopefully, his goodwill will be returned ten-fold someday.