July 1st, 2014 | Tuesday

After being home for a month, I’ve come to appreciate simple things like “the customer always being right.”  Going out to eat in Oman was a mystery in terms of what or when I would get my food.  The restaurant may have had a huge sign promoting their new entree “Try our chicken fajitas today,” but when you would go to order it, you’d be surprised that the employee taking your order may just not feel like cooking it today…responding to your request with “Don’t have.” This was all too common, even at Starbucks. “Can I have a green tea frappicino?” (Keep in mind, the person in front of me just ordered that exact same thing and got it) “We don’t have today.” Oh. Ok well what exactly do you have? This was not because I was American, or a female, simply because they did not want to make it again.

I work at an outdoor store, Lewis and Clark Outfitters, where customer service is the number one thing. With a return policy of YES, guaranteeing the customer to be happy with whatever they purchase, and encouraging them to come back, it develops a relationship with the people of Lewis and Clark and the family and friends that continue to shop with us. I didn’t realize how much I valued this characteristic until now.  My 1st week back at work, I was busy working as much as I could, trying to outfit customers to compliment whatever trip it was they may have been taking or an event they were shopping for.  I met a customer, Teri, that had just begun rock climbing a year ago and after I showed her the hammocks and finished checking her out at the register, she invited me to come climb with her the next time she goes out.  How cool is that.

Again, a customer came in and needed to return a pair of shoes that he had had for a two years, but never wore them.  I helped him find another option and returned the old pair.  A couple of hours later, I got a phone call at work and that customer, Chris, offered up his Dierks Bentley concert ticket that was going on that night to anyone that I worked with. He wasn’t able to make it, so he thought maybe someone there could.  Such a genuine gesture that was completely unexpected. I love people. I do not know if these things occurred to me because of good customer service, but I’d like to think it played a big part.

Bentonville, AR | Farmer’s Market

The first weekend back, I went to the farmer’s market with my family and bought a 2 bundles of sunflowers. Those were no where to be found in the Middle East as far as I’m concerned. Aside from seeing my best friend at work at Crepes Paulette and eating my favorite savory crepe for breakfast on the Bentonville Square, buying the sunflowers was what I looked forward to most.  The whole idea of being back in Bentonville, walking along the square, seeing familiar faces, and feeling at home again was the perfect feeling. I never appreciated it this much until now.  I’ve made a video of what home is to me. Years from now, I hope to be able to feel the same way about Bentonville, AR even after my passport has a couple more stamps on it.

Fayetteville, AR | First house

Although, Bentonville may appear to be home, but right now my name is on the lease for W Sligo St in Fayetteville, AR. I’ve moved into my first house with three of my best friends. One of who just got back from studying abroad in Italy. Check out her experience here http://www.taylortakestheworld.weebly.com. It’s weird to think of this as home now.  Going to school full time and working at Lewis and Clark Outfitters, I will not only be able to pay for bills and school, but save up for my next trip! May that be a semester in Qatar, or WWoofing in Ireland. We’ll just have to see.

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