I had an interesting experience at my local upscale supermarket.

They carry a brand of iced tea that I like (Honest Tea, Lori’s Lemon flavor) and I had called in advance to see if they had a case.

They said they did.

By the time I got to the store, they didn’t.

Actually, it was nowhere to be found, and the person at the customer service desk said she simply couldn’t believe they didn’t have that flavor. So she called someone to help me look. 

That employee went to check a display, which had a “SALE” sign on it. He couldn’t find the flavor I wanted, and he said, “When you go to customer service, make sure they give you the sale price when you order the case.”

He was a wise man.

When I got to customer service, they STILL couldn’t believe they were sold out of ol’ Lori’s Lemon, so they asked another store employee to check the same display.

This is kind of like losing your keys but checking the same empty pocket over and over again.

That employee (we’ll call him “Shemp”) couldn’t find any Lori’s Lemon either, and as we were walking back to customer service, he said, “By the way, that’s no longer on sale.”

I said, “But I just saw the sign.”

Shemp said, “Yeah, man, the other employee took the sign away because that sale ended yesterday. Sorry.”

I stood there for a moment with my mouth open. He stared at me blankly. I said, “I’ll get it somewhere else,” and I walked out.

Still in somewhat of a state of disbelief, I contacted the store manager when I got back to my office.

She assured me there must be some misunderstanding. In fact, she said, they looked for me to assure me (after assuring me of the exact opposite) that the sale price would be honored.

When I came back, Shemp walked over and said, “Hey, man, you walked out before I had a chance to tell you that we would honor the sale price.”

I said, “I left because you told me that you would not honor the sale price.”

Then Shemp said the two words that killed my loyalty to this store:

“You misunderstood.”


I misunderstood the phrase “that sale ended yesterday”?

I didn’t think there was anything ambiguous in what he said. 

He began talking to me sympathetically, the way you talk to poor old Uncle Harry when he stuffs pancakes into his suit jacket pockets at the buffet and thinks he’s in his own kitchen.

Although they gave me a “rain check,” they made me feel so bad over the experience that I decided to get my Lori’s Lemon Honest Tea somewhere else.

Ironic product name given how the store treated me.