I’m not sure if it’s by coincidence or because I’m spending more time listening, but I’ve noticed more people sharing with me how they lost a lot during the 2008-2010 financial crisis, and how they’re doing everything possible to get back on track.
I was at Bed, Bath & Beyond the other day when I met a sales clerk in the home decor section. He was probably around 65-70 years old with withered skin and dark patches all over his arms and head. He looked quite ill and smelled like he had been hitting the bottle the night before. His name was “Bob” and he was full of smiles as he sought to help me find the perfect barstool.
I selected a set of four handsome barstools from the choices he showed me for my kitchen. I didn’t have the famous 20% off coupon BBB sends in the mail, but Bob gave me a wink and told me, “I got you, don’t worry.”
He asked me whether I had recently bought a new home, and I told him that I did. “I finally found that room with a view I’ve been searching for all this time,” I replied.
“I used to have a view, but then I lost my business of 20 years and then I lost my partner. It was just me in this old house for a couple years until I realized I could no longer afford the rent, so I moved. I have a small place now with the view of the street and another apartment’s window, but it will do,” Bob lamented.
I gave Bob my condolences and tried to cheer him up by continuing on the conversation, “Hopefully your new place is comfortable and at least much cheaper yeah?”
“Oh, yes, much cheaper,” Bob responded with a smile. “I miss the view, but I’m just thankful to have found an affordable place to live in the city.”
To lose money is one thing. I did that spectacularly well during the downturn. To lose love and money at the same time is unbearable.
But Bob showed an incredibly positive attitude during our time together, and he made me a very happy customer that evening. I even ended up doing some research on BBB and bought some of their stock. Fingers crossed their debt offering will help their financials and they can compete effectively with the likes of Amazon and other online retailers.
Maybe all Bob wanted was for someone to listen to his sorrows. Unless we die first, we might also one day end up alone.