So there I was. The chief and only salesperson in a lovely furniture store. A charming couple came in looking for new furniture for their recently renovated home. I congratulated her on the (it was so obvious) upcoming birth of their child … and she said, “Don, I really do need to go on a diet.”
I thought I would die of embarrassment. All my attempts at apology just made things worse.
The most humiliating part of the experience — a cautionary tale for anyone who might ever find themselves in a similar situation — was that these were such sweet, non-judgmental people. They bought thousands of dollars of furniture. I worked on commission, so this was a paycheck for me. They apparently didn’t hold it against me.
But I held it against me. I still do. It was awful. It happened more than 29 years ago and I still feel bad about it. It was right before Garry and I got married and it was one of the hardest admissions I’ve ever made to him. I felt like a complete jack-ass and remarkably, still do.
To this day, I remain wary of making assumptions based on something I think is obvious. Because in this case, it was obviously wrong. Never assume you know something unless you are sure you know it.
Appearances can be deceiving.