Monday, November 17, 2008


One day an elderly woman came into the gift shop to buy a music box. She was very particular about what she had in mind. We had over a hundred music boxes in a price range from $20 to $450 dollars. Some were animated,some were in water globes,some had sweet tinkly voices and other of the German and Swiss made were beautifully finished with perfectly tuned voices.

I had shown her just about every music box in the store. She said ,"No,not that one,No, not,that one is too expensive,that one doesn't sound right."

Finally, she narrowed it down to three music boxes all in the $25 price range. One played ,"What the World needs Now", the second played "You are the wind beneath my wings", the third played "Whatever will be, will be".

In trying to make her decision the woman seemed to be listen intently to each one. She said,
"I just can't hear it, I can't recognize that tune. Can you sing it for me?" I looked around to see if this was a apparently wasn't. So I began singing with the music box with it being a soprano and me being a alto.

The other clerks seeing or listening to my plight came over and they joined in the singing as we played the different music boxes or they hummed a little bit. We sounded like a group of wounded bumble bees.

People are coming and going,the cash register is making its noise. We were still humming and singing. Other clerks were leaving to help customers. I was now left alone humming from one tune to another.

The woman said,"I think I want to move to the front of the store, I will choose one of those over there." We moved to the front of the store and she Still can't make up her mind.

A good customer was in the store shopping and she was smiling broadly and was about to leave and the woman touched her on the sleeve and said,"Can you sing, I can't seem to hear these tunes to well, I think her voice is too low."

The customer being the good sport that she is said,"Well my husband doesn't think I can sing at all and if she buys it because of my singing I'm going right home and tell him!"

She sang, "What the world needs now is love sweet love,la,de, da,hum,hum,and then "You are the wind Beneath Wings. I thanked the customer and she left the store still smiling.

After an hour and a half in our store she settled on the sweet little tinkly voice that played "You are the Wind Beneath My Wings." End of story? Not quite!

The next morning the same woman returned and said: "Well, I could lie to you but I won't. I went to the Mall and I found a music box I like better and I bought it."

I playfully said, to her,"You mean after all of us sang and hummed to for an hour, you bought one with a different song and you bought it at the Mall?"

"Well,yes,yes, I did--it plays Amazing Grace" and I recognized the tune the first time because
I think it is the only song I really know!!!"

My boss negotiated the woman refund. I was with my back to the music box customer. I could feel her presence behind me and I heard a monotone: "Hum,hum,hum,hum,la, de, da, da," I turned around. She was responding to my playfulness with her. She smiled and said, "I didn't want you to think I didn't appreciate your humming, and singing to me." And she walked out of the store humming that monotone hum, that was only recognizable to her.

I guess if you are tone deaf---maybe "Amazing Grace" is a good song to know.

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