In which I lose my temper at the vitamin guy

I very much lost my temper this weekend when I went to purchase vitamins.

I normally purchase vitamins at my local health food store.  I find their staff to be knowledgeable, friendly, and sympathetic.  They’ve never tried to upsell me on anything.  They simply ask me what I’m looking for, gently inquire about my needs to make sure they direct me to the correct product, and make a recommendation based on that.  They’re also a local business, which I prefer to support over a chain any day.

Unfortunately, they’re closed on Sundays, which meant I found myself yesterday in a big, chain vitamin shop trying to find my vitamin.  I asked an employee to direct me to the New Chapter vitamins, and he obliged, but as I bent down to get the one I need, he became excited and grabbed another bottle off the shelf and asked if I’d tried this other brand.  He went on for a few moments about how wonderful it was.  It was weird how excited he became.   Like a switch flipped or something.

I let him wind down, and then thanked him, but declined.  I explained that the New Chapter vitamins do not seem to make me ill at this time and with my precarious health.  I’m not interested in experimenting with another brand or even another vitamin from the same company!  This one works for me, and at this point, I need to maintain the balance of what is successful.  I don’t even take their prenatal (which I know is a very good one) because it may be different enough to send me over the edge.  I like this vitamin because it is easy to digest and doesn’t make me ill.  Also, because the contents are sourced from food, it has a high bioavailability so I know I am absorbing most of what’s listed on the back of the bottle.

His switch flipped on again, and he began to tell me about some book written by Dr. So-and-So, MD, PhD about how nausea in pregnant women is caused by zinc and B6 deficiency and how I should start taking zinc and B6.   He went on and on about zinc and how pregnant women need to take more zinc.

“Well, gaaaaaaawlleeee!  Whah didn’t Ah think about thayut!  Ah’m so stewpid.  Hurhurhur.”  (No, I didn’t actually say that!)

I did however, point out that I had, in fact, been taking plenty of coenzymated B6 thankyouverymuch.  Just under what’s believed to cause permanent nerve damage to be precise.  And guess what?  It magically didn’t work!  Do you know why?  Because I don’t have regular pregnancy nausea.  As I told him a moment ago, I have hyperemesis.  At this point I pushed up me sleeves and started showing him my scars.  “See this one?  This was my first PICC line.  It failed because my veins were shredded.  See this other one?  This was the second attempt at the PICC.  Also failed.”  Then I pulled out my pump.  “Do you know what this is?  This is a drug pump that I have to wear day and night so I get a steady flow of the medicine that allows me to be out of the house and functioning.  I don’t think a zinc tablet was going to help me.”

You will be proud.  I managed to keep a friendly tone and a smile on throughout the conversation despite the fact that I wanted to take that bottle of horse-sized pills and cram it up his read end.  When I got to the car, I lost it.  My poor husband had to listen to me rant all the way home.

Seriously, though, do people think before they open their pie-hole?  This guy was so intent to lecture me on nutrition, when in all honesty, he’s got no clue what my situation is.  Here’s how that conversation should have gone if he had a clue about salesmanship and customer service:

  • Me: “Can you please direct me to the New Chapter multivitamins?”
  • Him: “Yes, absolutely.  Here they are.  Was there a specific one you were looking for?  Let me bend down and get it for you so you don’t have to crouch.”
  • Me: “Thanks so much.  That’s exactly what I wanted.”
  • Him: “Happy to help.  If you don’t mind me asking, what is it about this vitamin that works so well for you?”  (see, this is an opening to find out what the customer’s needs might be)
  • Me: “Well, I like [characteristic 1], [characteristic 2], [characteristic 3].”
  • Him:  “I’m glad to hear that, and that is a very good choice to meet those characteristics.  I wonder though, I have [another vitamin] that shares those characteristics, but with the additional benefit of [random benefit].  Would that be something that would interest you?”  (and here we gently go for the upsell)
  • Me: “No, I think at this time, for health reasons, I need to stick with this vitamin that is familiar to me.”
  • Him: “That’s completely understandable, and you have made a great choice in selecting a very high quality vitamin.  Was there anything else I can help you locate today?”

See the difference there?  Now the above is good customer service and good salesmanship.  What he pulled with me was pedantic and rude.

I don’t know why this dude was crying into his soup anyway.  I was getting a friggin $50 bottle of vitamins.  Sheesh.  It’s not like I was going in for Flinstones.  New Chapter is expensive.  He made a decent, easy sale.  Too bad I don’t want to go back in there because of his I’m-so-much-smarter-than-you attitude.

As an aside, can I just say this?  YAAAAAYYYY!!!!  I CAN TAKE GROWN UP VITAMINS AGAIN!  Everybody do the happy dance!

8 thoughts on “In which I lose my temper at the vitamin guy

  1. Unacceptable! Maybe you could file a complaint on their website?
    I find that I get angry when I read “tips for morning sickness” from women who go through NOTHING compared to us. Though I would never say this to them, these are some of the thoughts I get:
    “Umm, really, ginger ale? You did now there is NO ginger in there? And if I did take ginger, do you now how bad it burns when it comes up?
    Taking a walk? Fresh air will make me feel better? I wish this was true, because I sure didn’t want to know what every inch of what my toilet bowl looks like.”

    Hurray on the real vitamins! Even though you can’t always eat the best foods, you are getting good stuff with those vitamins.


  2. Mwa ha ha ha! Brilliant! Don’t those comments (ginger, etc.) drive you NUTS??

    May I ask what coenzymated B6 is, and why it is better than ye olde B6? Do you recommend it? Last time I just did B-complex, generic brand (don’t think it helped, but maybe it did).

    Absolutely spot on with your comments.


    1. So it’s my understanding, and I would be way off here, that B6 isn’t absorbed very readily into the body unless you take it with a B-complex. The issue there is, I haven’t found a B-complex on the market that has high enough levels of B6 to meet my needs. They only have very tiny amounts of it. To combat this, when taking B6 alone, you can take coenzymated B6 which has been rendered to a point that it is ready to be absorbed by the body without the need for other vitamins to help it along. I may be way off on my explanation, but that’s what I understand.


      1. I was coming on here to see if anyone commented or if you ever spoke to your doctor regarding Vitamin B-6 or 12 injections?
        And I am trying right now to research what recomended doses, I don’t want to do any damage as you say. What doses are you taking? That’s probably somewhere on the site, i’m sure.


  3. Ugh, I experience this kind of thing a lot, concerning my health issues. I’ve actually snapped at a few people: “I actually do see a doctor for this, thanks. He’s a really smart guy- he went to medical school and everything!”


  4. What did the guy say/do after you showed him your scars, after you explained that HG is NOT MS?

    I’ve found that if I take the time to explain HG and what it did to me I usually get a ya-she’s-exggerating-look, especially from men. 😦

    Good for you for keeping it together and not hitting the guy! 🙂


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