I don't normally do a ton of holiday shopping, and this year I received a gentle reminder of why I don't when a quick stop at the store turned into a customer service nightmare.

Okay, so maybe the term nightmare is a little overly dramatic, but at the time it felt like I was lost in the twilight zone. Here's how my unpleasant experience unfolded.

After purchasing a couple of toys at a local store, I noticed I had been charged twice for one of the toys. It was about $15.

Before leaving the store, I returned to the cashier who made the mistake and brought it to her attention. She advised me that I would need to go to customer service to fix the mistake. No problem.

A solitary lady was at the customer service counter and so I took my place in line behind her. That is exactly where I stood for the next 45 minutes.

This individual had placed a good-sized box on the counter filled with merchandise, which apparently had been purchased earlier but was now being returned.There must have been a half-dozen or more different receipts the clerk had to try and reconcile with the merchandise that was being returned.

Finally, after 45 minutes of waiting,  it happened. The very last item was removed from the box, a refund given,  the lady non-chalantly walked away and it was my turn to enjoy some customer service. Exactly how long she had been there before I got in line I couldn't be sure.

All I knew was that what looked like it would be a quick five minute stop at the store became a one-hour stop on a day that already didn't seem to have enough time in it.

I have to give the store clerk a lot of credit. Although I wish that he would have maybe alternated this lady's return receipts with other customer's needs, the young man was calm, cool, and as cordial as one could possibly expect him to be. When we reached our turn, we complimented him on his controlled demeanor.

As I left the store, I may have been overheard to say, 'thank you, Lord, for not making me work in the retail nightmare called customer service." A wave of compassion swept over me for all the folks who would be dealing with a flood of returns and exchanges over the next 10 days.

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