Melinda had worked feverishly to make a go of her small antique business. With plenty of determination and sweat equity, she’d managed to build a nice little business and decent lifestyle. In fact, the workload had become so heavy she’d hired Amelia Forsythe over a year ago and hadn’t looked back since. She considered it one of her greatest gifts that they’d become fast and close friends understood one another completely – sisters of another mother – sort of thing.

At twenty-eight, Melinda McDay was a fun-loving warm-hearted individual. Truth was, people either loved or hated her immediately. There didn’t seem to be two camps of thought. Those that made the effort and got to know her, adored her.

It wasn’t until she’d nearly lost a valuable sale, was at her wit’s end and asked Melinda to step in that the sale was saved. Afterward, she sat down with a cup of coffee and biscuit Amelia alongside her, that she sighed heavily and asked, “What’s wrong with me, Amelia, what is it? What am I not seeing? Tell me!” Looking sideways at her dearest friend, she said, “Seriously!”

“Nothing! There’s nothing at all wrong with you.” She smiled warmly, “It’s just that you come across as haughty sometimes. I know you don’t mean to, but unfortunately, you do.”

“What?” Melinda remarked shocked.

“Sorry, but you do. You know your products so well, pointing at a sideboard she remarked – you know without a question of a doubt, the time date and year it rolled out of the shop, who made it and its history of ownership. That is admirable and appreciated by those wishing to buy. The problem is, you tend to look down your nose at those who don’t have a clue and either snap at them or speak down to them in an almost holier-than though manner that leaves them ‘smarting’. I don’t think you realize you’re doing it, but the tone in your voice and look on your face well, it’s a bit off-putting to be blunt.”

“Those of us that know you well, know you are quite the opposite – kind, warm, loving, caring, giving…but unfortunately that’s not always the image you portrait and it gets to people.”

Stunned into abject silence, she stared at her friend in utter disbelief. She sat and quietly absorbed what she’d heard. “Really, its astonishment on my part that they are looking and not understanding the value of the pieces they are contemplating buying. I’m trying to impress upon them the need to take care of such historic items. It kills me to see something special going into a home that will no doubt abuse it.”

“Understandable,” Amelia remarked. “Perhaps we could work on your mode of delivery. Change up the words and smile, just smile, no matter the level of their knowledge. Here, why not practice on me.” Standing she walked to a mid-century piece and pretending to be a customer said, “Miss, I’m interested in this piece. What can you tell me about it?”

As usual, she began with a preponderance of knowledge and Amelia stopped her, “That’s great, but it’s too much information to absorb. Can you condense it a little to century or date or remark on the type of wood and the country it came from and remember to smile!”

Melinda tried again and carefully chose her words before responding. “Better, much better, I’d buy that in a heartbeat! You sold me!”

Melinda smiled warmly. “Ok, then what I need to do is practice.”

Amelia returned her smile, “That’s great, just don’t practise until it becomes stale and you sound like you’ve said it a million times because that will lead us right back to where we were.”

Turning to face Amelia she raised her hand in the air, “High Five! I’ve got this. Thank you. Thank you very much. I appreciate your honesty.”

“Any time my friend.”

“It’s a great business and your a wonderful woman. You just need a little tweaking.”

Melinda hip-bumped her, “Tweaking my patooty!” Then smiling said, “Imagine that! A refurbishing like my beautiful furniture. I can get behind that!”

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