A year or so ago, I heard from a customer who had purchased 3 pairs of my earrings at an arts and crafts show. She wanted to know if I'd happened to have found those earrings in my inventory. I hadn't, but was horrified to hear she'd lost them. Where was my responsibility in this? It was a collective and I hadn't been the one to handle the actual sale - she'd bought these pieces with some other things like pottery, and a fellow artisan had sold them to her. And put them in the bag.
I responded to her in a way that felt appropriate on the surface, although truly I'd had lingering wishes that I'd been able to do more. Should I have made her more earrings? Offered her something for free? I didn't, in the end, and eventually I let it go. (Which regular readers know, by now, takes me longer than some.)
Fast forward to now. I encountered this former customer and she said "I have to tell you something!" Seems she'd been doing some serious cleaning recently. While working in a closet, she'd opened a bag or box of shopping bags. For whatever reason she had need to open one of the bags. Guess what she found???
By now I'd completely forgotten about the incident, but you may be assured that when she started the conversation, the old guilt immediately flared for a moment. I wondered, once more, even if for a fleeting moment, if I should have done more back then. Then she told me how she'd found the earrings, and the whole tone of my mood changed. What are the odds? Truly I don't know, and I also don't know if I should have made her some sort of offer back then - perhaps a discount on additional pieces, or something. Seeing as how she'd purchased several. Whatever the answer, I'm really, really glad she found them now. What a treat for her! And a relief, too...for me.