Tis The Season To Be ANGRY
I was doing some last minute Christmas shopping on Wednesday before grabbing some delicious Jimmy Johns, in the hopes of being able to save myself the headache of doing any sort of non-essential shopping between now and Christmas day. I didn’t manage to get everything I had hoped for, but I am happy to say that it was a surprisingly pleasant outing. Barely anything to complain about on the commute, and not a single issue to speak of in the stores. So why bring this up?
In both Target and Jimmy Johns, I did my normal “thank you so much” upon departure. I placed my food order by beginning with “can I please get.” I smiled. I said “Merry Christmas.” I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary (this is my typical behavior when out in the world, minus the Merry Christmas) and yet the cashier at Target and the two Jimmy Johns employees both seems genuinely shocked by my behavior. Especially the woman at Target, who looked at me as if I was an angel who had just given her a million dollars. It made me feel great and sad all at the same time.
I’ve worked retail; running the register, managing dressing rooms, straightening racks, dealing with returns, and more. I’ve waited tables; smiling when I want to snap at a rude patron, cleaning up ketchup art from an unruly child, running food and grabbing condiments like a whirlwind, and finding myself in the weeds far too often. I’ve worked in other places where I am the first and/or last person a customer sees, which very often means I am the bad guy if they have any kind of problem. As a result, I’ve been yelled at, had things thrown at me, been talked down to as if I’m a nobody, and made to feel like I’m two inches tall. It’s horrible.
The people I encountered on Wednesday should not have been surprised by what I consider to be standard behavior. But I do understand why they were thrown off. Too often, I go out to order food (restaurant or fast food) and hear people say “I want” or “gimme” when ordering, then don’t even mumble a thanks when the food is ready. I see cashiers berated when a sale item rings up wrong, right before having cash slapped onto the counter rather than handed to them. I see the dejected look on the faces of employees as they watch a rude customer destroy the display they just worked so hard to straighten up. I see servers cringe at the crucial moment they realize that the table they’ve been busting tail for is not going to leave them a dime for a tip. Without any effort at all, I can find a rude and terrible person wherever I go.
The bad behavior gets worse around Christmas, without fail. While in Target, I watched the clerk in the electronics section sorrowfully inform a woman that they were indeed out of stock of a certain game, only to have the woman snap back “well, you better call the store in XXXX and find it!” And because the customer is always
an asshole right, he gave her a weak smile and got on the phone to call the other location. Totally unnecessary! An equal amount of effort could have been expended by that insufferable wench by simply asking “do you mind calling the store in XXXX and checking?” But because the holidays are stressful and she was likely running around like crazy looking for the game, she let her frustrations out on someone who damn sure didn’t deserve it.
I suspect that many of you will be out this weekend, trying to cram in some last minute shopping before the 25th peeks its head around the corner. In spite of my efforts, I’ll likely be right out there with you. Considering my road rage, my intolerance for rude people, my tendency to be quickly annoyed by people who don’t move at my pace, and the fact that I’m slightly crazy, I’m going to want to cuss out half the people I see (if not more). But I won’t. I won’t tell anyone to move their ass so I can get down the aisle they’re blocking, I won’t tell the gaggle of cackling women to shut the hell up, and I damn sure won’t cuss out the poor cashier who is getting paid far too little to be dealing with so much nonsense.
Starting now, I ask you all to make a little promise to yourselves. Don’t take out your crappy day, your personal issues, or someone else’s mistake on a person who is just trying to do their job and get you moving on to your next destination. Your server doesn’t need to be yelled at because the restaurant wait puts you behind in your shopping schedule. Your cashier didn’t write the return policy and doesn’t deserve to be the target of your wrath. No one in the mall caused you to have a crap day at work. It takes virtually zero effort to slap a smile on and remember basic manners, so just DO IT!
You know what feels endlessly better than letting out a bit of anger on a stranger? The knowledge that something you did turned someone’s entire day around. I can recall many horrible days waiting tables and/or bartending that were made wonderful by a sweet person/party who either tipped well or treated me like an equal (or both). I always remembered the retail customers who made eye contact, smiled, and thanked me for assisting them. Those gems completely outshone the piles of horse dung that I’d come across, and I’m grateful for them to this day because they remind me that good people do exist. Be one of those good people. It’s the holiday season, so make it merrier while you’re out and about, and then carry it over into 2014. People will thank you, even if you never hear them say it.
Posted on December 20, 2013, in Family, Fun!, Life and tagged awful, christmas, customers, holiday, jimmy johns, manners, retail, rude, server, shopping, target, thank you, waiting tables. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.