Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Cringe Worthy Day

For the folks who have been reading the nonsense I spew since I started this blog  you've become accustomed to the the posts featuring the Worthless Co-Worker. Hopefully they've entertained you, at least in the way most people would view an automobile accident scene as they drive by. (You know it isn't going to be pretty, but you have to look anyway.)

While she's mainly a mild irritant, and somewhat amusing sideshow for me, she can send the boss into orbit with her antics and stupidity. I just roll with the soap opera. Plus he ultimately is the one responsible here. He hired her, trained her, and has refused to hold her responsible for her actions at work. She's his nightmarish creation so to speak.

But this post isn't about her. (Well, not any more, unless the keyboard gets away from me.)

I have days that I'm sure I irritate the boss as well. The funny thing is he'd never admit this though. He's twelve years younger than I am. He was raised to respect his elders and that seems to extend to me. When he has a problem with me he's the most rational, polite, and deferring person I've ever met in my life. He has this weird, and definitely unfounded, fear of me for some reason. And he shouldn't. I've told him many, many times to speak his mind. He knows I appreciate the direct approach and straight talk.

(Hell, I'm not physically imposing, I'm rational, fair-minded, and too damn old to get excited about this kind of thing anyway.)

But I can tell when he's not overly pleased with something I've done. He cringes. His cringes are Oscar worthy performances. Friday produced such an event.

Friday's Cringe Worthy Event:

This guy walks into the store and glances around, sees me as I'm approaching him, and the following conversation takes place:
Guy: Where can I find (a competitor's store/product?)
Me: Excuse me?
Guy: I looked in the phone book to find (your competitor's store) and have been driving around this area for 45 minutes and can't find them. I knew where you were located so I thought I'd stop in since I figured you know where they'd be located.
Me: I do know where they're located, but since your here, would you like to check out our product, at least for comparison purposes?
Guy: Look fella, I don't have time for games, I've already wasted enough of my time as it is. Can you just please tell me where they're located?
Me: Well, sir, I'm certainly pleased you saw fit to come in here and waste my time.


Guy: What did you say?
Me: Let me get you on your way. I have the feeling you're the type of guy who'd stop at a Ford dealership and ask them where you could buy a Chevy.
Guy: Why would I do that asshole?
Me: Never mind, apparently this conversation has reached a point well above your level of perception, here's the directions....... and have a great day.
Guy: Thanks for nothing jerk.
Me: You too, sir.

My tolerance for what I perceive as disrespect is close to zero. Many people like to share "horror" stories about how they were mistreated by a retail or customer service person or department. It happens, there's no doubt about it, and it's not right. But unless you've worked retail, or customer service, you are clueless about the abuse shelled out by customers. Unwarranted abuse and mistreatment of retail and customer service people by customers is a far greater occurrence.

So the boss cringes, shakes his head, somewhat sadly, and the day moves forward.

But I do have a question for anyone who wants to answer. (And no, it's not whether you agreed or disagreed with my actions.) It's actually about your perception of people who work in the retail, restaurant, or any type of service sector. While this question doesn't necessarily apply to you, do you feel as though (in general) people look down upon people who work in these jobs and feel a certain right, or superiority to them, that allows them to treat them with less respect? I certainly have days where I think this is the case.


Laura H said...

100% yes, they do.
I make a lot of judgments about a persons character based on the way they treat people in customer services roles.
My absolute *favorite* is the people who wont even speak to cashiers. ya know, because apparently being a human being is not enough for them.

BeMistified said...

Alright, well I never worked directly with public, but I was a customer service rep on the other end of the phone.

I was the one that could set up service for people on their appliances or televisions, with the best damn service provider or the worst, never clean up after themselves when they walked grease all through your house, service provider.

People do not realize what powers we as customer service slaves have.

There are very very cruel people out there, and personally, I don't put up with their shit either. =D

Mustang Sally said...

I've waited tables and did customer service most of my life, you can't work in the field and NOT see it.

It get proportionally worse the more wealthy the customer is, not that there aren't exceptions, but it's definitely the rule.

And I don't even want to hear that "the customer is always right" crap. It's much more likely the customer is a butthole.

Jane said...

Ah! Does not suffer fools easily. I like!


Just Plain Tired said...

Laura H -- Same here. When I eat out I usually tip very high, knowing the crap a waitress/waiter puts up with other people.

BeMistified -- I could see myself doing the same exact thing to certain people. ;)

Mustang Sally -- The more money, the more you see this type of behavior. Their sense of entitlement is astronomical at times.

Jane -- Well, if they were polite/nice fools I'd suffer them much better. ;)

ChiTown Girl said...

I LOVED this post! You go, girl!! Erp...I mean, Way to go, Tiger! (isn't that what boys say to each other?) Whatever, I loved it!

I worked in the grocery business for over 10 years. I started as a bagger and ended at store manager. I should have written a book about the crap I had to deal with!!

Since my brother and I opened our bar, I've seen another dimension of rudeness.

Like you, I always over tip when I'm out (unless I get really crappy service, which is pretty rare. Even then, I still tip the standard 15%) because I know how hard servers work and the crazy crap they have to put up with from people.

Have you ever checked out the blog on my list named Not Always Right/Funny & Stupid Customer Quotes? It's hilarious! Actually, the exchange you wrote for this post totally belongs there. Submit it now!!!! (Oops, my bossy side is showing. tee hee!) Now, seriously, GO DO IT!!

Just Plain Tired said...

ChiTown Girl -- I've heard amazing things come out of people's mouths since I started working here. I'll have to check out that link. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

Dazee Dreamer said...

I've never looked down on anyone for where they work. That is just wrong. I try to be friendly to whomever I come into contact with. I have to admit tho, some people are just mean and rotten. Of course it could be that they had a rotten customer before me. I would never ever say something to you like that rotten customer did. ONly unless the salesperson said a rude comment first. Then they better watch out. I'm all over them then.

Just Plain Tired said...

Dazee Dreamer -- Yup. If the salesperson/customer service rep is rude first then they're fair game.

Sandra said...

No, I really don't. I think the guy was just an asshole. And you certainly made him feel like an even bigger one! Hurray for you! He was ignorant and his behaviour was uncalled for. He would have been like that whether he was dealing with an employee of a retail outlet or a brain surgeon. I have to admit though, I miss the Worthless Co-Worker. I can only hope she does something stupid again soon :)
You write brilliantly. Your posts read like pages from a novel.

Just Plain Tired said...

Sandra -- I have to work with the Worthless Co-Worker today and tomorrow, so there's always hope for a post pertaining to her. ;)


you're going to make me blush and stuff. I think that's one of the nicest comments on my spewage in here. I really appreciate it.

darev2005 said...

I think I work in one of the professions that has the lowest public respect factor ever. Visitors and people on the outside have said worse things to and about me than the inmates have. I'd probably get more respect if I made my living picking up cans by the highway.

I think you handled that buttcake just right. Your boss should have commended you on your restraint. I would have pepper sprayed him and tossed his worthless carcass in the parking lot.

The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

I worked in retail a long time ago, and found the customer to be generally rude and arrogant. I agree with Sally too, the richer they are, the worse they are.
The enigmatic, masked blogger

Smart Ass Sara said...

Oy vey. I know what this feels like for sure. I do think people look down on people who are in the customer service/retail sector. Which is really unfortunate because no matter what service you use or product you are almost always dealing with a person. I work in a college book store and I absolutely love, love, LOVE my job. I actually think it's fun to hear people bitch about the price of textbooks. My favorite is when they have me pull everything they need just so they can tell me that it's cheaper online. Yup- it sure is but after you figure in shipping? Not so much idiot.

I always go out of my way to be friendly and polite to anyone helping me and I'm always the please/thank you lady because it's just common decency.

Sam said...

As a former LONG-time waitress I have indeed noticed that service workers seem to occasionally be put into the category of "here for my amusement" and also the category of "I can do/say whatever I want to this person and they will smile lovingly back at me"
I can't tell you how many customers (mainly men)have asked me INCREDIBLY personal questions while I was about the business of bringing them their breakfast. And the temptation to slap them and/or pour hot coffee in their lap was sometimes so overpowering that they just narrowly escaped third degree burns on the family jewels. Oh my I'm really rambling-Yes I do feel people in general look down upon service related jobs.

MichelleLCSW said...

I definitely think there are those turdy types who feel entitled to act however they want to folks in service industry type jobs. I generally try to be as friendly as I can (because hey - you don't shoot the messenger, and well, that whole karma thing...). I also don't TOLERATE people who treat the "front line" folks rudely. I happen to manage a clinic in a hospital, and when patients start getting snarky with my clerks, I will step right up to the window and intervene and say in my most customer-friendly but MENACING voice, "Sir, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to allow you to speak to my clerk that way. I've heard this whole exchange and she IS trying to help you. If you can't bring your tone down a few notches, I'd be happy to have you escorted out of my clinic. Now, if you'd like, we can continue to try and help you - what would you like to do?" Just to send the message that you CAN'T always act like a jackass and get your way - because life is NOT Burger King! (and as someone else mentioned - the customer ain't ALWAYS right!).

o0crystal0o said...

i waited tables for several years and can relate completely! ive been out to eat with friends and when i see anyone mistreating a server i always call them out on it. customer service is a hard job for not enough money! all day on your feet dealing with people who feel they work to hard for the little amount they make anyway so the are entitled to boss you around like they own you cos you should be happy they are blessing you with their presence and buying their product! ugh.

however on the flipside... ive had some really rude customer service ppl help me and i really go out of my way to be polite as i know what being on the other end is like. i think the younger the person the more disrespectful they seem? maybe thats being too judging.

middle child said...

Having had 16 years in retail, most as customer service, I can say that it is true there are some people who believe they we are a much lower class of people. I was able to guage a person's "type" early on and would go with that. It didn't take long for the smart ones to see me as a very intelligent person. The others just seemed to be lost in the forrest of their own lives. The only thing I wouldn't do is compromise my sense of self. I gave it right back if I had to.

Paul Nichols said...

Well, I love good customer service. Just today I went into a store and picked up some paint chip colors, knowing full well I wasn't going to buy that store's really expensive paint. The person minding the store probably figured that out right away. However, I'm now about ready to go back and pay an extra $15 a gallon Just Because I Was Graciously Given Some Terrific Service, Information, Tips and Friendliness. Who can beat that?

I was a waiter in a high $$ restaurant (but only for 17 years) and the only thing I ever knew about serving people was to serve them the way I'd like to be served. What a payday!

And now remember that when I enter a business it's because I'm there to spend some of my hard earned money. Please be aware of the idea that taking my hard earned money is helping you to take home a hard earned paycheck yourself. Good service today usually means more $$$ another day. That's only called 'respect.'

Last, have you ever considered taking the Worthless Co-Worker out for coffee or something? Maybe he/she is more worthy than you thought.

I came here from that pretty Cuban woman's blog. The one who can draw so good.

Just Plain Tired said...

darev2005 -- My Dad worked in corrections and would say the same thing.

TBKKA -- Money talks, often the most rudely.

Smart Ass Sara -- Gotta love the price comparison shopper. ;)

Sam -- Hot coffee would have been quite a wake up call for them had you done that. ;)

Michelle -- I try to remain polite and patient until the blatant disrespect pops out.

crystal -- It's pretty nice of you to step in when you see stuff like that.

middle child -- I can see that we think and act alike in this same situation. ;)

Paul Nichols -- Everyone expects good customer service, and should receive it. No argument there.

And had this person come into our store to spend his "hard earned money" instead of simply being a lost dickhead, things would have been done much differently. As a matter of fact, the spending of "hard earned money" has nothing to do with respect in this instance. The spending of money isn't a factor here. Many people come in browsing, just curious, with no intention of ever buying, and they're treated respectfully.

As far as the Worthless Co-Worker goes? Uh, no. She's been here a year and no coffee for her.

Gail said...

I totally agree. I work for the postal service and I get some doosies...daily.

Sometimes I wonder how I have lasted in this business for thirty-plus years.

Some days I just would like to be honest and say what I want to say!

Just Plain Tired said...

Gail -- I hear you. I have no problem saying what's on my mind, sometimes it's filtered a bit, but when it comes to lack of respect or rudeness I state what I'm thinking. Reasonably tactful most of the time.

MichelleLCSW said...

JPT, I just started following your blog (love it, BTW!) - and I'm trying to go back and read some of the older posts - but I have to know - does Worthless Co-Worker have the hots for you?! Bow chicka wow wow!!! (hee hee hee)

Sparkling Red said...

I was a full-time cashier for a while. I wouldn't look down on someone solely because of their job. The only sales people I will be sharp with are the ones who don't take "No" for an answer. If I say I don't want any help or conversation and you don't back off from me, prepare for an icy glare and a swift dismissal.

blueviolet said...

They absolutely without a doubt look down on people who work in the service industry, and there's no reason for it. I'm glad you didn't take his crap!

valb said...

It's been a long time since I have been a clerk, but I do work with people. I really do not think about it since I hope I treat everyone as a unique individual who deserves respect.
I think people working in stores give a service to us. They are trained to know their product. Today someone went to the back to get a product for me--offered to do it and I expressed great thanks! I was very surprised she offered and greatful.
There are people everywhere who are rude, and we do not know why. Maybe it's a bad day, they have a sick child at home, are in the middle of a divorce, are working the job when they are over-qualified and have lost their other job. We need to give grace when treated rudely, too.
Responding with silence or grace leaves the rude person nothing but their words for them to hear. (My mother's advice)

Just Plain Tired said...

MichelleLCSW -- God forbid that! I'm old enough to be her father. Plus I'm a real, fairly normal person, she goes for the internet creepy types. ;)

Sparkling Red -- That seems fair to me. ;)

blueviolet -- Thanks! I'm glad I didn't take the guy's crap either. ;)

valb -- That's a great outlook and advice. :)

Mommylebron said...

I do notice that a lot of people tend to look down on people working in the service sector. It's sad really. My mom was a waitress when I was little, then sold women's shoes. She always worked so hard and I hope she was never treated so bad while trying to provide for her family! And by the way, I totally laughed out load at your little scenario! Good for you!

The Empress said...

I'm a caterer, and there are days where I have to pitch in if a server doesn't show up.

People talk down to me when they see me fill their water glass.

I was doing so at a wedding where I had been up till 1 am preparing their entree. We were short when a server had to pulled off the floor and help in the back. I was serving a meal, and being snotted over by a very rude woman. The woman was very rude to me, and I heard her mention, "this caterer is fabulous. This is the best vegetarian wedding meal I've ever had. All of this city is talking about her..she is so talented." I said, "thank you." she looked up. I again, said, "thank you. I'm so glad you like my tomato pie. I was up until after midnight preparing it, so I'm happy to hear you're pleased."

She turned 50 shades of red.

You have to be nice, people, b/c we all share the same planet.


Mrs Midnite said...

I don't look down on people who work in shop, restaurants etc. My job is customer service basically just our customers are large businesses not the public. When I get bad service in shops I always compare it to how I treat my customers. We do the same job and I don't look down on myself. I do get very bannoyed by bad service though.