Monday, June 18, 2012

Be Nice To People. Damn It.

When I was living in Montreal, I used to drop by a shopping mall near our home about once a week during the winter months to either pick up a few things or to simply walk around and mingle with civilization. Yes, even us introverts like being amongst people.


Because I typically went during the same time on the days I visited, I ran into the same employees in the stores I shopped in. Those employees recognized me since they saw me regularly, and most of them were friendly and courteous.

But not all.


There was one woman in particular who was especially rude. But not to everyone. She decided, for whatever reason, that she didn’t like certain people and was blatantly frosty and unfriendly to them.


I was one of those chosen people. And I had no idea why. She made up her mind that she simply didn’t like me and made it a point of letting me know. At first, I thought she was this way with everyone, which would make her an all around grouchy person. Not that being grouchy while serving the public is a good thing, but at least she’d be fair with everyone.


But that wasn’t the case, I realized soon enough. One day, while waiting in line, I watched her being reasonably polite to the customer in front of me. She even smiled, which she didn’t seem to do very often. When my turn came up, I greeted her in a friendly manner, and she simply ignored me. She scanned my items, told me what I owed, took my money, gave me change and pushed my bagged items toward me. She never once made eye contact with me.


Perhaps, I told myself that day, it was an isolated incident. But no. She was this way with me all the time. At first, this upset me. I had never done anything to this woman and couldn’t figure out for the life of me why she was being so deliberately rude and bitter towards me. It troubled me so much initially that I didn’t go into the store at all when she was the only cashier available.


That feeling didn’t last long, though. Eventually, I became annoyed. I came to the realization that this wasn’t about me, it was about her. Whatever her problem was, it was her problem, and I wasn’t going to allow her bad attitude to upset me or disrupt my day. If she wanted to be a miserable, grumpy individual, why should I care? I would continue to go about my day in my usual cheerful, friendly manner – and simply ignore her.


So I returned to visiting this store regularly, and made it a point of heading for her cash whether or not other cashiers were available. I no longer cared about her attitude. I waited quietly while she scanned my items, paid for them and left. No smile. No eye contact. No thank you. No nothing. And I was okay with that. And whether or not she liked my sudden aloofness didn’t concern me.


So I have become thick-skinned over time with these types of individuals. But I’m going to tell these folks once more what I think about all this:

~~~~~~~~~~

Dear rude/obnoxious/grouchy/miserable person working in customer service,

If you’re going to serve people, leave your opinions, problems and negative attitude at home. Customers are not in the mood to deal with that, and you have no right (or acceptable reason) to impose your bad attitude on anyone simply because you have something up your *behind* - temporarily or permanently.

Be nice to people. Damn it. It’s so easy to do. And if you can’t, stay away from customer service and do something else for a living.


~~~~~~~~~~

What in the world are these people so angry and bitter about, anyway?

20 comments:

  1. Good for you that you refused to let her attitude intimidate you. In my supermarket there is a cashier/till operator who is a bit grumpy. Lots of people avoid her for this reason and her queue is always the shortest. I always chose her to save time and for some reason she always blurts out her moan of the day to me while I'm packing my stuff. I nod sympathetically , she gets it off her chest and I get served quickly! Strange, but we do this on a regular basis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha...I love it, Kitten. It looks like you've worked out a system that works for both of you. Smart kitty, you are.

      Delete
  2. "People iz nutz." As good an explanation as any, LOL!

    I love that brick silo with the little brick lean-to's -- did you take that photo near Kingston? It doesn't look like typical Canadian farm architecture . . . ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha...yes, "people iz nutz"! That photo is in Kingston, and it's one of the towers built in the 1800s for the protection from invaders of the north shore of Lake Ontario. I plan to visit some of the tourist places at some point, and I'll share more photos.

      Delete
  3. I grew up with a person just like that. It's very unsettling because you always wonder what's wrong with you that they dislike you so intensely. This person was my mother and whenever we went shopping, to a restaurant, doing errands or whatever, I was always embarrassed for the way she treated (and still does) people. It took much too long for me to decide to work on ignoring this attitude. I love your last line!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's pretty intense, Cathy. That must have been very hard to deal with and learn to ignore. I don't know why people behave this way. I could never do it.

      Delete
  4. WHo knows what her problem is/was. But it's good that you figured out that it's her issue, not yours. It's just not worht the time /effort to figure out what some people's problems are. All we can really do is be kind as often as we can and just let that be that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some people are just like that. Not everyone is warm and fuzzy! HA ha...

      Delete
  5. Cool pics - Kingston is a photographer's paradise :)

    As far as customer service reps go, it's got to be a tough job dealing with the public - but still no excuse to be blatantly rude to whomever you take a dislike to. The way I look at it is: "wherever you go, you take yourself with you".... the person I feel sorry for is her, lol - she is the one that has to live with herself & the stinking thinking that goes on in that pea-brain!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure is a photographer's paradise. I hope to get out a lot this summer to snap more photos.

      Customer service is a tought job, and I've certainly done it, but it's important to separate your private life from your job. If you're having a bad day, it's not the customer's fault, and they certainly don't deserve that type of treatment.

      Delete
  6. O dear, I can totally sympathise with you on this.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I understand how you feel, as an extremely private introvert myself, I have also had this type of experience. I often wondered if I was sending out some unconscious signal to these people? Now that I am older and wiser, I just say "What the Heck, it is Their problem, not mine!" After college, I took assertiveness training courses (with a friend) too shy to go alone! It helped a lot and I went on to work with the public quite a bit in the retail, newspaper, hotel and airline industries. One of the things I enjoyed most was turning a screaming crazy customer into a happy and almost apologetic one. There is no excuse for that clerks unkind behavior!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is smart! Being able to calm down an angry customer takes real effort and patience. I often had to do that. But it still doesn't excuse their behaviour. I once had a customer shrieking at me on the phone to the point that I was developing a headache. Finally, I said to him "If you don't stop yelling at me, I'm going to hang up. And I will not deal with your problem until your calm, so don't calm back until then." He got the message and settled down. Still, it was very disturbing being treated like that.

      Delete
  8. Hrray for you!! You took her power away! I'd like to keep a copy of your letter in my wallet and fish it out whever I encounter people like this (most recent at Shoppers Drug mart last week). And how interesting to see the pictures you chose! The black car was beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're probably right, Francie; I did take her power away. She probably disliked me that much more since she couldn't get rid of me...ha ha... That black cat is mine. Her name is Nacho. She looks mean in the photo, but she's a sweetie.

      Delete
  9. Why in the world would anyone be rude to YOU, of all people? (Now, someone as grouchy as ME, I could understand!)
    I have stopped trying to understand people, it wastes too much time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha...that is sweet, Kay! But I meet my fair share of rude people, unfortunately. Yes, no point in trying to understand people. Just ignore them and enjoy your day.

      Delete
  10. I meet 'those' people everyday too. Their lives are probably upsidedown! But that is no reason just an excuse. I go to management and tell them....I really do. That way there is hopefully a lesson for that person to learn, one which management is NOT EXPECTING from them. It can be very frustrating Martha.
    Now for the photos here! LOVE the cat, reminds me of my former cat Polo who followed me everywhere.
    Then the bird!~ WHat a good shot! The classes are really working for you I see. Nice work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would imagine that they're quite unhappy and angry, Jim. People who are at peace don't tend to behave this way. It's rare I'll complain, but I also have reached that point. It depends on the situation.

      The classes have introduced me to quite a few new things that I'm practicing. I hope to learn more as I go along. In the meantime, I'm having a great time.

      Delete