Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bad Employee, Good Person?

I'd like to take an aside for a moment between my constant ranting and complain to actually point out that besides being a bad employee, hating my job, doing everything possible to make my store lose money, to point out that I am in fact a good person. Yes, underneath this bitter ego I project I actually have a human aspect to my work, and not the serial killer type.

Now, when I go to work and haven't show up late or encountered some dummy manager for a pep talk about something that I have to feign interest and attention in I go about a normal day of work. That's when the slide slowly begins. I enter the store completely fresh, clock in, throw on my stupid shirt, turn on my electric leach (aka walkie-talkie) and enter onto the sales floor. Then it starts.

Talking to the five year old translating for their 50 year old immigrant father, the person who expects me to be their personal shopper, the person who can't understand why the last day of the week long sale that "Awesome Deal" is sold out one hour before the store closes, and the incredibly rude person who gets "offended" when I actually show some personal pride by snapping back at their own rude comments. All of this slowly accumulates over the period of a four to seven hour shift into me being a beast by the end of things.

However! I can be rocked out of this by a simple "please" or "Excuse me, could you help me?" in a non-confrontational and genuine tone. I will stay with this customer for an hour if I need to in order to make sure they get what they need. I will tell other customers to "Go away" and bluntly "I'm busy" so this person gets what they need from me. I may be a bad employee and asshole but for the moment I'm their asshole. Common courtesy and respect is so bereft in the retail "industry" that whenever it comes along its like a shining point in my day.

The other night I literally came across a hunch-backed woman. She could hardly look at the items on the shelf above my waist and don't even think about lifting the actual items into her stroller/walker. This woman I could tell gets laughed at, ignored, and mistreated everyday by the world that when she asked me for help I dropped everything at a moments noticed and made sure she got everything she wanted. It was even ten minutes before closing and I helped her well fifteen minutes after close. I was literally running across the store to get her what she needed and not because I wanted her to leave. But because I genuinely wanted to help her.

Unfortunately, this is the vast minority of my work and the bulk is dealing with self-entitled assholes who are so self centered that they forget what it is to be human. The assumption is that cash will smooth over anything. And for most people it does, but for me its not the end-all-be-all. Yes, I do have my own bills, and I do like to have extra cash. But it usually goes to something silly like buying spiderman kites to fly on a bored day, or some XBOX game to kill time. But I don't aspire to be the monopoly guy any time soon.

The worst part is that somedays I find myself so devoid of emotion and energy that I can't even muster the tears to cry. I hate my job and I find myself hating people. I'm just glad that in these small moments I can still preserve what's left of my humanity.

13 comments:

  1. It's good to help people when they deserve it :D.

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  2. It's surprising how many people don't get what a simple 'please' and 'thank you' means, especially to those of us in customer service.

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  3. Statistically, people are ass-holes in any field of endeavor: being in retail just gives you more turnover and hence a larger sample size.

    The Law of Large Numbers.

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  4. Retail jobs are awesome. I'd pay to have your job.

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  5. Statistically, doing one good deed entitles you to do five bad deeds. So flip off the guy who just gave you lip for helping him. Strategically position retail items so the asshole that just wasted an hour of your time only to not buy anything trips over it and hurts himself. You earned it, buddy!

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  6. "The assumption is that cash will smooth over anything" this is one of the main things that is wrong with our society

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  7. customer satisfaction is very important! keep up the good work =)

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  8. Yeah.. I can't do it. THat's why I don't work within the business. Merry X-mas anyhow!

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  9. I've never met a person that was genuinely nice in retail. That isn't to say the people are not nice, just not during the job.

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  10. I can't even get a job, everything's taken here! lol. You made a good post.

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