There’s something about me. Something about my face or the way I carry myself. Something about my clothes. There’s just something…always has been.
I guess we all have a certain je ne sais quoi that dictates how other humans interact with us. My “I don’t know what” says, “I work here”. Moreover, my “I don’t know what” says, “I work here, and I’m not doing my job”.
Even when my mouth says, “I don’t work here,” the “I don’t know what” always finds a way to scramble the message.
It happens all the time, even in places where the employees wear uniforms. A few weeks ago I was shopping sans small child. Shopping without the constant chorus of “I want that” is like a vacation. I was wearing my favorite green t-shirt and green cargo pants. This particular shirt has a picture of a moose and bear on it, and says “Nature and shit” below the picture. Definitely not the red and khaki garb of the staff.
As I stood in the aisle browsing, I was approached by an older guy. He was preppy looking, and wore clothing that indicated he was into golf. His outfit was wonderfully coordinated, right down to his stupid looking visor. He had a cocky, better than you, my wife picks out my clothes air about him.
I have no idea how long he was standing there, but was made aware of his presence when he rudely cleared his throat. “AHEMMM. Are these disposable?” he barked at me, clearly annoyed. He was holding a box, but it was an item I was not familiar with.
As he glared at me, he let out a sigh. It was a sigh that indicated he was unhappy. His attitude was interrupting my mini retail vacation, and I was briefly confused by his aggressive behavior. “Technically, everything is disposable. It just depends on how much you like it,” I responded, smiling.
I went back to my browsing. I could still feel his presence. His eyes were burning holes in the back of my head. From over my shoulder his voice boomed “All you damn kids think you’re so damn funny! Well, it won’t be so funny when I call your manager…WILL IT?“
Normally, if a person is polite I offer assistance; even though I will not be compensated. I could have just turned around and said, “Why don’t you ask someone who works here?” correcting the surly moron, but we all know that’s not what I did.
I turned and faced him, again smiling “May I?” I asked, as I took the box from him. “Oh, sure! NOOOW you’re going to help me???!!! You think I won’t report you!? You’re all the same. You only WORK when you think you’re going to get fired! Well, you’ve GOT another thing COMING, MISSY!!” Yes, he called me missy.
He went on for what seemed like an hour…talking about why people like me are the reason the country is in the state it’s in, and how I’ll work minimum wage my whole life because I have no work ethic.
I let him ramble, while humming “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” in my head. He kept getting louder…about the time I got to the “his truth is marching on” part, a woman in a red shirt, khaki pants, and a name tag appeared out of nowhere. ”Can I help you?” she asked the almost screaming jerk.
“YEAH, I’m glad SOMEONE who works here does their JOB! You need to have a little CHAT with your EMPLOYEE! It seems she missed the part about COURTESY when she did her training course!!! She’s a DISGRACE and should be FIRED IMMEDIATELY!” His visor was now visibly moving because the veins on the side of his head were pulsing.
I was still smiling, this displeased him even more. “Look at her, she’s just smiling at me like some kind of MORON!” The employee was confused, her expression showed she was trying to choose her words carefully. I handed her the box, and softly said, “He wants to know if these are disposable.”
“Yeah….that’s ALL I asked her…after I stood behind her for five minutes, waiting for her to acknowledge me! And do you know what she said!!???” he paused, I’m assuming for dramatic effect. “Everything is DISPOSABLE, it depends on HOW MUCH YOU LIKE IT!!!!”
“C’mon, you have to admit. That was hilarious,” I said to the bewildered employee. “This is what you call customer service?” he snorted, while throwing up his hands. It was at this point that the employee finally spoke again, “Uh, Sir. She doesn’t work here,” she half-mumbled.
“WHAT!!!??” the golf dork exclaimed. “Not even on the weekends,” I replied, laughing. “Why didn’t you say that in the first place?” He was speaking through a clenched jaw. “You didn’t ask me if I worked here. You sounded pretty passionate, I thought it’d be rude to interrupt you,” I continued.
“Well, that’s just not funny,” he stammered. Clearly this guy doesn’t know funny. You would think he would have stopped there, but he didn’t. Self-important jerks never know when to leave well enough alone. “You know…I’m not here to entertain you. I’m a very busy man,”. There’s a lot of personality traits I despise, he seemed to have them all. He couldn’t just sit there in his wrongness and be wrong. “Well, Muffin. I’m not here to assist you, so I guess we’re even,” I replied almost singing.
I probably could have stood there in the dental care aisle and exchanged barbs with this dude all day. But, I decided to excuse myself before he could say anything else…I had things to do. I’m a very busy woman.