Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Service with a Smile

What the hell has happened to our society? It’s no secret that I work retail, but some of you may not know that I manage a women’s clothing store. (Insert Al Bundy joke here.) The women I see in my store on a daily basis will yell and curse at me over a $3.99 return. They have a flagrant disrespect for me and my store because I am a man. That’s not a joke, or speculation. I’ve had several of them tell my staff and me things of that nature several times.
Never in my life have I ever chewed someone out for following their store’s policies. Never have I ever even grumbled when an acceptable explanation was given for an issue I had. This cut-throat attitude has got to stop. And surprisingly, it’s not one particular demographic either. Rich women. Poor women. White women. Black women. Young women. Old women. Apparently, being a complete jerk acknowledges no stereotype or boundaries.
These “customers” will enter my store and, as per policy, I will be in the front third of the store and I will say hello and welcome them. They literally look straight at me and then look away. No response. No smiles. Nothing. This is absolutely infuriating to me. I know it’s my job and you don’t have time to have a conversation with the plebeians, but all I’m asking for is a sincere greeting. Is that too much to ask?
Society is majorly screwed up. I know it’s not just women who are like this, but I am limited in who I deal with so they’re the ones who get picked on. Imagine: the women who can’t say hello to someone are raising or have raised children. Do you think those kids are going to have any respect whatsoever for the service industry? I know it’s not a glamorous profession, but without me, you couldn’t buy you cheap plus size apparel; or you’d at least have to try harder.
People need to start truly living by the Golden Rule again. It seemed to work great in the early days of our country but now it’s all about selfishness and entitlement. I don’t give a shit who you are. If you come in my store, you need me. At a restaurant you need your server. People in the service industries do jobs that not everyone wants to do. Unlike the medical profession, I am not required by law to provide service to you. Treat me with courtesy and a modicum of respect and we’ll be fine.
Please read this blog and really think about how you treat people in the stores you shop in or the restaurants where you take your family to eat. We do this to make a living. I feel that the fact that I’m working and not sponging off of the government should at least grant me some respect. The fact that I’m paying my mortgage with the money you spend so you can look nice on Easter Sunday doesn’t mean anything to you, but I guaran-damn-tee it means a lot to me and anyone else who is my shoes.
Be aware of how you treat people. Be conscious of how your children see you around people and the things that you are unintentionally teaching them. In the words of Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That’s all well and good. I much prefer the more contemporary, “Wheaton’s Law.”


  1. I completely agree! Society is all about "me, me, me". Ryan and I were talking about this just the other day. We rode in a carriage ride at a local farm with Sydney. A man let his dog get away from him. The dog was tiny compared to this huge horse! The lady had to promptly stop the horse so that the dog would not be trampled by the horse or the carriage. The man got his dog and walked away. There was no "I'm sorry" or "Thank you for stopping the horse". Instead, his attitude was more of "how dare this horse get in my dog's way". It infuriated all of us. You're also right in that we must model it for our kids. We can't tell them to act one way and then show them a different way with our actions!

  2. I love your quote. I know what you mean about not even getting a greeting back from people when you work retail. When I worked at a photo studio, I would greet people and sometimes just get a mean look back. It's not hard to learn manners, but it definitely makes me think about how we're going to raise our daughter.

  3. I totally agree! It is very sad how people act and I can catch myself wanting to fall into the same reactions, however I try to remember to love my neighbor.
    I work in a chiropractic office and I get calls from patients about their bills or other issues. I got a call yesterday from the wife of a patient who felt she needed to tell me how "unprofessional" our office was because our MONTHLY bills do not include an extensive 5 year history or that we did not tell her husband when he was in that he owed an additional amount other than his co-pay which would have been feasible to do if he wasn't chatting it up with the Dr. as he hands off his folder and walks out the door. I'm all for fighting for something if you KNOW it's wrong but when you call up and start pointing fingers without asking for an explanation that is just rude.