Sunday, January 15, 2006

One flew over the cuckoo's nest.

I had a truly horrible weekend at work--as in, half-hour-long-breakdown-in-the-backroom horrible. I'll spare you the details, but I had one run-in with a screaming customer on Friday (because we wouldn't let her access her elderly father's account)...which was bad enough (I had Saturday off, and I just carried that around with me all damn weekend; it REALLY bothered me). But then today, within an hour of starting my day, I had ANOTHER woman scream--SCREAM--at me, with true rage, because of a heated mattress pad that was cheaper online than in the store.

In both cases, I was able to both stand up for myself (variations of "I don't know why you're talking to me this way when I'm trying to help you") while also remaining relatively calm (i.e., not yelling back or jumping over the counter to kick their asses), but the 1-2 punch just really took its toll, physically. After politely smiling and wishing the second Bitch From Hell a nice day, I calmly walked to the back, where I proceeded to cry and tell my manager that "I don't think I can do this anymore."

I understand being mad, being frustrated, etc. But I just DON'T UNDERSTAND how some people seem to think it's okay to treat other people like this. I just don't. And I CANNOT go to a job every day where I have to be treated like that. I know myself too well, and it's only a matter of time before I really pop off at the mouth and get Penney's sued or something (and that's of you who have seen Angry Jen know exactly what I'm talking about). The good news is, I'm able to stand up for myself. The bad side of that is, I do have quite a temper and find it hard to bite my tongue in emotionally-heated situations.

I know this is "part of retail." But you know what? Then retail isn't for me, not even as a temporary thing. Because I just CAN'T work in a job and then have to hear, "It's just part of the job" as an explanation/excuse. (My managers are very nice, and I like the all, but you know what? That should NEVER EVER EVER be "part of the job," to take that kind of abuse--literally, verbal abuse--from another person, and just write it off as "some customers are like that. It's part of working in retail."

I told my mom that stores everywhere should compile a master Asshole List, and that bouncers should be posted at every door. ("I'm sorry, ma'am, but it appears that you're an Asshole. I can't let you in. Come back when you act like a civilized human being.")

Still, there is a positive side, I guess. As I wrote in a letter to my boys tonight, "It’s a kick in the butt from a higher power, keeping me from getting too comfortable where I am and losing focus of where I really need to be."

Which, after today, is in a strait jacket.


LoraLoo said... - That is a true 1-2 punch. And what about a mattress pad necessitates someone to SCREAM? Shit. I would have excused myself and gotten a manager to deal with it. You don't get paid for that kind of abuse.

What does that say about society today? I worked retail for a few years, I dealt with assholes, but I'm thinking people have gotten worse. Common courtesy has disappeared and was replaced by "You OWE me". What do you think?

keesh said...

Oh hon, i am sorry. i could never handle retail either. People are rude and ruthless. Try and remember your pleasant customers ok :). I say get your butt on the sub lists for ottawa and allegan counties :). Then maybe you can just do that. Hang in there!

Renee said...

Awww, I know how much that sucks. I worked in retail for 5 years and had to deal with my share of the same. I'm sorry you're taking it so personally-- you're absolutely right; nobody should feel like they can talk to another human being that way. But you gotta try not to let it get ya down that bad.

I'm glad it's a kick in the pants, though, and makes you realize how important it is to get the hell out of there asap :-) I'm with Kish-- get on those sub lists. You could even expand further than ottawa and allegan (kent, muskegon, van buren, etc). You don't belong in a straight jacket, but you don't belong at Penney's, either! Get on those lists before you get Penney's sued :-)

Jen said...

It's not even a "you owe me" so much as it's a...I don't know. People just really seem to think they're "better" than retail workers, like it's our JOB to take their shit, no matter how rude or inappropriate they are to us. I can almost guarantee that the woman from Sunday, for example, went home satisfied about the deal she got on her mattress pad, without giving a second thought to HOW she got that deal.

Today, FYI, was a lot better. I went in today with a pretty big chip on my shoulder, almost HOPING one more person could mouth off so that I could deliver one of the comebacks that have been brewing in my head over the last few days before walking out the door and never coming back...but people seemed to be back to normal today.

LocuTus of Borg said...

Oops sorry you had a bad day ... well bad week-end. Working in retail does suck sometime and I would never yell at another person. I might tell them that, 'they do not understand where I am coming from,' but I would not yell at someone behind the counter. I think I have seen on many blogs that there are quite a few people that think people just suck ... and I have to agree. It is very rare to find someone nice nowadays :(. (I've never been good at comebacks, so that is why I don't jump in either haha!)

Anna said...

I LOVE the idea of a Master Asshole List! We've to get going on that asap!
I'm sorry these people are so terrible. They're just unhappy people with terrible lives. They have no right to treat you like that. Let's hunt them down and kill them.
Way to look at it positively though- that at least this way you won't stay in retail and forsake your teaching dream.
We love you!

Jen said...

LoB: in my "real life," I'm actually pretty good at the scathing comebacks (which is unfortunate when I'm fighting with a boyfriend...I think we just figured out why I'm still single) ;)

Renee said...

Jen rocks at scathing comebacks.