Friday, May 23, 2008


We all know I'm not judgmental... Ok, that's a blatant lie, but we'll roll with it for the sake of my point. Nothing rankles my limpets quite like being poorly treated by those whose job it is to provide me service. By that, I'm talking about bartenders, servers, sales staff, etc.

I'm not asking them to kiss my feet, I'm asking them to treat me as an equal. I promise to not condescend, in fact, I have the utmost respect for you.

I spent many years bartending, waiting tables and working retail. I know it often involves working long hours for low pay, dealing with customers who think you're beneath them. In fact, it's for this reason alone that I'm a very generous tipper even when the service is less than great, and the reason that I exchange pleasantries with sales staff at stores, and part of the reason that all of the people at my favorite bars and stores remember TFN and I - we're friendly people, genuinely happy to see and deal with other friendly people.

If you think you're better than the person taking your order or helping you at the store, you deserve shitty service. You deserve to get your order screwed up. You see, when you think you're better than the people you need to provide you with a service, they are dutybound to prove you wrong. I know, I've been dutybound to provide bad service to people who felt that way, including one very annoying, up-until-recently quite famous standup comedian who felt that he deserved VIP treatment to the point of not needing to wait his turn for a drink at the bar over the "ordinary" patrons. He may still be standing there waiting for that drink. I know I never got it for him.

On the opposite side of the coin, if that is your job, and your customer is simply you are obligated to provide a service. If you can do it, and do it courteously, then life goes and the world keeps turning.


Mr. pimply obnoxious video gamestore clerk, I can do without the attitude.

All I did was ask if you had any copies of Wii Fit in stock.

I didn't need or deserve the condescension or derision.

I didn't need to be made to feel stupid for possibly thinking that, if I hadn't reserved a copy, that there might be one or two copies in stock.

I personally didn't realize that the average video gamer cared that much for fitness. You obviously don't. You also don't appear too concerned about hygiene for that matter.

I could have said that. I could have said what I really wanted to say, which was something implicating that you had probably never, and probably would never, lay hands upon actual female breasts unless money had been exchanged. I didn't say that, either.

I simply said "Ok," and walked out, with you feeling smug and self-important in some way.

It's probably the best you'll feel all week.

I pity you for that.

After I left the store, I went to another game shop, where I was treated better, by a person with a higher self-esteem and better social skills. He didn't have it either, but he wasn't derisive about it. Guess where I'll go to buy video games from now on?

After that, I met my friends for beer and pizza. It was fun. I told the story about you. We laughed about it, remarking again, that whatever gets you through the day, that was probably your high point.

It wasn't mine, though. My high point happened some way into the middle of my second pint, with a big greasy slice of pepperoni and green olive pizza and the Tigers winning on the TV, and somebody probably said something funny, and it was all right. The fact that I can't put my finger on the exact moment means it was a generally fun evening that didn't revolve around attempting to demean anyone.

Just you. And it was behind your back.


Jennifer said...

lim·pet (lmpt)
1. Any of numerous marine gastropod mollusks, as of the families Acmaeidae and Patellidae, characteristically having a conical shell and adhering to rocks of tidal areas.
2. One that clings persistently.
3. A type of explosive designed to cling to the hull of a ship and detonate on contact or signal.

You teach me so much.

I will be ever wary of limpet rankling, whether the limpets be like barnacles, needy boyfriends, or (god forbid) plastique.

I had the privilege this week of witnessing my Hair Club for Men-bound systems analyst/programmer former brother in-law argue with an untrimmed bearded pimply self-important Best Buy geek. I'm pretty sure they each went home immediately after the spat to masturbate.

Total pwnage.

fineartist said...

I waited tables for years, then managed a restaurant which translates to, serving in a custodial manner, and I hear ya.

The question, "Do you want fries with that?" kept me in college for God's sake, yes it proved to be very motivating, and like you, I always over tip, even when the service is crappy, to a degree, if it's really bad I tip regularly.

I've taken to telling people, in a nice way, if indeed that's possible, that they suck, when they suck, and it's really dropped my blood pressure, I'm certain of it.

There's really no excuse for rudeness, none, if a person is getting paid to serve people, then they need to realize the above or move on to a job that doesn't require human contact.