Last I checked, it was not socially acceptable to throw a temper tantrum to get your way when you are 3, let alone 53. For some reason, apparently, not everyone knows this little tidbit of social etiquette. I thought that once people reach adulthood they would have learnt various negotiation techniques that were slightly more sophisticated than those of a toddler; I was wrong. Much too often have I had to deal with full grown adults throwing tantrums. Throwing a tantrum does nothing when you are 3 and it does less when you are 53. All you really accomplish is having people judge you and assume you are slightly unbalanced.
Almost all of the jobs I have had have been in customer service of some kind, so as you can imagine I work with people a lot. With me, if you come at me angry from the start, and start yelling at me, I am going to do as little as possible to help you. Obviously, in order to keep my job, there is a minimum requirement that I have to do to at least appear to help you, but that minimum is all you will get if you yell instead of using your big kid words. If you came up and calmly and sincerely stated your issue I am going to go out of my way to help you as best I can because I like to see people happy.
A woman came into my job once and started yelling at everyone about an issue she believed existed. Various people tried to explain that there was not an issue with the product but she wouldn’t listen and just kept yelling. People stared. It was awkward. We referred to her as “The crazy woman”. That is what you get when you throw tantrums in public. You get called names; not unjustly I might add. I don’t understand the theory behind it. Just because something happened that you were unhappy with does not mean you have the right to go yelling at anyone who will, or has been forced to, listen. As I said before, state your problem calmly and people are much more willing to help you. No one is going to go the extra mile to help someone who belittled them. Well, I’m not anyway.
A manager of mine once showed me this video, Give em the Pickle. While I understand and agree with the message (if you can make someone’s experience better by just doing a bit extra, do it) what I kept thinking when I watched it was “what kind of person writes to the owner of a restaurant about a $0.75 misunderstanding over pickles?!” It is ridiculous how many people complain about little things to get free stuff or in the hope of getting free stuff. It is never the calm, sincere people that get it either. It is the loud, angry people that assume they deserve something even if they don’t. I don’t even know why it bugged me so much but it really did. It was $0.75! The man should have just explained that he normally isn’t charged and I’m sure the manager would have come over and it would have been straightened out. But no, he wrote to the owner, probably because he figured it would get a better deal going straight to the struggling entrepreneur. Maybe they had to change the policy on free pickles because it became too much of an expense. You don’t know the back story, Pickle-man! You could have inquired as to why the change in policy instead of whining about it. I think the phrase “The customer is always right” has gone to too many people’s heads. The girl at the retail store isn’t the bad guy for not allowing you to return your shirt 2 months after the return period ended. You are, for not making it a priority. Policies are generally put in place for a reason. Don’t yell at your server or retail person. They are just doing their job. If you show people respect they are much more likely to return it.
That is the end of my rant.
Okay, so it isn’t really something everyone can do, it is more something you are born with. If you are me, or my sister, all you have to do is walk into a store with the intention of buying something and voila, you are invisible. Not a single sales person will know you even exist. I am not sure what it is, maybe we have a certain look about us, even though we think we are giving off the “I want to buy something” vibe in reality we are saying “don’t notice us or help us or even acknowledge us in any way”. Thankfully I live in a big city with many malls and shopping locations. If I am ignored I will walk away. If you are rude or condescending, I will walk away. I don’t care if I have to go out of my way to go to another location, I will.
Yesterday I went shopping with the intent of buying new running shoes. I wasn’t browsing, I knew what I wanted and all I needed was someone to acknowledge me so that I could give them money in exchange for a pair of shoes. Sounds simple, does it not? I went to two different athletic shoe stores, not once but twice, and all four times I was completely ignored. I wandered around waiting for someone to ask if I needed help, and nothing. So I left. I drove to another mall and went to another store and gave them my money instead because they acknowledged me.
It is not much to ask for. If I am carrying a bundle of clothes please ask me if I need a fitting room. If I am looking at shoes, ask if you can get me a size. Maybe I am just browsing but if you ask then you will know for sure and I will feel like I exist. Feeling invisible and like you don’t matter is a terrible feeling. Even if it is just at a clothing store; you leave either feeling angry or hurt. I probably sound dramatic, which I usually am, but it is true. When I go shopping for something, whether it is shoes, clothes or electronics, I want to know that I matter. I don’t want to be treated poorly. If I have a good experience I am much more likely to come back and even recommend your store to other people.
Lesson of the story: Treat people well, especially if you work on commission because you never know…