I work at an art gallery. I've discussed this before. Sometimes I've discussed customer behavior. Guess what we'll be talking about today?
Behavior that I encountered at work today and out in public can be rather horrible. People don't care about people a lot anymore. People fight to get in lines. People feel that their child didn't get an evenly cut piece of cake and that Jimmy's was bigger than theirs . . .
First we'll discuss what my mom encountered. My mom is pretty polite. She really doesn't intentionally do anything to cause harm. Mom still looks at the world through rose-ish colored glasses. She really tries to do nice things for people. I'm not saying that my mother is perfect, but she's a nice lady. This weekend was the big soccer travel tournament down south where they have property on the river. They've had issues with said tournament visitors in the past. My parents rope off the edge of their property, have signs up all year that say that it is private property and so forth. There is a dock, a boat launch a couple of trailers, a port-o-loo during the summer for JUST them and a beautiful picnic pavilion. Folks don't care, tend to treat it as the public park and help themselves. They have great neighbors who shoo the people away. As my mom and dad were politely asking people not to park on their property, a woman blew a gasket on Mom. They went on about how my mother needs mental help . . . because she asked them to park somewhere else. They asked what gave her the right, she said that the deed to the property in her name did. The guy went on to tell her that they "misappropriated funds as it was clear that she should have spent it on mental health." The woman was going on about how the lawn needed mowed and how she should have Chem(ical)Lawn come because she does and her grass is perfect. (It had rained and my parents were waiting for the grass to dry to mow it. It had been mowed the previous week.) The people were horrible. They did move, though. Later, a woman came over and apologized profusely. This couple has the habit of doing this everywhere the travel soccer goes. The lady asked my mom's forgiveness and said that she heard the whole thing. Poor mom.
Today I had a woman ask for something with fish on it. She gave me no other details. I showed her earrings. "Those are infantile." Okay then. I kept showing her other things and finally after the 4th snide remark, I asked if she had been to our store next door. "No, not yet." "I do believe that they will have a better selection more in line with what you are looking for."
I had another lady come in, needed the bathroom but proceeded to first tell me, "I'm making a HUGE purchase next door and needed to use the restroom." "We're happy to have you use it even if you are just looking around." I checked later, her HUGE purchase was $700. Now yes, that is a lot of money, but HUGE for us involves multiple thousands. The last person I had pull that same line on me spent a HUGE sum of $24. Yes, if y'all are snotty to me and tell me that you are spending HUGE amounts, I'm going to be nosey to see what you spent. She did come back in later to tell me that she either drank a lot of water or got very nervous about all of the money that she was spending and had to use the ladies again. "Water is wonderful for you to drink," was my response.
I had a guy make me chuckle. Not a rudeness thing, but he had asked what kind of deal I could give him. "Oh, I can't do that, but if you put the hat on, I'll pay you a compliment." Later on, my coworker complimented my quick thinking.
I chant to K all the time, "Do you find your behavior excusable?" I wonder if people out in public switched roles, would they treat the one helping them as badly as they do? Let's think about that the next time we interact with people. We all have a behavioral glitch from time to time. I'll be the first to admit that I have. I try not to. Customer service operators aren't to blame because the phone doesn't work. Sales people aren't to blame if the store ran out of what you needed. Often, they are the ones who take the brunt for something that is not their fault.
Let's be gentle with one another, okay?