The other day, my husband, who works in the grocery department of a major worldwide store, was threatened. Again. This time, it was because his store did not carry grapefruit.
He tried to explain to the irate woman that they had never carried it, that the store wasn’t a full superstore, and that he was sorry. She accused him of—get this—hiding the grapefruit from her because he didn’t want her to have it. I guess this was better than the old woman who threw a package of lunch meat at him—or, at least, it would have been, until the woman threatened to have him fired over grapefruit.
She informed him that it was somehow in her power to have him thrown out on his butt from his job because he couldn’t produce grapefruit out of thin air. It just amazes me that someone could be so flippant and inhumane like this over a piece of fruit! Did she not consider that he supports a family, that he’s trying to get out of debt and buy a house, that he worked hard to move up to this position? Obviously he knew she had no such power—in fact, I was more troubled over her ranting than he was—but it’s distressing to have someone try to threaten your whole livelihood over a piece of fruit nonetheless.
Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in fast food and I know how hard it is to deal with irate people, but I don’t understand why we treat each other this way. It’s absolutely astounding that we would equate produce above a human being!
Whenever I use a store, restaurant, or other service where someone is going to help me, I always make sure to make eye contact, smile and be friendly. I leave tips every time I can—I don’t think you should dine out unless you can, unless it’s fast food or something—and sometimes I even leave notes to thank people who were especially kind. Now, when someone who works is irate to me, I can understand getting your feathers ruffled. It’s their job to help, after all, and it can be hard to get a job these days. When my husband was laid off, it took him nearly a year to get another job—and he works hard every day to keep it. So when someone is grumpy when I try to be nice, I do get a little peeved.
But then again, they’re probably irate because someone just threatened their job over a bag of frozen peas.