Tag Archives: play nice

Please To Adjust The Attitude.

23 Aug

I had two crummy customers today. One of them acted like I was trying to fleece her, when I wasn’t even trying to sell her anything. I was, in fact, simply¬†explaining the differences between anti-perspirant vs. deodorant. She was dubious that such differences exist… ultimately, she just left me with the impression that she is a very, very sweaty woman. So her, I sort of feel sorry for.

Can’t say I harbour any such kindly feelings toward the snobbish young man who spoke to me in a voice dripping with sarcasm when all I was trying to do was answer the questions he asked me in the first place. Not being much in the mood to play the doormat today, I used equally sarcastic tones when I apologized for not being able to be more of service.

Working in retail teaches you some hard lessons. You learn pretty quickly that the human race is, on the whole, pretty awful, for example. Also you learn that the notion of “what goes around comes around” is a bold-faced lie.

Allow me to illustrate: In retail, 80% of your interactions with the customers will be completely unremarkable. 5% will be awesome. And a full 15% will be awful, enraging, humiliating, or some combination thereof. At first you will be tempted to believe that the truly awful people are leading very unhappy lives, and that they’re just taking it out on you. As time goes by… you begin to realize that no, these people aren’t unhappy, or bitter, or dealt the short stick. These are just mean people with superiority complexes, people who think they’re somehow better than you because you work at the mall and they don’t.

As a general rule, I try to be fairly pleasant with people. There’s part of me that really does believe what goes around comes around, so… I try to be nice. But dealing with a big enough jerk makes me question that. The thing about being nice is that it necessitates a lack of defenses. You can’t be a nice person if your guard is always up. Big jerks make me always want to have my guard up. Nice people never seem to win and I’m sick of losing… but wouldn’t acting more callous myself, just contribute to the overall problem?

So… what to do? Do I just take it on the jaw when people try to bring me down, and continue trying to be nice because there are already enough mean, guarded people out there (they’re quite frankly the ones who are ruining it for the rest of us), or do I harden myself against it, assuming that everybody is just out to get me and steeling myself against social interaction?

Also, how do you avoid letting a jerk like that bring down your whole day?

Just curious.