That time of year has arrived again…Thanksgiving. While I love most any holiday, it’s this time of year that always makes me slightly bitter, and it’s not the changing of the seasons or the doom of snow hanging in the air. No, I’ll tell you what it is, it’s the unfortunate job of having to work customer’s service. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but there’s something about the 2 weeks leading up to Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s that just makes customers treat those of us in customer’s service like we’re stupid, yet maniacal beings who are somehow less than human. I don’t understand how anyone could be treated the way we are and yet be expected to put a smile on our face and apologize for their inconvenience. If you don’t believe me, let me tell you a story that happened to me recently that may change your mind…
As most of you know I work in produce which means most of my day is spent filling, and refilling, the things that have been bought in our department. Unfortunately in my line of work this can also mean that sometimes we are out of something, whether it be ordering error or warehouse cut or just a random surge in purchases that day. While most rational humans can ask me if we have something and understand when I tell them that we are out until we our next shipment, this time of year the number of those individuals seems to dramatically decrease. I had a customer ask me recently if we had any moron a certain type of lettuce, a lettuce which is fairly popular but had not been sold out of recently however we were on this particular day…when I told said customer that we were out and would be until we got our load, their response was to tell me to “go suck lemons.” While part of me wanted to laugh at the remark and it’s outlandishness, part of me couldn’t help but wonder what would possess someone to treat another human being in such a manner, like it was MY fault we were out of that one thing and that I deserve to be insulted for it. More often than not, when we’re out of something it’s because of something completely out of our control. My coworks and I don’t sit around all day devising how best to screw up your lunch for the rest of the week or that one thing you have to have for Thansgiving dinner two weeks in advance. We don’t plot, we don’t scheme, we don’t conspire, I promise.
So for those of you shopping this holiday season, please keep one thing in the back of your mind while you’re out and about, those people at the stores, with the nametags and the uniforms, they’re people too. Treat them with a little dignity and respect and believe them when they tell you they’re out of something. We don’t hide things out back just so you can’t buy them, when we say we’re out, we really are. But in essence, just show a little bit of kindness because chances are they are having a shitty day and don’t need a needlessly irate customer when they already have too much to do and not enough things to do it with.
Holidays are a stressful time for most of us (I don’t want to say all because I’m sure there’s one person out there who would prove me wrong) but just please remember that sometimes a compliment to someone can go a long way, maybe a smile instead of a scowl, because while you will forget about the tantrum you threw as a grown adult in the middle of the store, we won’t. Be thankful for what you do have this time of year, and if your worst problem is that you couldn’t buy the lettuce you wanted, I think you have a lot to be thankful for.