Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Letter to the couple waiting in line behind me at Safeway tonight:

In what universe did you think loudly complaining about the service was going to make the line go any faster? You got in line pretty much the same time as I did, and we couldn't have been waiting more than ten minutes. Are you really so busy at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night that you have to sigh and bitch and moan about a ten minute wait?

Didn't you see the giant help wanted sign that covered the doors on the way in? It listed about 15 positions that needed to be filled in that store. They are obviously understaffed, and maybe the employees they do have are a little overworked. I didn't see any of them standing around talking or goofing off in any way. In fact, I actually saw one guy hurry down the aisle to answer a question for a customer.

And didn't you see how bad you were making the poor check-out clerk feel as you grumbled about how slow he was? He couldn't have been more than 16 years old! And the more you grumbled about how bad the service was, the redder the poor kid got, and the more he fumbled and struggled with the items and his scanner. Don't you remember what it was like to be 16 and unsure? Have you no feelings at all?

And the customer in line directly ahead of me may have had more than 10 items, but there weren't any other counters open. He had no choice but to use the express lane. Did you have to pick on him too?

I should have turned around and said something. And as I write this I'm regretting that I didn't. Because I'm tired of the rude and self-centered people running the world. I'm tired that nobody has any patience or understanding or empathy for anybody but themselves. And I'm worried about how I'm going to teach patience, understanding and empathy to my daughter, when there are no examples from real life to reinforce them.

1 comment:

T. said...

It's a hard example to set sometimes. I was once in Rona with my three kids when I noticed a man yelling very belligerently at the lady who was working in the tile section.

He was inappropriate and condemning her for things way out of her control. My kids commented to me on this man's behaviour, and I had to make a choice. Do I step in, or do I walk away.

Well, I felt I had to set an example. So I stepped in and calmly tried to diffuse the situation.

The man turned his horns on to me and started screaming at me. The difference between me and the employee? I wasn't scared of him, or intimidated by his size. Nor was I bound by the constraints of my job.

I know I succeeded in making the guy feel like a jackass, and the employee and her manager thanked me, but as I walked away, I wondered if he was waiting for me out in the parking lot. Had I just put myself and my kids in danger?

Thankfully, no, but in my attempt to teach the guy some manners and set an example for my kids, I had neglected the fact that he was a huge man, and I was a woman alone, with three kids, one of them handicapped.

That being said, I'd do it again in a heart beat.