Did you know that a person stands on the other side of the counter when you pay for something? Or that your boss is a human?*
Tonight, I was trying to have a decent night at work. I was working with my favorite employee, one who works hard is always cheerful, and makes the time go by faster. I was mostly succeeding. Shortly after she left, though, my night got a lot harder.
I have figured out who some of my regular customers are, and sometimes, we give each other a hard time. Bears Hoodie Guy comes in and I disbelieve his stories. Colorado comes in and I tell him I won’t sell him cigarettes because he said the last one was his last pack. Girlie Drink comes in and gives me crap because the computer still rings up his booze wrong and I have to override it. It’s not mean, but it makes the night go faster.
This guy wasn’t a regular. Just some schmo buying menthol cigarettes (I totally judge people based on their cigarette choice, on top of judging them for smoking). But before we had even gotten that far, he was insulting me. Bashing me for working such a low-brow job. For not being smart enough to do something better with my life. On and on. For seven minutes. Finally, he left, and I could finish up my night.
A night that ended a lot later than it should have, thanks to Smirky McLazyBum, the employee who was taking over for third shift. Because she loathes the idea of me being her boss, she smirks and rolls her eyes at everything I say. She slams things, stomps around, and does everything she can to make it clear that she doesn’t like me. I don’t expect everyone to like me, but I do expect respect, and she doesn’t seem willing to do that. Tonight, she showed up almost 20 minutes late, then gave me crap because she didn’t like me giving her instructions. For bigger reasons than that, she probably won’t last a whole lot longer.
Another regular of mine is a waiter at one of my favorite restaurants, Stone Eagle. He’s a fabulous waiter, and every time he comes in, he’s the same friendly person he is at work, so it’s not really an act. When he went to pay for his stuff, he counted out singles onto the counter, and when I went to pick them up, he apologized for not handing them to me. It’s a matter of etiquette I hadn’t thought of until I worked at a gas station years ago, but one that has stuck with me. At least in the US, handing the money to the cashier is polite. Dropping the bills on the counter for her/him to pick up is rude, but it happens a lot. I told him it was OK, but thanked him for his apology.
Rude customers and petulant employees are nothing new. However, they are the little things that eat away at my joy. I try to ignore them, but some of them hurt. You can’t help but notice when you get stung by someone. I try to focus on the happier encounters, like the ones with my favorite employee or Stone Eagle Waiter. Some days are easier than others. Today, I deserve a medal simply for not punching anyone.
*OK, this might be stretching it… I know some of your bosses, and “human” is generous.