Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May The Little Green Fairies Pee Magic Into Your Breakfast Cereal

Ok, so since my divorce, I've been in the process of renewing some of my nursing credentials so that I can have a decent job that isn't total crap.
Until my credentials are all renewed, I have been forced to work a few jobs that, while are certainly not viewed as beneath me, are a bit of a challenge.
It turns out that when you work in retail/customer service oriented jobs, your managers wish for you, no EXPECT you, to actually be a friendly person.
IF any of you remember some of my personal views on people from my previous blog, you will remember two things:
1. I am not exactly friendly. In fact, I pride myself in being a sarcastic ass.
2. I am not a people person. I can be quoted many, many, MANY times as saying "I DO NOT like people."

So, these jobs have had some challenging moments for me and I have decided to share two of my golden moments with you today.

Imagine this scene:
Time of year: End of fall, early winter. Christmas shopping frenzied people are out and about looking for great deals, the perfect gift, and the "IT" toy for their precious offspring.
Where I'm Working: A nationally known, very popular, ginormous toy store (name not given due to a paper they made me sign when I was hired promising NOT to give names of company or co-workers when bitching about my shitty job on my online blog.)
The "IT" Toy Of The Season: The Zhu Zhu Pet

Now, I'm sure that some of you went out and bought some of these beloved toys for your children this passed holiday season. Hell, I'm ashamed to admit that I caved and bought one for my middle monkey myself but ONLY because I worked at the freakin toy store as the Customer Service Dept. Manager where I had to hold these freakin toys behind the counter and deal with every single crazy parent who came in and freaked out (on me) when we didn't have any in stock, and I got a crazy good discount. **Added bonus, the ex couldn't find one of these much in demand toys so I got to stick it to him too. SCORE!!!
Now, I'm going to save you the rant about how we, as a society, have chosen to skip every real, milestone, childhood deserving experiences of owning a real live pet, such as a hamster, that the child must love and take care of until they forget about it and find it dead two months later when they FINALLY remember they might want to feed it more than every three months...sigh... and we are now replacing these experiences that teach our children things like..oh say, responsibility for another living being that they might then remember when they are adults who need to know what responsibility is....sigh....
I won't go in to all of that because this story is about ME...
So, there I am, working in this toy store, listening to the same Chipmunks album playing over and over, where they sing carols ALL.DAY.LONG in that annoying little chipmunky voice, thinking about how great I thought working in a toy store would be, how much fun it would be to hang out with sweet little children who are in awe of all the toys available at their fingertips, with the wild hopes of moonbounces set up for employee lunch breaks, when the parents start coming in..sans sweet, wide-eyed children, looking for these fake hamsters.
It turns out that parents, when told that you're out of stock of the "IT" toy of the season, they get angry.
About a trillion times a day, I had to tell parents, either face-to-face or on the phone, that "No, we do not have any Zhu zhu's, we don't know when we'll have more in stock, but, (and this was the fun part) when we do get them in, the limit is one Zhu Zhu per customer."
Yes, that's right, people bought tickets online, came in and stood in a worm-type line for hours, with hopes of buying a Zhu Zhu for each of their 19 children, only to be told at the counter "I'm only allowed to sell you ONE."
I was screamed at, called evil, rude names, even threatened once..all in the name of the Holiday Spirit.
To get to the point, I had a customer call one morning and ask if we had any of the toys I had quickly grown to loather and I said "Yes, we have twenty but if you're coming in to get one, you need to get here soon..like within minutes because they go fast."
Four and a half hours later, this phone woman waltzed in, comes straight to my counter and requests a Zhu Zhu.
Do I need to tell you that in the four and a half hours it took her to "hurry in", we sold out?
She started screaming at me and I was on the eleventh hour of a twelve hour shift that I wasn't even supposed to be working because it was supposed to be my freaking day off, and she's screaming "YOU said you had twenty, where did they go?!?!?! You BETTER go back into the back, into some secret F@@#% room and FIND me a F&^*(% ZHu Zhu!"
You people know me, right?
Would this be the one shining moment in my life where I take this verbal abuse from a complete stranger, apologize profusely, pull impossible promises out of my bum, and not throw one sarcastic comment or curse word?
Nope, this would not be that moment.
This was the moment where I took a deep breath, counted to ten, and responed:
Listen lady, I've worked here almost every day for three months. I have taken abuse from complete strangers who have obviously forgotten what being nice in the name of "Christmas" means. I have been cursesd threatened, told how stupid and uneducated I am, all the while I'm standing here making minimum wage, listening to the FREAKIN CHIPMUNKS sing "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas" a million times a day, while renewing certifications that I got from a FREAKIN COLLEGE EDUCATION, over battery opperated hamsters that children will play with for five minutes before completely forgetting about it.
Yep, that is EXACTLY what I said.
And what made it even better, when she demanded to speak to the manager of the customer service department, I got to reply "You're speaking to her! How can I be of assistance?"
Surprisingly, I was not kept on after the holidays. Hmmmm.
So, now I'm working in this big chain of gas stations as a cashier. It's not as bad as you'd think it would be. I actually enjoy the people that come in. You have your morning people who come in and grab their coffee, grunt their "hello" as they pay for their much needed caffiene, and then they leave. Less than five minutes spent with them. Priceless. Then you have your evening people, coming in to grab their spirits and ciggies for the evening. They're in a hurry to crack open that first beer so they spend even less time in the store as the morning regulars.
It's awesome.
Then, last night, a co-worker (whom I LOVE) and I decided that I needed to give a more "friendly" good-bye to my customers. He said "You know, say something like "You have a spectacular evening" or something uplifting."
Sure, I can do that.
So, my next customer comes up, buys his two 40 ouncers, a pack of smokes, pays in change, all the while mumbling how pay-day is Friday and that explains the change payment, and when he's leaving, I smile and say:
Ok, good-bye and I hope that the magical unicorns pee rainbows down onto your evening!"
Both of them looked at me like I had just sprouted a second head.
"What? Too much?"
My co-worker told me, through laughter and tears, to just go back to saying "Kay, Buh-Bye".
I like it.


Brian o vretanos said...

You'd be better suited to retail work here, where we're not really into too much personal contact, and people rarely get abusive. Just as long as you didn't ever, ever tell a customer to "have a nice day". Otherwise you'd get a position in a hospital as a patient rather than a nurse...

Jean Knee said...

yes I hate those dumb ass hamsters. We paid a butt load of money for Lean to play with them a few days. and they moo and crow, what's that about?

I would love for someone to wish unicorns peed rainbows for me

Tracy Rambles On And On said...

Brian-I'm gonna go ahead and take that as an invitation to come on over "cross the pond" and pay you a visit for a while. I've been waiting on that one.
What would I say "Do NOT have a nice day"?

Jean Knee- May rainbow colored unicorns pee rainbows into your cheerios!