Posts Tagged ‘dignity’

Treating the Human Being

September 17, 2011

For my 200th entry, I want to switch gears a little, to get back to the roots of my stories, of why I tell these tales, sometimes of horror, sometimes of jocularity, because there is always some sort of rhyme to the reason–even chaos has order. One of the greatest problems I have with humans and humanity is our utter disregard for each other. It is the way we walk through the streets every day of our lives, and you know how it goes–you don’t care about the other people you walk by, drive by or pass by–they are totally anonymous until they get in your way, until you are forced to interact with them. Honestly, the most conscious I am of people is my want and need not to get in people’s way, not to disrupt the flow of their day, and to allow them to continue on without interacting with me. I digress.

I know it is how we are, how we’ve been trained, it’s been instilled into the essence of how we are–when we walk into a retail store, or any place where we make a purchase, we look at the people whom serve us and we don’t see humans. At least a majority of us act in this way. They see, they act like there is an object, something worth a monetary Capitalist value standing in front of them, something they potentially own or control. The customer is always right, right? Consumer confidence is the power that rules the economy, right? Is it really right, or like time, have we forgotten we created this concept and now we allow it to control us as if it were a spiritual conception outside realm of reality.

You see, there are many people who walk into a retail store and they automatically believe we belong to them, we are their servants. There are people who believe they can act however they wish, because we are just there to serve them, their money makes us less-than-human. They will yell and insult, they will demean and act rudely to the full extent of their abilities because they believe it is their right to do so as customers. And somewhere, somehow, someone empowered them to believe this, someone allowed this thought to emerge and become reality, as much as drinking beer and eating solves problems, as much as the belief that low self-esteem is normal. None of this is, we created it, we can control it, we can let it continue or we can make it stop. That is in our power as human beings.

So what do we do? Obviously, we can’t break people’s habits. If you grew up thinking smoking is cool, you aren’t going to suddenly stop. If you grew up watching television which gives so many wrong answers to problems, yet you believe they’re all correct, what is there to do? The only thing we can do is take a step back and remember we are dealing with human beings. During this age of dehumanization, desensitization, where we don’t even touch other human beings, let alone hear their voices in person, we have an obviously growing separation. Yet, I believe the future of our species, our people is based on learning to treat each other with respect, with dignity, by learning to treat everyone else as human beings. We’ve spent decades, centuries learning how to stop treating humans as different categories, different levels, redefining what it is to be a part of society. We’ve spent so little time focusing on being human, on seeing each other as human beings.

The future of our society is as human beings, together as human beings, treating each other as human beings. It shouldn’t be a hard fight, or a hard ideal to live for, but I can promise you the kind of people who live in this world will fight as hard as they can to not treat other people as people. Because they’ve only learned to see other people as objects, as a worth, not as human beings.

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I Want Darker!

January 17, 2011

I realize I let most of the minor irritations slip through, because there are so many every day things which people do that fall into the category of rude, absent-minded, and ridiculous. I’ve been thinking about them, when one of ‘those’ customers whom always find me came yelling.

“I want a darker color!”
I look at a pair of tights he’s holding, and they’re dark gray. So obviously, I ask, “You want a darker gray?” This would basically be black.
“No! I want darker!”
I stand and stare at him. “So you want black?”
“No! Darker! I want darker!”
First, I don’t know why he’s yelling at me, but I did find out later he was a tourist from China. If you’ve been to the restaurants, you learn when they yell, they’re actually just talking.
“Darker! I want darker!”
“If you don’t want black what do you want? A color, name a color.”
“Darker!”
“Brown, navy blue, black…”
“Darker! Black! I want black!”
My eyes roll into my head, as I take the tights he handed to me and toss them aside as a sign I’m not taking his crap when I return. So I go into the back, to look for the tights, and someone tells me we have none. So after letting out a long shriek on the walkie-talkies, I come back out to find if there are any lost on the sales floor. Of course, I find one. Of course, I give it to him in the side he wants. And of course, what does he do?
“I want softer! Do you have softer! Softer!”
I’m no longer in the mood to be yelled at with no reason, or being yelled at with a good reason. “No, no softer. None. Only one.” And I walk away.

Customer Types: Capitalist, Learn the Language

For Shame!

May 19, 2010

As a testament to my statement that I can ‘Act More Korean Than a Korean’ I have a story to tell. It was the end of a long, irritating day, part of a long and irritating week. I already had two bad happenings, which I’ll write about later. Two Korean women come up to me asking if this ‘discount on denim’ works on their chambray shirt and denim shorts. And I tell them, “No, it only works on the full-length jeans. The computer doesn’t accept shorts or shirts. Only full-length.” After making sure they were clear, I went along on my way.

Several minutes later, I am in the fitting room, and I hear on the walkie-talkie, “Hey, does the discount work on a shirt or denim shorts?”
“No, only regular jeans.”
“Well they said someone told them it works.” I turned my head faster than the world spins; I’m quite sure the earth stood still for a moment in consideration.

I stalked out of the fitting room, straight to the cash registers; nay, I stomped, bashing floor tiles as I walked. I turned the corner, and there they were, the two Korean women, playing tricks. I go up to them, shaking my head.
“For shame, you lie. You know I told you it doesn’t work. For shame!”
The cashier turns to me, “Are you speaking to me?” She has just given them the discounts, which they know they should not have gotten.
“No,” I point at the women, “They asked me, and I told them it doesn’t count. They lied. For shame. Shame on you! How embarrassing you have to lie. For shame!” I continued to speak to them as children, shaking my head, and their only response was to turn away, looking down, because they couldn’t make eye contact with me. I also made the ‘tsk, tsk’ sound, just for emphasis. I will explain all of this later. I kept saying “Shame, for shame!” as they took their ‘deals’ and walked away. I will not be forgetting people who lie, especially using me for that cause.

So what just happened? Shall we explore it?
You see, many Asiatic cultures, especially around Vietnam, China, Japan, and Korea have ancestor worship. They live as examples of honor and respect for their family and those who came before them, this often includes anyone of their culture whom is older than they. My words were chosen correctly, because if I challenged them, if I said they lied in a different fashion, then they would have and could have yelled back. When have you not seen a Korean being lectured, who yells back and get obnoxiously loud? When they are wrong.

I spoke to them as a child, as they too have spoken to their children who lie, who do bad things, telling them to be ashamed of themselves. They have made their parents, their parents-parents, and all their ancestors who no longer live bear a sign of shame because of their actions. This I reminded them, by saying “For shame,” over and over, so they knew, they would get their discount, but at what cost? They lied to save a few dollars, that is embarrassing, it is disrespectful to me, and brings shame to them and their houses. All the spirits of their family will look down on them as they carry their disrespect and shame. All to save a few dollars. For shame. For shame!

They could not get mad or yell at me, as they have done. They cannot have long discussions and questions challenging this rule or that rule, as many do every single day. They knew they were wrong, and admission of this fact was their inability to look at me, or speak. They knew who was right and who was wrong.

As my coworkers gasped in amazement, I just shook my head. The older Korean women looked down, not making eye contact with me and walked away with their discounts and their pride broken. They’ll know better next time than to lie, especially to me or about me. I told my coworkers, those women will need to put out some extra oranges in their shrine tonight for the deals they got.

Customer Types: Capitalist, The Liar

Manual Labor

April 25, 2010

A woman and her husband have a credit card strip which doesn’t work–its been de-magnetized–so I have to input it manually and then slide it through a machine which makes a physical copy of the credit card number. (It basically rubs a receipt against the credit card.) I tell them I’m doing this.

The guy laughs, replying, “Manual labor?! Ha-ha! How terrible for you!”

I just replied, “Yeah… Ha-ha… Thanks a lot…” I wanted to slap him in the face with the credit swipe machine.

You know what’s manual labor? Turning over that card and calling the number on the back to request a card that actually works! Compare that to the amount of time each cashier has to take manually entering your number and verifying it, times by each time you use that card–and you see how many people’s lives you’re wasting in addition to your own, because of your blatant, haughty laziness. This is the difference between members of society whom are progressive, and those who are backward-moving donkeys that ensure our social evolution is slow and tedious. Manual labor is obviously lost on you, but capitalism is not.

Customer Types: Capitalist

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, MARKDOWN!

April 24, 2010

Eeny, meeny, miny, markdown,
Make me have a big, fat frown.
I fold for you a dunce’s crown,
Eeny, meeny, miny, markdown!

I always find myself in the sale section helping customers, because so many of them float there and get stuck, like branches during a flood. We already know about the cool people with the amazing ability to find the only item left NOT in their size, so they need to ask everyone if we have just one more, somewhere, buried, waiting for them like a cheap pirate looking for nonexistent treasure while holding a torn map be bought for a pence, with a branch for a leg because he can’t afford a good peg-leg from a stool.

This time, my lovable pirate is a one wearing two eye-patches. So I ask if they are doing okay, and they shove a sweater at me, saying, “Why is this price higher than the others? How much is it?” And I look at a wall with at least five of the same sweater, in the same color, and same size–all marked cheaper. I tell them the price–from those sweaters. And I’m thinking, “Why do you want the one that’s not marked correctly? What makes this one so special? Why do you need to waste your life and another person’s life for this? And is it not common sense that this one is marked wrong?” Why in the world do you have to find the only one marked wrong, do you think you’re doing your job for us?

So they have an argument with me, obviously one-sided, because I know it’s not marked right. Then I get blamed because it’s marked wrong. It is my utter joy being the middle-man between people who just have to find the one mis-marked item and thus desire it with a grand passion, and the co-worker who decided to miss that item while fumbling through this mess of sale, which I should remind you is generally a mess because of these self-same customer rummaging through sale like a tossed salad. It’s called the Circle of Retail Life in the Sale section.

So we go to the register and scan the item–lo and behold, wait for it, wow, it is the lower price like all the other sweaters! Isn’t that amazing? Totally mind-shattering, world-altering experience. And of course, they want that sweater. (Because it is better than the other sweaters which were marked correctly, you know that, right? They are drawn to it like flies to an electric shocker just waiting for their death to come.) As they try to shove the sweater at me and pull out their credit card, I point at the long line behind them saying, “You have to wait in line first,” then I wade my way back into the river to find another branch, lost and stuck because they have to find the one unique item that isn’t like the others, because they want to complicate the world by not opening their eyes. Because, you know, the mis-marked one is so much better than the others.

Eeny, meeny, miny, markdown,
It’s not I that make you a clown.
Now go wear your deal around town,
Eeny, meeny, miny, markdown!

Customer Types: Agreeing to Disagree, The Blind, Don’t Kill the Messenger, Micromanagement, Piggies

Magnemite 6 Thundershock 11 Sonicboom 22 Spark E30 LIGHTNING/STEEL

Call me Ishmael, the Stock Checker.

April 19, 2010

Call me Ishmael. Some hours ago- really, it doesn’t matter how long- having little to no time on my hands, and marking items down and not paying attention to selling, a woman approached me seeking a great white shirt of XL size. Sent me on a journey through and around the store. In the stock room, I hid, driving off my mouth and trying to calm myself. “We are sold out and another store might have one left, so she said, rudely, ‘Just call them, I don’t want to drive all the way over there for nothing!'” Whenever I find myself growling mad all over my face; whenever a fat woman, she’ll be called A-hag, follows me everywhere I go; whenever I keep trying to find a line to call out, but none work, with only the phone in the rear of the store away from her breathing and glares; and especially whenever I am forced to make a call for a fat woman looking for a fat white shirt when I am not even supposed to be on the sales floor doing this sort of thing- then, I really, really need to hide in the stockroom and vent my frustrations about the fat woman in the white jacket, A-hag. This is my substitute for getting fired in rage…

I find the item, placing it on hold. Returning to A-hag, to say I found it, I found the great white XL shirt; it is the only one left of it’s kind, so rare and unique a top. Her companion gasps in surprise, “You called them?”–obviously she knows we don’t call other stores for these sort of things anymore, and I provided quite an profusion of kindness in exchange for her harshness and blatant rudeness. Not even a thank you.

Yet, I find A-hag with another cashier, asking her to call once again, to be assured that I was not lying, that I did not mislead her, that I did truly find that great white XL shirt; obviously with her positive radiance, people often lie to her, so that she may drive to the other store only to find out she was deceived, for there would be no XL white shirt waiting for her; since, she adds to her obesity by not even lifting a finger to call the store herself, even sweating at the thought of going to the other store, walking, gasping, reaching the store on her last breath; oh, the fifty calories she would burn. Of course, they tell her the item is indeed on hold for her, that I did not lie. I doubt she said thank you this time either.

All the while she insulted and disgraced our stock procedures, “That’s so cheap, that’s so cheap,” that our machines said we did have one left, which sold this same day, but our computers only update this information at the end of the night to say we have zero, “That’s so cheap.”

You, A-hag, make us cheap, wasting our time and energy for your XL white shirt. If you are so ardently searching for this item, this quest and journey of utter importance, it is your own, alone. “I give you the benefit of the doubt.” Go, find your great white XL shirt, I’m sure it will look smashing upon your spherical body, shamed only by your shimmering nay-say attitude. I give you the benefit of the doubt.

Customer Types: Capitalist, Don’t Kill the Messenger, Micromanagement, Modern-Day Slave-Owner, The Riddler

The Benefit of the Doubt

April 3, 2010

A customer comes in with a return, it seems her pants tore on the butt the first time she wore it. It was beyond the return period, and kind of old. She didn’t have a receipt and the item was worthless in price, but after a discussion with a manager, he told her, “We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, and let you exchange it for another pair.” So she goes off on her merry way to find a new pair of jeans. After her search, she returns to the register, and the same manager returns to help her. She now says that she had it altered and hemmed, which really does stretch our return policy. Yet, again, the manager said, “Alright, I said we’d give you the benefit of the doubt, and we will. Just this one time, you can exchange your jeans.” The story I was told, since I was nearby, but not included in this story, she exchanged her pair of hemmed, torn, used pants and got a pair of brand new pants.

Half-an-hour later she returns, and says she doesn’t want the pants anymore. She asks for specific managers by their name, none of which were working. Instead another manager comes out, since she doesn’t want the first manager helping her. She starts crying saying she doesn’t want the pants and wants her original pants back. The manager asks why. The woman tells my manager, “He called me fat.”
“What do you mean?”
“When he said he was giving me the benefit of the doubt, he was calling me fat.”
“I’m sorry, mam, but I’m quite sure he wasn’t calling you fat.”
“He was!” And the woman sobs more heavily, crying more. “He was calling me fat, and saying he’d give me the benefit of the doubt, because I’m fat!” Of course, she was about 34-inches and about five-foot two-inches in height. Yet, my manager was right, he wouldn’t call her fat, since that’s not his style. After a lot of crying, sobbing, and fat-over-usage, the second manager comes into the back to tell me and the first manager the story. A third manager comes along, one of the people she kept asking for when she was crying. We described her, and he didn’t know her at all, but went to look at the security cameras just in cast.

Because, you know, the whole world thinks she’s fat, which is why the pants tore, right? I know you’re thinking that, stop giving her the benefit of the doubt, people! Shame, shame.

Customer Types: Big Baby

Back to Cold Weather

April 3, 2010

A woman comes up to me, flabbergasted, because she can’t believe we have so much warm, heavy clothes in our store. She can’t understand why we’d be in such a warm climate and have cold-weather clothes. Actually, a lot of ‘smarty-pants’ walk by or walk through our store laughing, because obviously they’re the smart, funny one in their group, saying, “Look at these sweaters, who is going to wear that here? Ha-ha.” Jokes on you dumb-ass.

I’ll give you a moment to consider how or why a warm-weather store would even think to carry even mildly cold weather merchandise. Yes, some people do work in offices with air-conditioning. Yes, some people get cold anywhere. Did you get it yet?

“A majority of our customers are tourists coming from really cold places. They often buy these warm pieces to take back home, and many of them get a pretty good deal.”
And the woman’s response? It is actually inane.
“WELL I JUST CAME FROM COLD WEATHER! I live in cold weather all-year-long! I want warm clothes!”
Now, on one hand, yes, it’s wise to have warm weather clothes here, and yes, we always have warm-weather clothes–year-round, you just have to open your eyes and see how much we actually have and not focus on the sweaters which the tourists gather up by the handful. You also have to realize the irony of her own narrow-minded comment–you live in cold weather year-round. Where are you going to wear your clothes the longest? A week here, or the rest of the year in cold weather? I’m sure it’s fun to spend your money on disposable clothing, because you burn cash in your fireplace, but some people like to plan ahead of time and have cool, cold weather outfits that no one else can get and no one else has. Some people like to say, “Yeah, you can get that here, I bought it while I was on vacation getting a tan!”

I pity the woman who doesn’t even understand the irony of her own statements. Nor was I surprised when I showed her the huge assortment of tank-tops, T-shirts, and V-necks that we had available, and that she’d end up buying nothing.

A piece of work. A-piece-of-work. I pity her husband even more.

Customer types: Agreeing to disagree, The Dumb, Self-fulfilling Prophet

Don’t Get Me Wrong, part 2.

February 15, 2010

I am standing at the denim wall. We are having a sale on certain colors of denim–old washes out, new washes in. They won’t let me move the sale denim from the wall. So I can only put a sale sign at the top of the column.

“Excuse me, which of these are on sale?”
I show the woman which columns are on sale. (You know a column goes up and down, and a row goes left and right? You’ll need to remember this vocabulary for later.) The denim is arranged from light to dark between each style, each in separate and very clear columns. I try to keep it as organized and obvious as possible, by telling people and showing people.
“So it isn’t everything?”
“No, just the column with the sale sign on top.” I show her the two columns with sale signs above them. Out of sixteen columns, there are only two columns on sale.
“So this one isn’t on sale? I thought it was the whole row on sale.” She points from right to left. Even then, the signs are on the same row, they are not staggered, nor are the colors arranges into rows, so this would make no logical sense.
“Oh, no, it’s top to bottom, each column has different washes, and only certain ones are on sale.” I wonder again how she can think a row is on sale, when each stack is a different color.
“Why?!?” She begins to raise her voice at me.
I don’t know what to say exactly. I wonder if things have become too obvious to me. I always try to think how someone walking in would think when the see our displays, how confused can they get? Yet, I walk around the mall, and everyone else puts their denim in columns, not rows. Why? Because what if it was arranged in rows, and your favorite color is on the top row, where you can’t reach it? How sad would you be?
“This sign is totally misleading! This is false advertising! It makes no sense! It looks like the entire wall is on sale!” Now she begins to yell. Again, just two columns out of sixteen are marked with any sale sign.
I try to point out how the colors are different in each column. Because obviously, I”m not dealing with logic here.
“No, you aren’t listening to me! Listen to me, that sign up there, looks like everything is on sale!” Now she is yelling and pointing her finger in my face.
I try to explain that I tried to remove the sale from the wall, but they wouldn’t listen to me.
“No, stop! You stop talking! Right now! You aren’t listening to me! Listen to me! Why don’t you put these denim in rows, it would be easier to follow! It wouldn’t be so confusing! I’m not stupid, don’t treat me like I’m stupid! I know! I know a lot! Don’t think I don’t know! Do you understand me? The way your denim is set up makes no sense! You don’t understand! You have no idea! You’re not doing anything right! What’s wrong with you? You’re going to lose so many customers like this! You have to change this! This is false advertising!”
I have nothing to say, but my eyes are watering. I tell her again, the walls have always (and I mean always) been set up in columns (including any store that sells denim). The sale sign is on top of each column that’s on sale, what else is there to say?
“You aren’t listening to me! Listen to me, right now, you tell your bosses they need to change this, because it makes no sense! This wall is misleading. How can anyone shop here? Listen to me! You can’t treat customers like they’re stupid! Do you hear me! Don’t tell me what I know or what I don’t know! Because I know! You’re the one that has everything wrong! You don’t understand anything! You don’t tell me I’m wrong! You hear me? Don’t tell me what I know! Do you hear me? I know! I know!” I do believe, she’s already spit on meĀ  in her rage–not on purpose, I hope. If I had the freedom to act, right now, I would definitely do more than spit. Do people really think they have the ability to speak to other people in this way? In what situation can I walk into any place of business and start acting this way? Is this seriously how society sees retail, as some invisible border where you can suddenly lose all manners and responsibility, and just be totally rude, disrespectful, and ignorant?
I stand there for almost fifteen minutes listening to her telling me what’s wrong and what needs to be done, how much she knows about things, and how much I don’t know about things; how much I don’t understand anything about customers or marketing, or what customers think or need. She told me everything I needed to change, everything I needed to stop doing, everything that was wrong with our store.
I know my face was red, my eyes were watering, and I was shaking, because the last time someone did that to me, I almost broke their fingers–one at a time. I actually just wanted to quit, so I could slap her across the face. After she left, I wanted to leave the store, so I could find her in the mall, and give her my peace of mind. These are people that would have much less backbone outside, where they’d consider me an ‘equal’, but just because I have a crappy retail job, they ‘think’ they have some superiority that makes them better than me. That is one of the greatest follies of the state of retail. Why do we empower customers with this ridiculous, in-genuine sense of power?

If you actually think you’re better than someone because you have money, then you actually are worthless and truly need the money to give you a delusion of grandeur. Amazing people are superior in many ways that don’t include money. If you value yourself totally by the money you possess, then you are a sheep of society who has little idea of the true worth of things around you–when you find the one thing you truly want that can’t be bought, you’ll understand.

I do all I can to try and benefit the customers, I do all I can to try any make it easier for them, I even challenge the management to change things to make it easier for customers (which of my coworkers actually do this?)–of all the people to yell at, to belittle, and treat like a child–I am the last person to do that to. After her, I stopped trying so hard, I stopped working as hard to try and help out the customers–taking their crap, dealing with their stupidity, practicing patience in the face of insolence. I gave up, and I was no longer the guy that ‘wow, nothing ever bothers you, whatever you’re on, I want some, too’. That person was officially dead.

Later, I told my manager what happened, and they all gasped, saying, “You never need to put up with that! Ever! If anyone ever does that again, you have every right to turn and walk away from them. And if they don’t stop, tell a manager and they will be taken off the property. We don’t accept that kind of treatment to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Ever.”

Don’t Get Me Wrong, part 1.

February 15, 2010

This will be one of my few two-part blogs, which is only meaningful, like season finales, as telling a longer story and having an inevitable movement, development, and transition. You see, I don’t stand against customers. I actually stand for customers, which makes their insults, attacks, and actions that much more offensive, because it actually matters to me–they matter to me.

I have always stood on the side of the customer, to benefit the customer, because of my backgrounds in marketing, selling, and psychology. I actually do believe we need to set-up displays, marketing, and even customer-service to benefit the customer, to help them buy what they want to buy; in contrast to trying to make people buy what they don’t want to buy through coercion and trickery, i.e. credit cards. In order to do this, I have always pushed for improvements. Once, I went to the district manager, just to ask her if we can alter the order of our sizing, so it’s easier for customers to reach–i.e. smaller sizes near the bottom and larger sizes near the top of columns. She agreed to this, saying, “We already have a language barrier with our customers [like Japanese tourists], what does it say to them if we put their sizes out of reach?” Exactly.

I always move things around, as much as I can, trying to help out the customers. I try to train my co-workers to know things which will best benefit the customers. I put marketing, not to be pretty, but to be helpful and easy to read and recognize. I do what I can to remove confusion from the workplace. I don’t step into the store as an employee only, but also through the eyes of the customers.

I do realize and understand the majority of customers that are rude and irritating are, in fact, also stupid, some abnormally so. I just take greater offense when they take out their stupidity at me, as if I did things to make their life miserable, that I don’t do anything to help them. Even when I’ve met regional vice-presidents, I tell them the things customers tell me, I ask for solutions to problems that seem persistent and unresolved. I am one of the few people to consistently fight for better selling, to work out ways to help the customer. I actually do try to do something about problems, I don’t believe in complaining for the sake of complaining.

Don’t complain about things that can be solved.
Don’t complain about things that can’t be solved.

Why am I writing all this? Well I could write more, but honestly, I’m writing this so you don’t get me wrong. I’m not out to hate all the customers. I actually want to find solutions to these problems, and I do believe these problems can be solved. I do believe this society, this culture can actually evolve to remove this abscess of needing to think, needing to be respectful, and turn retail into an act of social interaction that is enjoyable and not riddled with the lacking points that capitalism seem to instill within it. People don’t need to be idiots, companies don’t need to come up with hundreds of rules and clauses to control rampant idiocy, and people can be respectful to each other, not because they have to, but because they want to.

Now, I will write about the customer that broke my resolve, the one customer of all the customers that made me want to cry on the sales floor and made me stop taking their crap, their insults, and their attacks upon my intellect, my self-esteem, and my pride…