Thursday, July 06, 2006

It's hard to be a crazy person....

As per usual, it wouldn't be a berry season without at least one of the staff members having a complete and utter breakdown of epic proportions. One that leaves you screaming, sobbing, gasping for breath, and whose aftermath leaves you with a scathing batch of hives, the likes of which will leave you writhing in your bed, scratching to the point of bleeding, begging our dear lord in Heaven for some sort of relief. The type that sends innocent thirteen year olds screaming from the room, and the Berry Queen looking on in horror.

I've been serving the public in various forms now since I was sixteen. As soon as I had my driver's license, I was out there working part time hither and yon in a desperate attempt to save up money for school. I worked as a deli girl, slicing meats and making French fries and rotisserie chickens. I've pumped people's gas and made their sandwiches and swept the floors that they've walked on. I've battled it out over twenty cents worth of savings on a bag of potato chips, and haggled with people on how much cucumber they really are allowed to have on their subs.

There is a certain kind of customer out there, in every part of the world, who strives to make a service person's life miserable. I saw a girl like that on Dr. Phil once. She made it a point to go to Dunkin' Donuts every day and yell at the people working there. It made her feel better about herself.
During my years as a serviceperson I've learned that there is nothing that a person can do to appease a hysterical custmer who feels he or she has been wronged. I firmly believe that the hysterical woman who ran screaming through our parking lot the other day saying "These berries are crappy! CRAPPY! They're CRAPPY!!!" truly believed that the fruit was crappy and thus, I have better things to do than to change the crazy chick's mind.

There is a flagging system here at the berry farm. Part of my job as field manager is to keep the flagging system in check. Now, for the past three years, I've spent thirteen hours a day for three weeks in these fields, managing the flagging system, among other things. And, over the last three years, I've felt that the old flagging system had to go and thus started a new way of flagging the rows.

One man decided to become hysterical over the new system. He displayed his dismay to me by jumping around and hollering in my face. I calmly tried to explain to him that it is an attempt at wasting less fruit. This would not, of course, make him feel any better, so I moved on.

He came in again three days later and started telling me again how much more fruit we're wasting by using the new system. Because, you know, this dude spends fifteen minutes twice a year in the fields, so clearly, he's an expert.

So I blatantly ignored him. I cashed out his fruit and ignored him. Which, of course, upset the Berry King. Because really, it's rude to ignore a customer's complaint.

And I know, in the future, I will not be rude to customers. I'll continue, in the best way I know how, to pretend to be happy and jolly to each of the numbnuts that sail through this berry cave's door and inform us of a better way to run this business. Because, you know, spending fifteen minutes here twice a year makes them all experts.

The thing that started the breakdown to end all breakdowns was not this man, or the crazy "CRAPPY!" screaming lady, or any other customer.

It's that I don't understand what people want by making useless, hurtful remarks to the people standing behind the counter. What is it that they aim to achieve? Why do they march in here, dessimate the fields, criticize the staff, and march out on their way thinking they've done some good deed? What's so wrong with keeping your mouth shut, thanking the Good Lord above that you have feet and hands that will walk your sorry ass out into the field so you can pick the damn fruit, and move on?

What really weighs me down is that I always try to do my job, any job, in the best way can. I smile happily to all the customers. I make small talk with people who want to make small talk. I'm happily ignored by the people who want to ignore me. I make it a point that my counter is always neat and tidy, that the subs I prepare are, at the very least, properly folded neatly together, and that I wish every customer a good day. I even try to smile and sound like I mean it.

But people will never be satisfied. No matter how hard I work, how hard I try, I always get faced with some crabby soul who can't seem to stand my presence behind the counter, or in the field. Most people treat those of us in the service industry like dumb, unworthy idiots who aren't worth the time of day. This is what upsets me about my different lines of work.

And now those bastards have given me hives.

There is no justice.



Blogger NursePam said...

There are lots of tiny minds with poor self esteem out there. Or perhaps an over abundance of self esteem.

Just pretend that they're martians and repeat this mantra with a smile on your face: I'm sorry you're unhappy. Have a nice day!

10:49 a.m.  

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