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You don't need wide lawns

You don’t need wide lawns

Saturday, November 19, 2011
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks, cranky AztecLady

Back in the day (gah, probably more than two years ago), before I got a job, I used to read Wide Lawns and Narrow Minds at least a couple of times a month. At the time most of the posts were highly entertaining, sarcastic accounts of the blogger’s working life at some country club where the neighbors have more (much, much more) money than sense.

I laughed and laughed at some of those people’s antics, perfectly capable of imagining most of the ridiculous, outrageous and frankly stupid situations, conflicts and confrontations she described there. Not only is a sense of entitlement expected from people with money to spend on meaningless luxury, butĀ  I’m a bit of a misanthrope, willing to think badly of humanity at large–which is interesting as I can’t manage that much cynicism when it comes to people I do know, even slightly, in a round-about-not-quite-know-you way *waving at Las*

Then I got the job and don’t find those accounts as innocently funny anymore.

AztecLady after a full shift
I work in the food industry, at a franchise that sits somewhere between say, Olive Garden and Burger King. People get healthier food, prepared pretty much on the spot and at a reasonable enough price, but there are not table linens or waiters. My specific location, very close to my house (which was a lifesaver for the first year, as I didn’t have a car and had to ride the bike to and from work), is smack dab in the middle of a just there middle class residential area. Up to last year, more people owned their houses than rented them, and very few of them didn’t own a car (I should know–more often than not I was the only bicyclist in the road, no matter the time of day or night).

However, the sense of entitlement? Right up there with crazy let’s burn money people down where Wide Lawns’ blogger used to work. You would think that wearing a uniform and sporting a name tag automatically divested you of your humanity, and that paying less than US$10 for lunch made a customer your owner forever more.

After close to two years of dealing with this, anywhere from five to seven days a week, the only thing that gets me back there is the thought of the paycheck–and I’m seriously considering investing a dollar a week on lottery tickets, see if that’ll buy me emancipation.

I think it would be a lot less futile, a lot less expensive and definitely healthier than drinking myself stupid every other day after work, as some of my coworkers do. And since I can’t afford to walk out, as someĀ  other of my now ex coworkers have done, I can almost see it as a reasonable investment into a future where I don’t go postal on the next person who comes to me with an almost empty plate and tells me she didn’t like what she ordered (even though she almost ate the whole thing) so could I give her a full portion of something else now? oh and make it to go because she cannot ‘waste’ (her term) any more time here.

The definite upside is that I’m now a much better customer myself whenever I must deal with customer service representatives anywhere–it’s absolute hell on earth, dealing with entitlement for a living.

God, grant me some more patience.


  • Las
    November 19
    4:40 pm

    Ha! Thanks for the shout-out!

    I once read something like, “Show me a person with a deep disdain for humanity, and I’ll show you someone who’s ever worked retail.” I think the same applies to food service. I don’t miss it at all. I really think a lot of the nastiness comes from people getting off at having someone “beneath” them. It would drive me crazy when managers would give in to the most obnoxious of customers just to shut them up, because I felt they were just encouraging bad behavior.

    It definitely made me a better customer, and I judge people on how they treat food service staff.


  • Lori
    November 20
    5:00 am

    Amen sistah.

    Hardest job I ever did was retail. The amount of abuse that customers would heap on us and management would always side with customers… And having people talk about you to someone else while you’re standing right there…

    I work in an office now and even though it’s still a form of customer service it’s a hell of a lot better. And whenever I have a bad day and think I want something different I remind myself of the time a customer threw merchandise at me and then a few minutes later the boss told me I didn’t have a right to refuse that same customer service.



  • These days I’m what they call a ‘shift supervisor’ (nothing more than a glorified minion, really), which means that I’m one of those management type people who have to ‘side’ with the customer, give them freebies and coupons and abject apologies in order to keep them happy–all the while understanding that the customer is not right, that the employee did nothing wrong, and that if I don’t at least pretend to reprimand the staff, it’s my job on the line.

    Soul sucking job if there ever was one.


  • Throwmearope
    November 23
    3:40 pm

    Working in hotels on the front desk was bad, too. The “public” knew that they’d never see you again, so there was no need to be polite to a mere desk clerk. Even had a couple of people try to assault me, but in those days I was young and agile.

    A friend of mine was forced to cash a check at axe point once. Kid you not.

    But I was in school, working toward my life’s goal and I decided, water off a duck’s back.


  • Anon 76
    November 30
    9:15 am

    Oy! I can so relate.

    Right now I am back in a factory, but I spent many years in a number of different service industries. (Factory work has more back-biting and political manipulation going on than many of the other jobs I’ve had. I take along my “chill pills” – nicorette gum – lest I actually “reach out and touch someone”. LOL)

    I’ll take it over the service industry, though.

    At one point I was working as a floating teller for a bank. I assisted one elderly gentleman in reconfiguring his certificate of deposit accounts to gain him the maximum yield with least exposure. Everyone marveled at how I’d manage to tame the old curmudgeon because he thought I was the best thing since sliced bread.

    Then I made the mistake of dying my hair from brunette to blonde. (One and only time I tried that and for good reason.) Same man two weeks later came to my window to do business and proceeded to turn around to a packed lobby and state, “It’s okay, sweetie, I understand all this money business might be over your head. Take your time.”

    Say what? I never corrected him, but it took everything in me not to tell him where the bear shits in the buckwheat!

    Somehow I found that no less irritating than being asked if we served cum milkshakes when I worked as a third shift truckstop waitress. Grr.


  • […] griped repeatedly here about horrid customers who seem to relish treating servers, waiters, cashiers […]

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