Maaaaybe once a year I really lose my temper with a stranger. Usually, it has to do with traffic. I think the last time I lost my mind with someone, it was in a parking lot about a year and a half ago. It was before we moved anyway. Well, I lost it again tonight. Big time. In front of masses.
Thor and I went to Ross to find new drinking glasses, a gift for Pokeno night, and I ended up with a few extras (I finally found navy blue suit pieces! yay!) I had a basket full by the time I got to the register. I stood in line for a while, then a new register opened, and since I was next, they called me over. I started that way, and a scrawny white woman came scrambling behind me, already griping about how slow the cashiers were.
Leaving aside the fact that Ross isn’t Barney’s New York, and you aren’t ever going to get 5 Star service there, the elderly woman who was working the first register was clearly moving at her top speed, and the little girl who opened her register line was also working at a steady pace. Crazy behind me sneers to the girl, “You’re going to move faster than that one, aren’t you? You can go faster than that, right?” And she nods at the elderly clerk and SNIFFS. My clerk smiled uncomfortably and kept moving through my items.
Crazy starts huffing and puffing, and muttering about speed, then she yelps, “You’re making my life hell! You’re so slow!”
Mind, the girl was working through my basket. The girl was doing her best to avoid eye contact and keep going, while the nutjob kept blurting out inappropriate comments about how slow and lazy all these kinds of workers were…???…and I was quickly losing my cool.
Finally, the clerk was on my last two items and Crazy howls, loud enough for others to turn and look, “Did you think I was kidding when I told you to hurry?! Did you think I wasn’t serious when I told you I needed you to move fast?”
And that did it. I’ve worked in retail and customer service my entire life. With the exception of a 9 month stint in a bank basement doing research and recovery, my entire career has had one thing in common: Dealing with people, and satisfying the internal/external/adjunct customer. Blew. My. Stack. It went like this:
Me: Uh…Sweetie (and lord–if you know me, you know that Sweetie coming out of my mouth is like c-ntrag coming out of Irene’s) this girl is trying to work here. A little less from you, please?
Her: She’s slow! I’m in a hurry, and she’s moving like a turtle! A TURTLE! She is making my life hell.
Me: She is working, and I don’t think she’s your problem. Leave it be.
Her: They are my problem! I’m in a hurry and–
Me: Lady, I’m sorry that my shopping has inconvenienced you, but that’s life. Now leave the girl alone and let her work.
Her: YOU haven’t inconvenienced me. THEY have! And I hate coming here they make my life hell!
Me: Then don’t come back. I don’t think they’d miss you. (and then I bellowed) NOW LAY OOOOOOOOFF!
This is when I realized I had caused quite a scene by raising my voice on the word “Lady,” and that the other clerks had paused and were watching us, too.
Her: *blink blink* I’ll lay off because you told me to, but not beca–
Me: *hand up* Thank you.
And the clerk finished my transaction, looked up with tears in her eyes and said, “Thank you for that.”
The Crazy didn’t say another word. I hope she was ashamed of herself. I hope she never goes into that store again for fear of running into that clerk. I hope she is afraid to shop at Ross for the rest of her life.