Sunday, December 7, 2008


'Tis the season for fruitcake.

I hate the holidays.

I really hate fruitcake.

Why is it the holidays bring out the worst in people? The me-first attitude and those that want to use any biological difference as a way to get ahead? Or those too good to get off the phone when they talk to you?

I'm talking about people that expect the world to revolve around them. The ones that were born with the universe owing them EVERYTHING. Those that use everything as an excuse. Look at me cross-eyed? That's an excuse for me to accuse you of every venal sin ever imagined, and a few yet to come.

Yup, Today was fun.

My first fun fruitcake today was a lady that called early in the day. I was working alone on a busy Sunday. I had several customers in line and more in the aisles. Up to this point, I was doing a decent job of balancing the register with service for those in the aisles. Then the phone rang.

This fruit wanted me to look for a shoe for her boy. No problem, just allow me to finish the transaction I was in and I would look. I was told that it could not wait. I told her I would look as soon as I finished, but I couldn't even look until I freed the register so I could check inventory. She agreed to wait.

As soon as I did look, she started asking detailed questions about the product. I answered her. Then she asked me to look for another item. I advised her I had a line at my register that I must help, and that I could call her back when I had no line. She said she would wait.

So I help the line. One customer, Hispanic, complimented me on my patience with everyone (IE being able to help everyone and the customer on the phone... she was happy with me... I musta done fucked up somehow).

As I am ringing on the register, we could all hear the woman screaming at her kids about how the "idiot" on the other end of the phone was ignoring at random, and how she should come before anyone else since she was looking to buy two items.

I finally get back to the phone, locate the items she wants (I don't have them, but another store nearby does). I offer to hold the ones I do have, and she declines.

That's the end of her, right?

Hollow laugh.

Later in the day, she calls back and demands the same information from my part time help. My part-timer, who is relatively new, asks me every question that the fruitcake asks me. After the third question, I know who it is. The conversation ends with Doc offering to hold the merchandise. Again, declined.

But that's not the end.

Late in the day, she comes to my store and chews me and my newest associate out (not the one that got the call) for NOT putting her items on hold. We offer to do this twice, she declined both times, and it's OUR fault it's not on hold? What am I missing here?

I take the time to help her find what I found for her two other times today via phone. She then lays into me because I don't carry certain items that she wants. I explain that I have a smaller store, and as a result, I don't get everything my company carries. She then rips me for not forcing my buyers to send it to me. I then get a new one plastered on me since I am an ass for not knowing exactly what items and what sizes are coming on my next truck (my paperwork just tells me I have a truck coming with X number of cases).

There was just no pleasing this fiend.

I just thanked her for coming in and walked away.

My second fruitcake was one that gets under my skin easy. The "race" card.

I initiated contact with this piece of work by approaching her and her party in the aisle. I said hello and offered to help them locate their choice of items. I then told them about our current promotion and told them to call me if they needed anything before I got back to them. I then went to check on my other customers.

A few minutes later, I popped my head around the corner and asked, "are you still doing all right?". I got an earful as she was talking on her blue tooth, "I am shopping and I am not buying here. I refuse to shop where they stare at me like I am gonna steal just because I am [race excluded]".

This "lady" then went around accosting all my other customers complaining about the racist treatment she had been receiving, since I was "profiling" her and "accusing" her of theft because of her race. This actually got a laugh from a customer, who told her all she heard was me just offering to help.

I finally approached her and asked just what I did that accused her of anything. She said I was constantly checking on her to keep her from stealing. I replied that I was sorry she thought that, but I was just checking to see if she was in need of assistance, just like I do every customer that comes into my store.

She asked to see the manager. I replied, "How can I help you?" and pointed to the Store Manager badge I had on.

She finally had her family member tell her to shut up. They bought their items and left.

So apparently I am racist because I offered to treat you like every other customer in my building... smiling and offering to assist you and telling you about the deals we have, just as our corporate directive tells us to do.

Am I missing something?

As a general rule, if someone is on a cell phone, I offer to assist them quietly, and thereafter just touch base with them using a nod or hand signals until I am certain they are off their phone. Most of the time, and good smile and wave are all it takes for them to know I am there if they have a need.

Then there are the self important pricks who think the world is theirs to command.

A young lady came into the store today, and I said hello and realized quickly she was on her cell phone. I passed her in the aisles a couple of times, each time offering a quiet but noticeable "you doing OK?" as she was yakking away on the rap rod. Each time, I was ignored, even though eye contact was made.

She finally made it to the register, still managing the ear pollution for some poor soul on the other end of the connection. I complete the transaction, hand her the receipt, and she ends her phone conversation. Then the shit went postal.

"Thanks for the help. NOT!" she sniped at me and Doc.

I just said "thank you" and walked away.

Look, if you are in a conversation, I was taught not to interrupt. I made attempts to work with you, which you acknowledged. Don't get your shorts up your ass because I won't kiss your ass when you ignore me.

Besides, I don't care who your friend got blown by last night. If you are at my register, pay for your shit and get out. If you don't have the decency to talk to me, I am not going to talk to you.

I really hate fruitcake.