Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Say what?

Dear Customers,

Sometimes your comments are not appreciated, and often, not invited in the first place.

A few weeks ago I was putting a carafe of half and half out on the condiment bar, and a woman stirring sugar into her coffee asked me, "Do you know anything about feng shui?" This was around 6am on a Sunday, mind you. Who asks a question at that time of day, prior to sipping their coffee? I paused, mentally checked that I was only inwardly smirking, then hesitantly answered, "Yes..."

"Do you guys do your own set up of the store?" she asked, referring to our holiday decorations. I explained that we do, but that they are according to corporate guidelines. She then proceeded to offer me tips on how to better set up the displays according to the principles of feng shui.

I am not making this up.

I was thinking, "Lady, do I look like I care? It is 6am. I am exhausted, and would not be here if I didn't have to be, please quit telling me about feng shui." When she was finished I told her, again, that the set up is out of our control and that we follow Seattle's orders, and I backed away.

Today. I am sweeping the floor and this woman is on her way to the bathroom and pauses as she approaches me, surveying the dust party at our feet and says, "You're doing a good job," then laughs and passes. I don't know about you but I was offended by this. Pointing out the janitorial element of my job. And laughing in my face. Expecting me to laugh back. I supplied her with a fake chuckle to get her to, like the feng shui lady, move along.

About 5 minutes later I am at the condiment bar (maybe I should just avoid the condiment bar, or the cafe altogether, to prevent these awful events in my life) shoving Equal and Sweet & Low packets into their little compartments when the same lady and her friends come over to throw away their empty cups and napkins. This lady makes a comment about how I am "playing with the sugar." I made a cynically polite remark back about how I am "not exactly playing" with the sugar, moreso stocking it for people like her.

Then!! She said, "making all the big bucks," and laughed. I did not laugh back, obviously, as this woman is now quite possibly very openly commenting on my meager salary and perhaps additionally insulting my occupation overall. Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe I am not.

And then. As I gave her no reaction, keeping my face toward the sugar while my mind willed her out of the store, she said it again. "Making all the big bucks," waiting for me to laugh with her.

I'm sorry, did I laugh the first time?

I didn't laugh the second time either. Finally she left.

Customers, think about what you're saying before you say it. And if you're going to insult the baristas working so very hard behind that counter, then make your coffee at home.

Yikes, I am a jerk. But seriously, who's with me? Please do this barista a favor and be extra, extra, extra nice to anyone and everyone you encounter working in retail tomorrow. It is a lot harder to do these jobs than many people think, including tasks such as "playing with sugar."


  1. Alright. You tell me when to be there, and I can be the person who doesn't work there to tell people off for you. I'm pretty good at it on the fly, and in my down time I can script some witty come backs, both appropriate for you in and out of the work place. Salary rate is negotiable.

  2. I think you're being hard on the chick that said you were playing with sugar.

    It's not her fault that times are tough for her, her husband doesn't love her anymore, and she's gotta put other girls down to help herself sleep at night.