And so (despite the title of my blog!), I've usually ignored unimportant, minor incidents, let them pass, and stayed on an even keel. But this has been a hot, uncomfortable summer so far, and I've gotten prickly, more aware of small aggravations than I usually am.
So this entry is a catalog of some of the things that have momentarily pissed me off. (Feel free to add some of your own!)
Most of these negative entries can be attributed to immaturity, selfishness, narcissism. We no longer teach people thoughtfulness, courtesy, respect. It's all about "ME"!
I work in a bridal salon. At our department entrance, we always have two sample dresses on mannequins. Prices of those dresses usually range from about $1,500 to $3,000. And every single day, almost everyone who passes thinks it's fine to paw the dresses, to lift the skirts to see what's under them, to let their small kids play hide-and-seek around them. Half the time, the customers aren't really interested in buying a wedding dress. They're just curious. Sometimes they check the price tag (understandable), but then they start grabbing at the dress.
I've never seen people pawing at mannequins in other departments. They usually look at them, maybe check the price tag, then look for the same outfits hanging on hangers. So why do they think it's fine to do it at the bridal salon?
Though I usually politely ask them to move their kids away, thoughtfully warning them that the mannequin could fall and hurt their child, I REALLY want to ask, "Would you go into Tiffany and manhandle a $3,000 piece of jewelry? So why do you think it's OK here?"
And of course the subway, as I go to and from work, is rife with instances that piss me off. The other day, across from me, there was a young woman sitting with an older woman and a small child, but on the other side of the vertical pole. A rather large (the hell with political correctness, he was FAT!) teenager sat down next to her, sort of squashing her toward the pole. She silently put up with it. But then the kid's friend incredibly sat on the fat kid's lap, further squashing the poor young woman. She endured it for a few minutes, then got up. The friend immediately took her seat, then looked askance at her, as though he wondered why she'd gotten up.
I smiled across the aisle at him (remember always to SMILE when you're telling someone off. They can't easily fight back!), and said, "She got up because you were squashing her. That was incredibly rude of you!" He didn't even flinch, nor did he get up and give her back her seat. Shame on that boy's parents, for producing such a thoughtless little shit!
But why didn't she speak up for herself? That bothers me as much as the rudeness. I've been on elevators where selfish little twits were near the front, busy texting on their iPhones, though there was room toward the back. The door opens, and the new people can't get on, because the iPhone users are too busy to notice and move back. The door closes, without any new people getting on. I don't know what annoys me more---the selfish pricks who couldn't move back, or the spineless wusses who couldn't ask them to move!
Though that can be dangerous, if truth be told! Check out the recent news story of a man in a movie theater who got annoyed at the kid behind him who kept kicking his chair. He complained, and the kid's father pulled a gun on him! But kicking kids are a menace---in theaters, on buses, on airplanes. Since the stupid parents seem unwilling or unable to control their little monsters, maybe there should be public signs in these venues, saying, "Please don't kick the seat in front of you!" Stupid people sometimes need childish instructions!
And of course iPhones lead me to a more subtle form of rudeness. (I have a particular antipathy toward the gizmos, as you may have noticed. See my very first blog entry, PUT DOWN THE DAMN I-PHONE!) That's the rudeness of people to one another.
I stopped for lunch the other day in my neighborhood. I chose a nice venue. Casual burger joint. You order food, sit at a table and wait until they call you to pick it up.Three men, clearly friends, from their few comments to one another, sitting at the table next to me. All three on their devices. Even when they went to get their food and sat down to eat, they still stayed glued to their screens. I wanted to ask why they even bothered to go out together! Self-absorbed, thoughtless "friends"! Why don't they just stay home and text their friends? It's so much easier than having to make a genuine effort to relate to the people around them!
And, back to elevators---people who are so anxious to save a few seconds that, when the doors open on a floor, they immediately press the CLOSE DOOR button. I've seen new riders nearly get squashed as they tried to enter, because the door was closing so soon! And how about the ones who push past the people with baby carriages or invalids in wheelchairs, just to be sure THEY can get on the elevator! Selfish little entitled twits!
Subway again. This afternoon, on the train, the woman next to me was going through her mail. She read the store flyers and theater promotions, the junk mail offerings, etc. She tore things up, seemed to be ripping out her address from all the mailings, etc. I paid little attention to her, but when she got up to leave, I saw that she had left on the seat a large pile of garbage, all her paper discards. Why the hell couldn't she take them with her and find a garbage pail? There are plenty of them in every subway station! She clearly had taken the address labels, which, I'm sure, she intended to throw out later. Thoughtless, lazy creature! (As for her discards, I put them in my tote until I could find the nearest trash can.)
And how about important messages on the subway? How many years will it take for the MTA to figure out that the PA system in the stations is so filled with static and back-echoes that no one can ever clearly hear what is being said? And make an effort to upgrade their equipment? (And train their personnel in how to speak clearly!) As for the messages aboard the train---the guy who comes on the PA system to explain things always sounds as though he's really too uninterested to make much of an effort. He sounds bored, annoyed that someone gave him this chore, indifferent to the riders who are depending on his words. So he speaks softly, far too quickly to catch what he's saying, and in a tone that implies that he would much rather be home watching a ballgame on TV than having to help the subway riders!
Most of these annoyances are associated with work and getting there, which is natural, since most of my interactions with people involve those days when I'm working and going to work.
But lest you think that I condemn mostly customers and USERS of services, I can assure you that GIVERS of services don't score much higher on my thoughtfulness scale! The service industry, in this day and age, mostly sucks! Clerks in stores can barely be bothered to be helpful. And if they manage to make the effort, they act as though they are doing YOU a favor! (I'm old enough to remember when "service" meant SERVICE! My customers always thank me for doing what I'm SUPPOSED to be doing, which always astonishes me.)
Far too many service people seem to hate their jobs, and it shows. (See my old blog entry, PLAY THE GAME OF LIFE WITH THE CARDS YOU'RE DEALT.) They're miserable, so they don't mind sharing their misery. Chatting with one another and ignoring customers, vaguely indicating a direction when someone asks them where to find an item, instead of going there themselves and finding the item, I've been in stores where the clerk was on the phone while he was waiting on me---and unable to answer my questions! And where is a manager in many stores (drugstores especially, as I've noticed), who sees the need to open up more check-out spaces because of the long waiting lines, and actually does so?
And of course the whole subway PA announcement debacle is a classic example of shoddy customer service. As are the grocery store shelf-stockers with their carts of boxes who expect the customer to get out of the way for THEM!
And don't get me started on waiting times in doctors' offices! Do they think THEIR time is more important than ours? And more than once, lately, having waited to see the doctor, I was seen by a physicians' assistant! Is this what I'm paying all my health insurance for?
And a recent aggravation---I was scheduled for a specific exam at a distant health facility. The facility was sending a car to pick me up. (They were paying for the car service.) About a half hour before the car's arrival time, the facility called me to confirm the appointment and tell me that the car would arrive earlier than scheduled. I was fine with this.
I was picked up shortly thereafter. Three-quarters of an hour later, the car having crawled through rush-hour traffic, I arrived at the facility. "Sorry", I was told as I tried to check in. "The machine is down. We'll have to reschedule you."
And they couldn't have told me this when they had called less than an hour before, to confirm a useless appointment? It took ages before they could arrange a return pickup, followed by the long ride home. And half of a precious day off blown to hell! (And they hadn't pre-arranged payment with the driver, so he casually locked me in the car until he got them on the phone and straightened things out!) I guess old ladies look like thieves!
I haven't included any long-ago anecdotes to this entry (which I usually do, since the topics always jog my memory!). So I'll conclude with these two recollections. And maybe if more of us reacted like this, we would get better service!
My father was a very successful businessman. He was also a superb dresser, with every detail just perfect. Custom-made suits, shirts with his monogram on the cuff (long before it was fashionable), accessories just right. And he had a strong presence, which commanded respect from others. But if he didn't get it, he would certainly let them know!
He had walked into a very posh small men's shop in New York, looking for accessories, perhaps. (Don't really know.) Several clerks were chatting together, at some distance. Not one of them made a move toward my father. They smiled at him, said "Yes?" in a questioning tone, but no one moved.
My father smiled back. "Are you busy?" he asked.
"No, sir," said one of them. (Still no movement toward my father.)
"Good!" he exclaimed, and swept his arm across the nearest counter, pushing all its contents to the floor. "Then you can pick this up." He smiled again and stormed out of the store.
The other recollection is a bit more personal. I had gone to a department store to pick up something for my then-husband. I was in the men's department. I started to speak to the clerk in front of me, pointing to the items in the case below. He was suddenly called away to the back. Apologizing profusely, he looked to the end of the counter, where a young man was riffling through some papers on his clipboard.
Bill," he asked, "can you help this customer?"
Bill looked up. "Certainly. May I help you, ma'am?"
I started to point down to the case in front of me. Then I realized that Bill hadn't moved toward me. On the contrary, after riffling through his papers again, he looked up at me once more, and said, in a rather peeved tone, "May I help you, ma'am?"
I'll be damned!, I thought. I'm the client, he's the salesman. I'm also a woman. He's a gentleman? I'm older than he is! The stuff I want is here! And he can't move his ass to come to ME?
I smiled sweetly.(Remember that!). Then said in a voice that carried to all the other customers in the department, "Certainly, young man---if you're not nailed to the floor!"
He flew to my side, red-faced.
Sometimes it pays to deal with the Aargh! moments with a little backbone.
In all fairness, I have to add this and apologize. Went to my rescheduled lab test this morning. Everyone was wonderful---helpful, efficient, thoughtful. I apologize again and take back my AARGH from the last entry (though maybe not for the driver who insultingly treated me like a potential criminal!).