Friday, June 11, 2010

Choose Your Attitude

I work with the public, and I don't earn a fabulous salary doing my job. I put on my work face (a pleasant smile) each day and do what I need to do. The job is not difficult, and I have been doing some version of this sort of work for as long as I remember. Do I wish I was doing something else? Why certainly, quite often, but this is available and I know how to do it well. I really don't mind the job itself, there are several people that come through the line often and share their lives with you. You earn their confidences and share in their trials and triumphs. Often common ground is discovered and you bond in a way with your customers. Other customers are larger than life characters who earn nicknames that are never spoken aloud. A very few put the workers into a sheer terror when they enter the building. A few baggers know when to scatter if one customer enters. I actually hum the wicked witches theme song from "Wizard of Oz" under my breath when I see her. She must have Alzheimer's or something but she has called everyone that works there stupid and even loudly talked about how fat a worker was. Her poison does not end there she loudly criticises the customers in line in front of her as well. Many people have left their shopping and walked out so they didn't have to deal with her.

The other day I was finishing with one customer when one of my regulars walked by. My customer burst into laughter, wiped a tear from the corner of her eye and shook her head in disbelief and said "I am so sorry, but I could not do what you do. I could not handle this all day. I don't know how you do it!" The couple that shocked her so much was an elderly couple that comes in each week. She buys a small amount of groceries and he buys a few lottery tickets. The entire time they are in the store she is following him and criticizing him and telling him how stupid he is. She cusses loudly and walks up to every worker and tells them how stupid her husband is. She wants to make sure that no fault goes unnoticed by anyone. I make a point to remain pleasant with her and to be extra nice to him. I only endure them a few moments a week but they have each other for as long as they survive. I wish I had a magic wand to tap their foreheads with and make them happy.

You can survive in retail style jobs. First you have to learn financial skills that will enable you to survive on very low pay so you can avoid as much debt as possible. Next you must shield yourself from the negativity. The political style negativity of some work environments and coworkers and the personal negativity of your customers. If you can master these skills you can work anywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Sheesh! Why doesn't management put a "trespass" notice on the difficult lady, based on causing a disturbance? If she's causing trouble with the customers, that's crossing the line.