Monday, May 10, 2010

The more things change...

My "real" job (real, in the two unfortunate senses that it's the one I spend the most time on and is the one that provides the most reliable source of income) is a customer service position and it frequently puts me in a position of having to answer for things that make customers unhappy that are not my fault. I like to think I have fairly decent communication skills (I'm a writer!) and if someone is reasonable in expressing their dissatisfaction and what their expectations are in resolving the matter, in almost all cases, it can be worked out. Then there are other people...we'll call them assholes...who are surly, uncivil and completely unreasonable. These are people who view a nametag as a target and are far more interested in expressing anger and being mean than they are in resolving a problem. This makes them feel good, I guess? They're certainly not accomplishing anything else, so that's got to be it. Normally the ratio of normal people to assholes is 9/1, maybe higher. However, there are occasions when that ratio is inverted. Such was the case Saturday night.
The day started out great; I had eight full, uninterrupted hours of sleep the night before, which hasn't happened in at least a month, maybe longer, I had a nice, healthy (and cheap) salad for lunch and I got some important errands done. Once I got to work, though, things changed. Drastically and instantly. I don't know what was going on...some people I mentioned this to suggested it's the unseasonably high heat...but everybody I encountered was pissed off about something and nasty to the point of being personally insulting. It was like a parade to celebrate National Condescending Hostility. I won't go into specifics, but more than 3/4 of the people I dealt with had issues they wanted resolved and were just downright vicious about it. It only took a couple of hours of that to erode all the positivity the morning had given me and my mood was shot less than halfway through my shift. By the end of the night, I wanted some retribution. It was my turn. I've taken more than my fair share of shit today, let somebody else take some now. Pay it forward? You bet I'll pay it forward; exactly what I'd been getting paid all day long, with interest, was coming somebody's way. I decided I was going to stop somewhere for dinner on the way home and be the most difficult patron that some server had ever had the misfortune of dealing with. I was going to order something not on the menu, prepared in a strange, specific way, send it back to the kitchen at least twice, make a mess at the table and talk to whomever the poor slob who should have called in sick was like they were not worth the effort to scrape them off the bottom of my shoe. I wanted, at minimum, tears. For them to storm out of the place in the middle of their shift, never to return and now in need of a job, would have been absolutely ideal. Hey, maybe if karma isn't bullshit (which it is), it would eventually work it's way around to somebody who actually deserves it.
That sounds harsh, doesn't it? It is. It's also kind of out-of-character for me. But as I've gotten older, I have come to regret just how much of my life I've wasted by being A Nice Guy. I have come to learn that no truer words have ever been spoken than "Nice guys finish last". Nice Guys are suckers. They're marks. Chumps. Low-hanging fruit, easy targets and stepping stones. Nice guys are, by any standard that actually matters in real life, losers. I realize that now.
Too bad I also realize that it's too out-of-character for me at this point. Either the Nice Guy/Loser gene is so dominant in me that I can't access the Winner gene or I simply don't have it. Regardless, I didn't follow through with my plan and wound up going through some crappy drive-thru where not only did I not get retribution, I didn't even get a "please" or "thank you" from the server who waited on me.
I'll probably end up working for that guy some day.

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