Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Saturday Nights Bring out the Strangest Customers

Saturday nights are boringreally boring. On a normal Saturday night I don't go out and party, watch a movie, drink beer, or do anything fun. Instead, I work. I trim fruits and vegetables to make them look nice; I put out stock and answer customers' questions, acting as counsellor and confidant. I don't get paid well or anyone's respect, but I do get meet some strange people.

What sets the last two Saturday nights apart from the others was the extraordinarily bizarre behaviour I witnessed. Customers were acting weird; employees peculiar. I can't list every strange thing I saw, but over the next few days I'm hoping to write about some of my ridiculous customer-related adventures.


"Excuse me! I want to talk to you!"

I hate that phrase; every time I hear it I know that I'm about to get yelled at. I wear the uniform of a multi-billion dollar corporation, so that makes me the entire corporation. I'm the President, CEO, CFO, front-line manger, and peon all rolled into one. If there's a problem with a product or a problem with the company, it's my fault. It's always my fault.

I know where this conversation is headed, so at least I can prepare myself for her angry gestures and flying spittle. I decide to answer her. "Yes? How can I help you ma'am?"

"I want to know why you moved all your organic stuff around. I was here last month and it was all one section. Where did you put it all?"

"It's no longer in one section," I told her. "All the organic produce is with it's non-organic counterparts. Apples are by apples, bananas by bananas, etc. It's been like that since I started five months ago."

"No it hasn't," she snapped. She was glaring at me, and every time I looked at her I swear she was squinting more and more. "I was here last month and it wasn't like that. Why'd you move it?"

I know she's lying, or exaggerating, or whatever--it doesn't really matter to me. "I don't know. It was like this when I started working here. I prefer it the old way. It would make my life much easier."

"It's stupid. I want it back to the way it was. Now I have to walk around and around to find what I need to buy, because there's no rhyme or reason to where stuff is. Tell them they're going to lose a customer. And you can tell them that I have MCS. I want to complain about the hand sanitizer you offer to your customers. I have MCS, and if I use it and react, I'll sue. I'll sue. You need to tell them that MCS is a recognized disability and they have to accommodate it. I was at the doctor's earlier today and I reacted to something. My heart rate was one-eighty. It cost me one hundred dollars to fix it. Tell them I'll sue."

"I'll do that. I'll let them know."

"Tell them that I will sue. I've sued three pharmaceutical companies and won. I'll sue. Tell them that the Canadian Human Rights Commission recognizes that MCS is a disability, so you have to accommodate me. Look it up. I will sue if I react. Tell your manager. I will sue, and I'll win. I've won against three pharmaceutical companies; I'll win against you."

"I'll look it up when I get home. I'll tell my manager next time I see him."

"You tell him. Tell him I'll sue. I've won before and I'll win again. I'll sue," she kept rambling as she walked away. And as she came back. And as she walked away again. Every time I thought she was finished, she came back. This happened 4 or 5 times.

I can understand being allergic to chemicals; all it takes for me to get a headache is to catch a whiff of marijuana smoke. Someone smokes dope; I smell it; I get a headacheit's that simple. And because I know that marijuana smoke gives me a headache, I do everything I can to avoid it.

So of course I find it strange that someone would willing use something harmful chemicals. But I left biggest question unasked: If you know you're allergic to hand sanitizer, why would you use it?

My theory: stupidity. And it's very hard to protect people against their own stupidity. Once upon a time everyone used warning labels. Today, those labels are a joke and are only good for cheap entertainment.

I think the only way we can protect everyone is to cover everything in foam and plastic wrap. And for some people, we just "forget" to cut air holes. No people, no problem.

See, I'm always looking out for everyone's best interests. By which I mean my interests.