Saturday, January 26, 2008

Things I never thought I would say to my child: Part the First

"Stop patting my boobies. Those are my boobies and you don't need to touch them!"

Have some class.

I'm a manager at a store where you shop. No, really. I saw you there last week.

How did you treat me? Let me explain something. The way you treat that girl who rings you up, or that waiter who brings your food--that says a lot about you as a person. I don't lose my humanity just because I'm on the other side of the counter, but you people apparently think I do. I have been cussed out, screamed at, threatened, and called stupid or incompetent. I've had people roll their eyes, tell me that my job is low-class. I've heard, "I have a real job. All you do is fold sweaters."

(As an aside, why do people think that I'm stupid because I work in retail? I make really, really good money. I generally like the people I work with, and my job is tough and requires quite a bit of brainpower. I manage sixty plus people. I hold immense amounts of information and am expected to access it at any given time. I know the policies, the computer programs, and information about over a million pieces of product that are sitting in my store at any given time.)

So let's just get a little something straight: If you're treating me and my associates like crap, you are the stupid one. 9.85 times out of 10, you are the one in the wrong. You don't have your receipt. You didn't read the sign. You didn't read the return policy that is printed on every receipt and every single register--that is the absolute number one reason I get screamed at. Our return policy is not complex. It is not any different from most of the stores out there. (Though you seem to think it is, but trust me, it isn't. I've been in retail for a long time, and I am a pro shopper.) You think you're special and the rules don't apply to you. You're wrong. You mean nothing to me, and the more you scream, the more you fight, the more you tell me how ridiculous and stupid I am, the less I care about retaining you as a customer. To tell you the truth, I never cared that much in the first place. We are a massive chain store. We are not Ann Taylor. We don't care about having that special relationship with you. You're nice to us, we're nice to you. Thank you for shopping here and have a nice day. You scream that you're never fucking going to shop here again unless we do what you want us to? Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. There are millions of other people who can act civilly who will buy the merchandise you just left behind.

Who raised you, that you will pick merchandise up, examine it, and then throw it on the floor? Barn animals? I hate to think of how your children act at their playmate's houses. People love to say to me, "That's your job." Well, first of all, it's also your job to act like a human being and not some kind of beast. It's your job to consider how hard the people here work and have some fucking respect for them. But second of all, no, that's not my job. My job is not to follow every person in this store around and pick up the things that they have strewn about. It's not my job to refold every sweater you touched because you apparently don't know a)what size you wear and b)how to take a sweater off of a table without messing up every single item on that table. It is not my job to remove every item you dumped on a table because you are too lazy to walk ten feet and put it where it belongs. It is part of my job to do necessary cleanup in order to make this store look nice. It is part of my job to help you have a pleasant experience, but I can't do that because you have made a pigsty out of my store. You've taken a pair of shoes out of the box to try them on, and then left both the shoes and the box in the middle of the floor for me to trip over. You've let your whining, screaming children run rampant, pulling clothing off of the hanger, throwing basketballs and stuffed animals through the aisles. (Oh, and when I say, with a bright smile, "Please don't throw things in the store, guys!" you freak out on me and tell me not to tell your kids what to do. THEN CONTROL THEM.)

Then you get to the counter. You are first angry because we didn't open up a whole new register line just for you, so that you wouldn't have to wait five whole minutes. Poor you. Please do not ever tell me you are in a hurry. Please do not expect me to feel sorry for you. This is not a grocery store. You did not have to come in here today for milk or eggs. Your need for a tee shirt or a pair of flip flops is not an emergency and if you don't have time then you should not have come in here. You are angry again in a few minutes because you do not understand the concept of waiting in line. A second register opens up because five people have gotten in line, and none of you understand what "I'll take the next customer in line," means. It means the customer standing directly behind the one who is being rung up. Not the customer who runs the fastest. Also? I am not a referee. I am not going to mediate a dispute about who was next, so do not come up to me and get in my face that I should've taken you first. That is most definitely not my job.

We then come to the variations on the same theme: I do not understand what a coupon means, I do not understand the return policy, I do not understand that when a sign says "Tee shirts, 2 for $10" it does not mean that the pants on the same rack are also 2 for $10, and no, that is not false advertising or bait and switch. That is you and your inability to read.

If you do not have your receipt, I will not be giving you any form of money back, nor will I be giving you any merchandise. You will receive a merchandise certificate in the mail. Period. No questions. I will not override anything--as a matter of fact, I cannot. The computer programs that we have do not have override codes. period. Do not tell me you worked in customer service and you know that I can. (If you worked in customer service, you should know how mean people are, and stop being such a prick.) I. can. not. You make speak to customer service, certainly. Here is the number, my name is Jackie, here is the store number, and my position title. Customer service will be happy to explain the return policy to you the same way that I just did. Customer service will tell you that they stand behind me. And when you're on your way out the door, I will tell you to have a nice day. And you will tell me to fuck off, because you were raised by white trash, and now you think your credit cards stand for having real money. But people with real money generally have some class, and you? Have none.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

No way.

They just said "posse" on Law and Order. No, really? People do not still say posse, do they?

Random Randomness

Law and Order is on my television. I don't even know what flavor of it I'm watching. (There's, let's see, Criminal Intent, Beef Flavor, Plain, with garlic...)
Leila just asked me, very nervously, if I should be watching this bad show. Perhaps some Dora the Explorer or Disney branded mess o' colors would be more appropriate for the the stinker.
Ugh, Dora, how I hate you. Let me count the ways. I hate your perky voice, and your random words o' Espanol. I hate your many, many, plastic products.
The problem is, when you have a smallish child, people randomly give them gifts. And these gifts are not the things you would actually purchase for your child. So, even though I encourage a Montessori lifestyle for my child with the sorts of playthings that relate to real life, somehow she ends up with random Dora the Explorer lunchboxes and plastic blocks with cartoon animals.
It's hard to say something about it, though, when I'm the hypocrite who buys her Barbie dolls. I can't help it, though! I grew up on Barbies! My Barbies had sordid love lives, always cheating on Ken dolls, having babies, wearing stylish duds.
(This episode of Law and Order is a crazy amount of stupid.)
Anyway, I loved me some Barbies. I played with them way past an age when I should've moved on. And though Barbies seem much more tarty now, (I affectionately refer to one of them as "Fallen Swan Barbie" in a very genteel manner.) I can't help but buy them. Even at three Leila embroils them in immensely complex interactions.
I figure it evens out, since she doesn't own anything with a Disney brand name (including clothing. Winnie the Pooh makes me shudder.) and we don't watch a lot of cartoons.
But if she starts wearing miniskirts and glitter lipstick, you all know who to blame.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I do NOT have an attitude problem.

A customer told me that I have an attitude problem the other day. I found it amusing. Generally, customers say nasty things because, well, they're angry. You didn't give them what they wanted. Poor customer. You'll just die if you don't get that $7.50 back in cash instead of a merchandise certificate.
After the encounter, I popped around and asked a few associates if they think I have an attitude problem. Mostly, they laughed in my face. My associates love me madly, right down to my propensity for dancing in the aisles and my threatening to stab them with broken hangers. I hear a lot of, "You want me to work Saturday? Are you the one closing? Okay, sure."

Now. I know I can cop an attitude. And I know why people think I do. Because as soon as you start acting like a prat, start getting in my face, raising your voice--it's gone. My happy, perky, freckled face will fall right off. I will look at you over the top of my glasses, and my body language will start screaming at you. But it's okay. I still say, very nicely, "I'm sorry you feel that way. Unfortunately, our policy is (fill in the blank) and I am unable to change that." The words are nice. The tone is fine, if a little flat. But everything else is screaming, "Do you think you can talk to me this way? Do you? I oughta..."

I need to be better at this in my personal life. I generally take the abuse because, what can I do? This isn't a customer, it's my friend, my family, etc. (By the way, if you're saying "ex lose. It's et cetera. Say it right.) But I should learn how to man up, get those shoulders up, that fake smile turned on, and say, "No, I can't do that right now. You watch Leila tonight, I have plans," with the sweetest smile ever. I should know how to say, "I've asked you several times not to suggest she go to Islamic school, do not make me tell you again."
I should say, "Stop playing with me. We're not a family. And if you want to be one, you need to do more than have sushi sometimes. You can start with a heart-rending apology and see how far it gets you. I don't know that it will get you anywhere. But at least we'll both know where we stand, for the first time in years."

Monday, January 07, 2008

I don't like the drugs, but the drugs like me.

I've had a post rolling around in my head for a couple of days. Two, in fact! One, a deep look at tragedy and fear and love. The other a vituperative rant on the evilness of customers and their filthy, nasty attitudes. Neither are going to happen tonight. I need more introspection for the first, and more energy for the second.

I think I will stumble my ambien-filled noggin to bed, and try to post tomorrow. I have things to say, just not enough time to say them all.

Friday, January 04, 2008

That's gonna leave a mark.

I am a bit behind on posting this, but a few weeks ago I took a tumble, and felt that I needed to put it up here in order to establish precedence. Because something like this will happen again. And you need to know how spectacularly clumsy I am.

On the first day of seventh grade, I tripped over a rock, breaking my middle finger. It's still a bit crooked. In sixth grade, I wrecked my bike into a guardrail/fence, leaving scars on my lip and chin. (You can still see them if you're paying attention, especially now that I don't wear makeup.) I also have a scar from when I was four--my cousin dropped me on my head, sending me skidding into the corner of the oven. Obviously this runs in the family. Oh! And! My knee has a nice scar--I was around ten, and tripped over the edge of one of those inflatable pools. God, I'm awesome.

I think tonight takes the cake, though. Not many people can cause their bodies this much harm by falling on the carpet.

See, I take this medication, trileptal, and it makes me dizzy and generally drunk-acting. But sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, after it wears off a bit, so I take ambien, too. I work at four in the morning, so I go to bed pretty early, and usually only wake up once, around 12 or so. Tonight, I had a nightmare, and my nightmare woke me up. I thought I needed to pee, so I crawled out of bed, stood up, and tipped right over. But wow, I really have to pee, and I'm still sort of in this nightmare, and need to do something really important. (Don't remember what.) So I started making my way to the bathroom, made it almost there, and BOOM, y'all, I went down like a ton of bricks. And it HURT. I'd gone face-first into the carpet, biting my lip hard, and banging my knee (which I injured when I tripped and fell on the sidewalk three weeks ago)
I howled. Like a crazed baby. There was blood everywhere, but I couldn't tell where it was coming from. I couldn't see straight, because I was so dizzy. Blood dripped all over the carpet, onto my arms, smeared all over my face. I decided it was from biting my lips. I got to the bathroom and pulled myself up to the sink (still can't see straight) I rinsed my arms and face off, but am still bleeding actively from my mouth. Cry some more. Decide to crawl back to bed (literally) and sob the whole way there, because my knee hurts.

I call Feroze. Maybe he can come over and see what's wrong with me? He doesn't pick up. David says I should go to the emergency room, but I can't g et it together enough to get a cab. I fall back asleep, still bleeding. Feroze calls me back at 11:30 and instructs me to get up and put a washcloth with ice in it over my cut. I can finally see straight, so I limp into the bathroom.
Oh, holy fuck.
I've cut a huge, fleshy gash right below the left side of my lip. It looks like I stopped just short of biting my own damn lip off. I close my mouth and my jaw shoots blinding pain up into my temple. I have scabby carpet burn on the left side of my face.
Feroze drove me to the emergency room, where they x-rayed my jaw and my knee, said I probably just sprained them, and cleaned out my huge, nasty cut. My doctor said it is a cut with clean edges, so he wants to just let it heal instead of stitching it. I just stared at him, because oh my lord, does this cut look awful to me. He sees it on my face, and reassures me that he's doing the best thing.
Holy Fuck, does my face hurt this morning. They gave me percocet, which I am going to have filled, and an irrigation solution for my mouth. The left side of my lip is so swollen my mouth doesn't close right. I look like a prize fighter, and I am definitely going to have another scar. A large one.
Ouch, y'all.

Now, as a follow up, I'd like to let you know that I no longer look like a prizefighter. I have a nicely forming scar directly under my lower lip, with a lovely lump of scar tissue involved. Mostly, I look normal. My fake smile, my favorite smile of all time for dealing with customers and other assholes, is impossible to give now. When I stretch my lips over my teeth, the lump shows, and looks scary. Gotta figure out a new way to show disdain. Tragic, really.

Existentialism: Leila style.

My darling love of a child just asked me, "What does God mean?"
~crickets chirp~
"God and Allah are the same, honey."
"Why do we need God?"
~crickets chirp, very loudly~
Now, it isn't as if I couldn't think of an answer. I could think of lots of answers. But none of them seemed quite appropriate for my three-year-old. After I few false starts, I finally said, "Because He takes care of us."
I try really hard not to lie to Leila. My parenting style is rather blunt, though I think it's loving. When she asks big questions, I try to give short, simple, honest answers that make sense to her.

Unfortunately, my answer doesn't quite reflect what I believe. I believe God loves us, but I don't believe He "takes care" of us or "shelters" us, as many of the hymns from my childhood claim. My views of God are still developing. I grew up a hardcore Christian, somewhat conservative. I don't hold those views anymore, but I still believe in God, still have faith in Him.

But does He really take care of us? That goes against a lot that I have seen in my life. It would imply that He only takes care of some people...and the rest of people, those trapped in war zones, for example, are just SOL. I believe that God loves us. That's different.

So what is God?
And why do we need Him?

I don't have an answer.