I work for The Man on the weekends. This means I work at a store in the mall, a really terrible mall, for three days in a row. This means I serve over-privileged white people all weekend long. This means I work in a rather “posh” mall that serves the upper middle class suburbs of northern California.
This means I hate my job.
Let me get this straight right away. I actually love my job. I sell candles, really great smelling candles that are worth every single cent the company I work for charges. I get paid to smell great smells all day and to tell people about how great all the smells are until they buy one. I work twenty hours a week, go to school, and my life is pretty damn awesome. But, most of the time the people that come into my store are complete and total assholes. Really terrible people. We’re talking moms who give their five year-old children Double Venti Super Espresso Frappawhatsits (no whip, nonfat) and yell at sales associates for telling them they can’t use five coupons at once. Usually those people getting yelled at are sixteen year-olds, and it’s their first job so they cry, and Super Mom 2012 feels really great about herself.
Not all of these people are awful; for every five really shitty people I meet, there is always one really great person who comes in and makes it all worth it. For example, just today, a guy walked in and I greeted him, “Hello! How are you today?” and he responded with such a genuinely peppy “Hi! Ohmigosh I am so great, how are you?!” that it made my whole morning. I made it the rest of the day on the positivity of that guy. Later, I accidentally greeted someone that I thought I knew but didn’t, and the problem was that I greeted them like I would have greeted the person I knew. It was one of those long, drawn out, “HEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYY” the kind of “hey” that is usually followed by “girlfriend.” I always say this ironically to the person that I thought this person was, and the person I thought this person was would have totally understood what I was doing, but since it was one of the Stepford Wives, she looked at me like I was a total fucking moron. To deflect the situation – and to try and relate to her on a human level – I said, “Oh, hello! I thought you were someone I know which is why I just greeted you like a crazy person. How are you today?” To which she replied, “Yeah.”
Her daughter was a total bitch, too.
As angry as I want to be at these people, I can’t be. Let’s think about this: they are so unhappy and in such a place in their lives that they can’t even humor a total doofus who obviously just put her foot in her mouth and is trying to recover. They have no sense of humor and probably lead a pretty boring life. OR, they could just be having a bad day. I prefer to think they are ALL really nice people, and I just happen to only see them on the worst day of their lives.
And then there is the psychic lady. Psychic lady is psychic. She gives us all “readings.” She also buys candles that she ends up hating and returns. Insert cliché psychic joke about how she should have known she wasn’t going to like them.
Then there is crazy lady who drives from the Bay Area to Roseville just to come to our store, making stops at all the other candle stores on the way up. But, she is actually really nice. Just a little kooky.
And then there are the Super Moms. Super Moms, like I said before, have a tendency to fill their kids with coffee and sugar, buy them whatever they want, make passive aggressive remarks to their husbands, and tap their acrylic nails on the counter and perpetually ask the question, “Just how long is this going to take? I am in a rush.” I always want to say, “If you are in such a rush, why did you come to the mall? This isn’t a fast food restaurant. It’s the goddamn mall, where people like you come to shop as slowly as possible and then bitch about all the other slow people.” Instead, I do what my grandma always says to do: Kill Them With Kindness. I revert to my sickeningly sweet attitude where I move even slower, wrap their candle in extra tissue, double bag their bag, remove and place candles back in the bag to get just the right fit. I offer to input their email for coupons, I tell them about all the upcoming sales, and I give them more information than necessary on their car freshener purchase. What would have taken five minutes to complete, had they politely asked me to move quickly, now takes ten.
Is this fair? Probably not.
It is ethical? Not really.
Do I recommend treating people this way? Usually, yes.
Am I abusing what little power and knowledge I have to make myself feel better about my job and humanity, and does this maybe make me a little pathetic? YOU BETCHA.
And anyway, I have a BA in Philosophy and I am getting my Masters in English. So, suck it shitasses of the world. I’m stoked about my life and you should be, too! Maybe if you got stoked on something you wouldn’t be such a SHITASS.
On another note, No Coffee is going swimmingly. I had one bad day on Wednesday. It went like this: I was looking for a place to sit in the Student Union and I chose the first open seat I saw, not realizing until it was too late, that my seat was right next to the coffee bar of Java Shitty, and I was subjected to the delicious aroma of freshly burnt coffee and cream. For a moment, I felt like I might break, and then I remembered how I felt last week after my fourth cup of coffee. Then I remembered how much money I spend per week on coffee. Then I took a sip of my super rad fruit smoothie, and the world was at peace again.
Coffee, my dear, you have been beaten. It was sweet knowing you, but I have moved on to greener pastures.
Here is a link to a pornographic Victorian Novel:
And hey, just be positive and do what makes you happy. As long as you are doing what makes you happy, you can deal with the shitasses of the world. If you are only doing what you think you should be doing, or what other people think you should be doing, or doing what you think will make you a ton of money, you will get really bitter really fast. If you are actively searching out that which makes you happy, nothing can get in your way.
Trust me. I know.
(Shakes head all disgusted like) I know exactly what you mean. I live in the same county….
Those are the snotty people I write about! lol
My daughter worked at a fast food joint in Chesterfield Township, your story mirrors hers …
Great post. 🙂
Thanks for the comment! I will have to visit the mall in Troy at some point. My goal is to meet every terrible person in the world so that I may develop an accurate scale of shitassness.
Oh, (Giggles) almost forgot. If you really want to see some snobby people, go to the the mall in troy! lol 😀
Haha. Omg that totally made my morning. I really like how you totally dropped the Victorian lit link in there totally non chalant. That book is intense and I encourage anyone who likes to read erotica to read it. My eyes were opened by a little book called vox by Nicholson Baker. Such a great read. Look at me going on a crazy tangent. Those damn super moms think they know everything. Sorry you got pregnant right out of high school and couldn’t fulfill your dream; just don’t take it out on us “little people”. Oh and by the way, your husband hates you. XD lots of love.
You made me so stoked! Love your writing, Amanda! And the fact that you can do it while working 20 hours a week and being a full time grad student is kind of blowing my mind.
I love the way you write and I am SO JEALOUS you’re in a master’s program for English. These posts are entertaining. Love it.
Just subscribed and can’t wait until the next one.
Thanks! Love your blog, too. Totally girl squeaked with excitement when I read your comment.
And by the way, my boyfriend is studying physics and engineering and all kinds of math type things I don’t understand, so I get the cheesy puff incident. I really do.