Monday, March 22, 2010

Three Back at Me

I was standing in line at Lowe's in the checkout lane adjacent to customer service. When the cashier finished my transaction (carpet ordered -- yay!), she turned to a woman who was standing about 4 feet away from the customer service counter and asked, "May I help you?"

The woman looked at her, then looked around and looked up at the customer service sign, and said, "I need customer service" in a tone clearly reserved for idiots.

"Well that was rude," I thought heading to my car. The woman was trying to help her, and she was rude. What's up with that? Is that really necessary?

After surviving the home improvement store, I rewarded the kids with McDonald's. They found a table and sat down while I attempted to place our order. I didn't really start off on the right foot. "Do you still have the Star Wars Happy Meal toys?"

I was met with a blank stare. "The toys -- for the Happy Meal -- are you still giving out the Star Wars ones, or have you run out?" I asked again, since I don't order the higher-priced Happy Meal unless it's a toy that they want, so I didn't want to pay for it, and receive a Shrek VI figurine left over from some other promotion instead of the toy we wanted.

My cashier stared helplessly and another employee came to my aid, showing me the Star Wars toys that were available. After giving the cashier the kids' orders, I tried to order an "Angus Beef Mushroom Swiss Wrap" for myself.

"The combo?" the cashier asked.

I looked up at the menu. "I don't think that there is a combo. Just the wrap."

"The mushroom swiss -- that's a burger," she said.

Looking at the prominently placed ad signage, which is actually what encouraged me to order this new item, I said, "It's a wrap. The Angus Beef Mushroom Swiss wrap."

"It's a burger," she insisted.

"I want THAT," I said pointing up at the sign hanging off the menu, and trying to take a deep breath so I didn't lose it completely. I wasn't very successful in being kind or patient when I continued to be met with a blank stare.

I looked around, and caught the eye of the formerly helpful employee. "Can you help her?" I asked, hearing the frantic tone creep into my voice as I felt my heart race.

As I waited for my order, I began to feel guilty, and I remembered my mental finger-pointing at the rude customer earlier that evening.

But isn't it different? That woman was rude to an employee who was trying to help her (and in fact moved the short distance over to the customer service counter after she got the rude answer). My employee appeared to be not quite-recovered from some sort of brain trauma.


FYI -- the Mushroom Swiss Angus Burger Wrap wasn't worth all the fuss. I like the idea of it, and the meat tasted okay, but the mushrooms were very fake and the sauce (mayo?) was sort of concentrated down at the bottom of the wrap.

Maybe it was the taste of my own anger that spoiled it for me?


Coincidentally, Carrie wrote a review about a great marriage book, in which she uses this exact same analogy about finger pointing. She even has some visuals. So go look at her pictures and read her review of What Did You Expect? and enter to win her giveaway.


Nancy said...

Totally different, and this line: "My employee appeared to be not quite-recovered from some sort of brain trauma" cracked me up. The woman in Home Depot was rude for no apparent reason, and you were just trying to place a completely reasonable order. I wouldn't feel bad at all.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Your situation was really different. It is so hard to remain patient when faced with employees who truly seem/are incompetent. I think you did a good job holding it together, while still being able to actually order what you want. :)

planetnomad said...

I think your situation sounds quite different. But I know what it's like to be shocked at someone else's rude behaviour, and then realize I'm doing something similar. I hate that! But I think it's good to be self-aware...says the woman who yelled at a scooter driver today! ;) (in my defence, I think Mother Theresa would have yelled at him! He really was an idiotic driver)