Is there some kind of well-known phenomenon in which people forsake even the smallest, tiniest, infinitesimal amount of common decency they have when in the presence of those in the service industry?
Because with how fucking common it is, there damn well should be.
I’m an asshole. A jaded, cynical, at times even misanthropic piece of shit, and I blame it entirely on being a cashier for 4 years.
Not because it’s a dead end job. Not because the pay sucks and I barely have anything left over after bills and rent each month. Not because the hours suck. Not even because it’s a hard job, because it’s not. Technically a trained monkey could do my job.
Our society is full of colossal, self-entitled, self-aggrandizing fucks who think that people in the service industry are subhuman pieces of shit not deserving of any common decency or consideration.
Granted, I know that to some extent, this is a 2-way street. If you don’t do your job, that consumer has every right to look down on you, as I mentioned in the picture of the ketchup message I reblogged earlier. If you’re a cashier that ignores a steadily growing line of customers to talk on the phone, you deserve to get fired. If you’re a waiter who ignores prospective diners for extended periods of time, you deserve to clean up a terrible mess they leave. You get the idea.
But when you get treated with scorn (or worse, completely ignored) when you’re just trying to do your job, that’s when your faith in humanity slips just a little bit. That’s when your love for fellow man goes down yet another few notches.
I’ve spent the last 4 years priding myself on the fact that even if I feel like shit, even if I’m depressed, sick, exhausted, what have you, I will still put the effort forward to treat customers well. I will still put on a fake smile, a fake mood that could almost be described as saccharine, and make sure that customer leaves with their mood elevated or at the very least, unchanged. This is fucking exhausting.
Most of the people that come into my store are decent. They may not be merry rays on sunshine, or the most talkative people, but they will pay attention to you, respond when you ask them questions, and fully comprehend anything you may tell them. In short, they treat you like a human being.
Every once in awhile (which usually works out to 4 or 5 times a night), I get what I almost always call a shitbag. A shitbag will ignore me when they walk in, regardless of whether they’re on the phone, focused on something else, or just walking into the store otherwise undistracted. A shitbag throw their things on the counter, stare at something else while I ring them up, and instead of acknowledging my existence when I ask them a few questions to wrap up the transaction (“Is this all today?” “Anything else you needed?” “Do you need a bag?”) They’ll look at the little screen on the register to see how much they owe, then swipe their card or (sometimes literally) throw their money at me. Shitbags will leave when their receipt is printed or when they get their change, without saying a word. Shitbags will make me feel worthless, insignificant, and unnecessary without even realizing it.
And that’s if everything goes off without a hitch.
God forbid something goes wrong. Suddenly, I am now the worst person in the world. I am the cause of all of their problems. I am the Antichrist, the bastard spawn of Hitler and Satan created for the express purpose of stomping puppies to death in front of their children. When I say “I’m sorry, but your card’s been rejected,” they hear “Fuck you, I intentionally kept your card from working. Also, I slashed your tires, reduced your credit score by 300 points, killed your cat, and took a steaming dump in your mouth.” When I try to explain that entering the wrong zip code on the gas pumps when swiping their card will lock that card out temporarily (which I assumed was a fairly common practice nowadays), they’ll talk over me with the same bullshit stories (“I JUST PUT IN $200,” “THERE’S $3000 LEFT ON THIS CARD,” “IT DIDN’T WORK THIS WAY YESTERDAY”) or storm out and leave, no doubt convinced that I went out of my way to make their gas station experience terrible, as if actively sabotaging their day wasn’t COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE TO KEEPING MY JOB.
You get the idea.
When did this happen? What was the turning point in our society that decided that it was acceptable to treat cashiers, waitstaff, salespeople, etc. as somehow lesser beings? When did common decency become so uncommon?