At Your Service, Part II


OK, I’ll admit it. Saying you’re going to blog every day and actually doing it are two different things. With the call of my new job, and the draining of my social battery throughout the day, I have to decide when I get home: do I want to do laundry? Watch an episode of The A-Team? Catch up on Facebook? Write a bit of my novel? Cook red beans and rice?

When you’re single, there’s no one else to do these things for you. Time is finite and limited. Therefore, blogging has to sometimes take a back seat. But it is important, and I hope to do at least three of these entries per week. (The way I look at it: if I write 500-1000 words per day, every day, I’ll have several hundred thousand at the end of the year.)

So, where was I? Oh yes…customer service…

"B****-slapping additional"

In Part I, I chronicled a typical interaction with a cubicle jockey in Des Moines or Kansas City or Orlando going over my personal data ad infinitum. Someone I’ll never meet who seems to know everything about me, my mother’s maiden name, my pet’s name…

It’s tough enough dealing with these types. But for an Aspie, it’s a hell of a lot easier working over the phone than with the dreaded Retail Salesperson.

I know partly because I *worked* retail for a large portion of my adult life and pray to any benevolent gods that I will never have to do so again. Not only does it drain my social battery, I have to deal with everyone “with a smile.”

Let me get one thing across: I usually don’t smile unless I have a good reason to. A cute kitten. A particularly funny joke. Random thoughts of Murdock. In fact, remember that old poster of the cat and his “many moods?” Usually that’s me.

Retail is a place where, for being on your feet all day and making under $10 hourly, one is expected to be a salesperson on the level of Zig Ziglar, a psychiatrist, janitor, cook, busboy, childcare worker, psychic, local area expert, concierge, hall monitor, principal, and disciplinarian. It’s a lot like being a mom, only these aren’t your own kids. And you’re not allowed to spank them or call them nasty names to their face. (That’s to be left to the breakroom.)

I don’t begrudge others trying to make a living in retail. Because I’ve done it for so long, I understand their need to interrogate me at the cash register, to call me by my name, to do everything but assault me in the hopes that I might by some additional product or service I didn’t come in specifically to buy.

The problem as I see it is twofold. Retailers, specifically the big box stores, expect their employees to be strung out too thin, without the benefit of giving them any kind of specialization or training. Therefore, they become kind of drones, unable to critically think for themselves. After all, if they could form opinions in their own mind, they’d be the ones making the decisions in the ivory towers in New York and Boston and L.A….right?

I may continue this series at some point. Right now, it’s only a collection of wounds just beginning to heal. There *are* benefits to working for one of the so-called big box retailers; there are also drawbacks. As another holiday season rapidly approaches, I may need to go in for “one more time” in order to make some extra money on nights and weekends…maybe so I can afford a few Christmas presents of my own. Only time will tell.

(Those who know me know I get all sad and wistful whenever I think of the prospect of Murdock working civilian jobs in season 5 of The A-Team. In part, this is why.

This is the British version; it's a bit nicer!

Got comments? Think I’m just blathering? Drop me a line at wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com anytime!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on August 29, 2010.

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