Squeaky Wheels and Super Sweeters

On my lunch break I have a couple of things I like to do to help me relax and rejuvenate.

I eat.

I really can’t stress enough how important that one is, but if you haven’t yet learned that food fuels the body and mind and therefore soul, well, you’ve got more to work on than I can probably help with.

I frequently go for a walk.

Ahhhh, fresh air.  Today I am skipping the walk so as to bring you a small rant.  That and my body needs a break from yesterday (pilates class and a trip down to, and UP from, Wreck Beach = 474 stairs of interesting nature).  But normally I like to get out for a half an hour of good walking.  Well, okay, largely because it’s summer and the days are good for that.  I’ve done a lot of visits to the Rose Garden as well.  Ah, July, when they are all in bloom and the smell wafts thither and fro, mmmmm.

I read Regretsy.

It soothes my snarky soul.

I read Not Always Right.

And thus begins my little rant. On Not Always Right people share work stories that highlight the remarkable…encounters they have with their clientele.  Okay, people are stupid.  And many of the stories highlight that people are stupid.  But it’s not the stupid that’s gotten to me.

No, what’s making me grit my teeth is the repetitive examples of people who lie or yell or often lie and yell at the employee to get their own way.  Such as lying that the employee got a hair in their sandwich (when it was their daughter’s hair) so as to get a refund & a free bagel.  They’ll lie about who served them, what they were served, the state something was in, etc, etc.  People are lying so that they can gain something for nothing.  People are yelling and screaming at employees to again get something for essentially nothing.  In some of the stories it is even acknowledged by the perpetrator that they’re doing it because that’s how you get something for free.

This froths my ire.

What happened to the land of personal integrity?  Of behaving as a decent human being?

When did it become so engrained into society that instead of curbing such behaviour we have somehow engendered its propagation.  I see many notices of being positive of being friendly and kind pushed around on facebook.  I think that these are lovely if not always realistic (because somedays you’re going to get mad and is it really wrong to get that way?)

As I type this the thought occurs to me that this push to always be nice is simply the other side of the coin of the push to always be an asshole in order to get ahead.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to be nice or right to be mean, not at all.  But what about the folks on Regretsy who talk a mean line but who are frequently very generous, supportive and kind?  What about the sweet people who can’t be bothered to actual help someone else?

The point is, we are neither always kind nor always cruel, not in our humanism.  We are both, a swirling mix of chocolate and vanilla into a marble cake (ohhhhh, cake) of positive and negative experiences and expressions.

And at the core of both of these is an inherent selfishness, isn’t there?  The squeaky wheel is out to get whatever they can by whatever means (typically negative) they can.  If I yell enough, someone will give me something to shut me up.  Many people I think learn this in childhood from their parents – if I scream loud enough, my mommy will give me that cookie even though she said no originally (so parents, keep to your ‘no’s!).  And no, I’m not blaming all parents, but there is a component there, don’t you think?

I don’t want to come down too hard on the other side, the always kind and gentle folk because let’s face it, they’re a hell of a lot nicer to be around.  But it doesn’t make their approach necessarily more healthy.  Be gentle, be kind, be forgiving.  There are times and places for these things, most of the time, many places.  But sometimes?  Sometimes we need to be tough, to protect, to fight, to put up our healthy boundaries and force others to respect them.  ((Mind you, if you take the gentle, kind, forgiving to a different spiritual level, then a slap on the face can be the gentle and kind approach to a situation, but that’s a whole different conversation.))

And what drives that behaviour?  A desire to be ‘good’?  To do good?  To be seen as good?  Sometimes I wonder if there is a hint of the selfish behind some people’s sudden and intense embrace of such concepts.  But that’s just some musing on my part.

The ranting is all about the Gimmees.  They make me think evil, nasty thoughts, and not the good kind.

Perhaps Not Always Right by its very nature siphons off examples of the worst of us and it isn’t an epidemic of self-centredness.  But still, but still…

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One thought on “Squeaky Wheels and Super Sweeters

  1. Customers are rude to employees because management has trained them to be. I work in the photo lab of a large department store… we’re taught that if someone is upset with their order, to offer a discount. If they’re still upset, offer it for free. The person who handles themselves gracefully, treating us like humans and not threatening to call the news, never shop there again, etc? We’re not supposed to offer anything. If someone calls corporate, then my managers have their managers demanding an explanation for why the customer left unhappy, so the angrier someone gets the more they’ll have their boots licked to keep that from happening. Compensating the polite customer is considered an unnecessary expense.

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