Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Misanthropy Rising...(Non-Comic Rant)

This is not normally the sort of post I would make here at PFP. I usually keep personal matters over at my never-updated Livejournal and save this blog for more interesting and fun things like comics and television. But I've been thinking for quite a while and I honestly can't bring myself to blog about comics today.

I'm too disgusted with humanity right now.

I work at a toy store. That's my preamble. I genuinely like it. Even during season, even when I clumsily make all sorts of trouble because I can be a real ham-handed ditz sometimes. People on a whole tend to be nice, if frustrated and rushed, and there's something uplifting to help people find things to make the kids in their lives happy.

Even with the seventieth repetition of "No, we don't have any Wiis/Playstation 3s/Tickle Me Elmo/Kidtough Cameras in stock. We're all sold out."

I mean sure there are mild irritations consisting of things like "So can you go INTO the delivery truck and find this toy I want?" (answer = no, there's a long process for new arrivals. You have to wait until tomorrow. Deal with it) or "Even though I've already left my name and number to call when product A is in stock, I'm calling to find out if product A is in stock." (answer = no, you're on a LIST. WE WILL CALL YOU)

But they're minor. And even a little funny. The guy who needed the cops called on him because he wouldn't leave, ranting that we were hoarding PS3s was less funny, but it was an isolated incident.

Yesterday though, I saw a side of people that I really didn't like. It wasn't the manic batshit crazy "I NEED THIS TOY NOW AND YOU HAVE TO GET IT FOR ME!!!" side, I work in a toy store, I can deal with that. This was something else. It even happened *after* work technically.

I got off work at 5:30 and headed into the back to grab my coat, purse, et cetera. Well, I found something very unpleasant. My poor co-worker was sitting in the break room, looking positively dreadful, gasping for breath and coughing fluid from her lungs. She didn't have insurance so she wasn't going to call for an ambulance, but her physician on the phone did convince her to go to Urgent Care. With good reason, by this point her chest was hurting and her arms tingling. NOT a good sign. She was in agony.

My co-workers were horrified and worried. I was having my roommate pick me up from work anyway, so I offered her a ride to the place if she couldn't get in touch with her boyfriend. So we headed out to wait in the enclosed cart area at the front of the store. (My awesome co-workers didn't even make us sign out, human compassion: 1 bureaucratic red tape: 0)

So we were waiting in the indoor cart area. She DID ultimately get in touch with her boyfriend and understandably preferred to go with him. But she was genuinely scared and my roommate hadn't arrived yet so I decided to wait with her.

In the meantime, the store's still open. Customers are walking past us to get into the store as well as to leave. My co-worker is gasping for breath and moaning in very audible pain and you know? Not a single person stopped to ask if she was okay!

Not one!

I'm not saying I expect someone to drop everything and go all Florence Nightingale on us, but a simple expression of concern would be appreciated! It wouldn't take much for a "Are you okay?" I know no one wants to get involved in these things but heck, an offer to call for an ambulance (or get the people inside to) would have gone a long way, even if she would have refused it.

And to the middle-aged couple that rubbernecked by us, pausing to stare, give us dirty looks and march into the store without a word: Fuck you! You can pause to gape but you can't say anything? And what the hell was that glare? I'm pretty sure my collegue's gasping for air is NOT meant to ruin your shopping trip.

And to the lady bringing back her cart, we appreciate you not leaving that in the parking lot. But honestly, taking one look at us and the long line of carts and then rolling the cart AT US?! Fuck you, too. I hope you never find that toy Junior needs so preciously! It's pretty fucking easy to put back a cart and having a red shirt doesn't make us your slaves. Especially not when there's a serious blooming EMERGENCY going on.

I don't get it. I seriously don't. To me, the toy store is a place where I actually try to be on reasonably good behavior and manners. Even if no kids are around to watch me right then, the store makes me think of kids and the kind of impression I want to give them. I could only imagine what they'd get from that callous dismissiveness toward someone obviously suffering. Clearly no one should let concern for other people get in the way of what they want.

Fuck. Fuck-fuck-fuck. I've had bad days at work before. But this was something else. Thank god I have today off, because I really don't want to have to go back in that store and face those people, smile and take their shit for a measely seven-something an hour. Maybe it's not fair, but right now I can't think of my customers without seeing those people. The countless who just walked by. Cart-lady. Glaring couple. I don't want to help them. I don't want to look at them. I want them to fuck off to some lost forgotten slime-infested bog where they can be with their own kind.

Merry fucking Christmas.

Labels: , ,


  • At November 29, 2006 11:48 AM, Anonymous ben said…

    Is your co-worker all right? What an awful experience, I'm sorry the two of you had to go through it.

  • At November 29, 2006 11:48 AM, Anonymous Mela said…

    Man, that is truly revolting. I know from experience that customer like to treat the people serving them as lower life forms, but that's just nauseating.

    You should take careful note of who the worst offenders were and deny them every service you can think of. "Sure, you can have that PS3... once you grow a soul."

    I hope your coworker is doing okay, though. That sounds really scary.

  • At November 29, 2006 11:52 AM, Anonymous Matthee said…

    This is what is referred to as "Diffusion of responsibility". People don't think its their problem if there are many other people around. So no-one helps out. This has been proven in scietific studies of a guy falling down in the street.

    At least she wasn't like Kitty Genovese...

  • At November 29, 2006 11:54 AM, Blogger Mickle said…

    Oh, good lord, I'm sorry.

    I swear there is something in the air.

    A lady threatened me (well, my tiny little Echo) yesterday with her big whole honking SUV because I turned to drive past her in the parking lot before realizing that she was taking up both lanes.

    I have been sadly amazed at how rude people are in general around retail, but most especially to us workers.

    That beats anything anyone has done to me, though. (Even the time my cousin's grandmother failed to say hello back when I was ringing her up - because she never bothered to actually look at me.)

  • At November 29, 2006 12:31 PM, Anonymous Loren said…

    You know, the same thing happened to me. I was in a store one day and I started going extremely hypoglycemic. I was shaking and sweating and confused and I remember watching people just looking at me and walking by. One guy got irritated that I was in his way. So, I know how you must have felt.

    I hope your friend is okay and I'm hoping it's not pneumonia. I'll be thinking about you and your friend today.

  • At November 29, 2006 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ha! Something similar has happened to me a few times. It's all about location and who you're with. For the most part, if something happens to me, and I'm in a crowded street, I damn well know that I have to make out of there on my own. Wing and a prayer time!
    On the other hand, I have helped total strangers out of a jam, but I never stick around.

    I'm sorry that that had happened to your co-worker, but an emergency is an emergency and she should not have been waiting for her boyfriend for so long.

  • At November 29, 2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Marionette said…

    My personal experience has shown that sometimes people are the most wonderful, helpful, kind, thoughtful and other times they can be totally self-centred shits.

    Good people have mean streaks, mean people are sometimes kind. If life has taught me only one true thing, it's that no sample is representative of people as a whole.

  • At November 29, 2006 2:29 PM, Anonymous green with wheelpower said…

    I did 4 charity panels for professors on diversity week before last. Sceince and Math Exploration and education last weekend all saturday w/ elementry kids, laundy all monday evening for the whole familyand will put $10 in the red kettle friday when I cristmas shop. Is your faith restored now kalinara?

    But if you really want a @#$% chirstmas...LOLROTF:)

    Seriously the police should be at Black Friday events in riot gear.

  • At November 29, 2006 4:26 PM, Anonymous papervolcano said…

    God, that's awful - is your coworker okay?

    To help kill off any remaining faith in the Good Samaritan, I'll share my experience. Not a retail experience, but I once fainted on the bus. Seriously, I blacked out and woke up on the floor. I'd got to have been out a good 15-30 seconds, just on how far the bus had gone. It was a packed bus, no seats left. Not a single person moved to help me, or asked if I was okay. After I started getting up, a very heavily pregnant woman offered me her seat, and I'm incredibly grateful for that, but the young businessman in the seat next to her? Gave me the dirtiest look in the world.

  • At November 29, 2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Bill said…

    I've said it before, I'll say it again: it's stuff like this that makes me think humanity should just pack it in and turn the keys over to the chimps or dolphins.

    Also, everyone in America should have to work retail for at least one holiday season. That'd change their attitude toward store employees this time of year pretty quickly. It worked wonders for me.

  • At November 29, 2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Bill said…

    Also also, I hope your co-worker is doing okay!

  • At November 29, 2006 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    True story. I got jumped in an after hours joint by five guys. These guys just wanted somebody to beat up on. Well, before I could do something, the security guards came and seperated us. The threatened to kill me, I told them that they would get their chance because I would wait outside for them and assured them that I won't get cold cocked this time. I waited for 15 minutes. I had a broken rib, a chipped tooth, a dislocated shoulder. I was furious that the folks I was playing pool with fled. There I was seething, when a kindly sex worker offered me something to clean my bloody face with, and another guy talked me out of waiting for those jackals by offering me a ride.
    The point is, it really sucks when you have nobody to pull you out of the fray, but it is nice when somebody cleans yours wounds. But, for the most part, I try not to rely on anyone in a dire pinch

  • At November 30, 2006 12:01 AM, Blogger Canton said…

    Okay. You need a good tidbit about kind people to balance things out a bit.

    I was on my way to work today, and I stopped in the neighborhood pharmacy to pick up a bottle of iced tea. And usually it's in and out, but I'm never in any real rush. This time, though, there was a bit of a wait. A woman in line ahead of me apparently lives in a country where you can't buy things such as Claritin at a reasonable price. So she wanted to stock up, only with pseudoephedrine, there are limits and red tape aplenty due to, well... bad people.

    Long story short, she held up the line, and felt bad about it. So after they sorted things out and finished the transaction, she called the pharmacist an awesome human being (or somesuch) and offered her an almond. And on her way out, she apologized for the wait and offered nuts to all three of us standing patiently in line. I politely declined, but even so it's just little things like that that make days, y'know? People can be cool and conscientious.

    Anyway, hope your coworker is doing okay, and I do hope tomorrow goes better for you both.

  • At November 30, 2006 12:47 AM, Blogger Mickle said…

    "Also, everyone in America should have to work retail for at least one holiday season."

    Hell yes.

  • At November 30, 2006 6:31 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Thanks for the sympathy guys. I don't know how she is yet, but I'll ask around work tomorrow.

    I really do appreciate everything. Thank you.

  • At November 30, 2006 9:24 AM, Blogger Amy Reads said…

    Hi Kali,
    How awful :\ Is she okay? Are you?

  • At November 30, 2006 12:35 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    It has been my experience that 90% of the world's population are assholes. The remaining 10% are FLAMING assholes. Unfortunately, the 10% always seem to outnumber the rest.

    I hope that your co-worker is going to be alright. It sounds like a VERY unpleasant situation for you both.

    Way back in the day when I was a bank teller, we had ways of getting our revenge on obnoxious people in the drive-up. Try sending out one fewer lollipops than there are children. Or one red one, and the rest all yellow. Heh heh heh.

  • At November 30, 2006 4:49 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Oh, that is horrible. I hope she is all right. I wait tables part time, so (similar to those in retail) I also have little faith in humanity. Sometimes the sour taste in my mouth after a rude "incident" doesn't go away for days. Like someone mentioned above, sometimes a good story is necessary, and here's one.

    Last week, there was this table I waited on, a party of five. They had drinks, food, desserts, and were very classy. The bill came to $139.00. The man who paid did so in cash. I took my bills into the back and was all excited counting them, expecting a good tip because the people thanked me a hundred times and said they loved everything.

    $150 cash.

    I didn't understand what had gone wrong. They were so nice! And an $11 tip? Why? Why? It just depressed me.

    Fifteen minutes later, I was standing by the drink machine when the guy comes back through the door. "Where's my waitress?" he starts to ask everyone. Then he saw me. "Oh, there you are!" He comes up to me and hands me a twenty. Turns out he didn't have enough cash on him, so he went to an ATM and came back.

    It completely restored my faith in humanity.

  • At November 30, 2006 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I automatically assume that people are festering a-holeoids out to ruin your day. When they on occasion do not act to type and behave like human beings and not evil, squalling dump-things then I get a nice sun-shiney surprise to my day.

    Gotta look for the silver lining.

  • At December 01, 2006 1:24 AM, Anonymous Maria Wood said…

    Oh, God. I hope your coworker's ok. That sounds awful.

    I have a bit of the opposite perspective on this story, though. I had a friend in college who got utterly pissed off at me one day, and I had no idea why. Finally, she blocks me from walking down the hallway and asks me why I didn't offer her any sympathy for her sprained ankle. Hadn't I noticed she was limping?

    I felt awful, because I hadn't. I have truly awful hearing, eyesight (even with glasses), and smell (which is neither here nor there, really), and I simply don't notice things. Especially people, for some reason. If I lived in your area and walked by you two when this happened, I would probably have never noticed anything wrong.

    But yeah, all those people who did notice? All those ones who made that experience even worse for you both? I hope their Christmas trees explode spectacularly, while the roads are too icy for fire trucks to get there.

  • At December 01, 2006 7:59 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Okay, and now I should reply to everyone. Thanks for your patience. :-)

    ben: Not sure yet. It's a good sign though, if things were really bad it'd be all over work.

    I'm okay really, just disgruntled, she was really miserable though.

    mela: Hee, that thought makes me smile. Shame the bosses wouldn't go for it.

    matthee: *nod* Indeed.

    mickle: Holidays make everyone jerks I think. :-( That sounds scary.

    loren: Egads! I'd have been terrified. That guy was a jerk!

    anon: She didn't have insurance so no ambulance. And the fact is, we had to wait for my roommate to show with the car anyway. Her boyfriend and my roommate showed at literally the same moment, so the waiting was unavoidable.

    marionette: Yeah. I was just very upset writing this entry. :-)

    green: Nice!

    papervolcano: I hope so!

    Oh wow! That's one hell of an awful experience!

    bill: Hee. I could go for that!

    anon: eek!

    canton: Thanks! That helps a lot!

    amy: I'm okay. I haven't heard about her yet. Hopefully she's resting and taking time off.

    sally: Too true! :-)

    sarah: That's a really nice story! :-) I think I'd rather work toys than wait staff though. I've seen how some people treat restaurant workers. It's terrible.

    sleestak: Heh the benefits of pessimism!

    maria: Yeah, actually I'm the same way. So I'm not that upset with the people who just walked by. I mean we were kinda crouched/sitting anyway. But the ones that SAW us, egads.

  • At December 01, 2006 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kalinara, I'm the anon who made the now dumbass comment about the waiting. Sorry. I totally misread that part of the post. I've surrounded myself, lately, with folks who just don't use any common sense (I've been know to lack that, but not all the time). So much so, that I now err on the side that people are not using common sense. It sucks when you think about it.
    I also wanted to take this opportunity to express that I always look forward to read your posts. They bring an involuntary smile to my normally scowling face.
    Thank you.
    And I don't hope that your co-worker will be fine... I know she will be. I don't have enough data, but it sounds stress related to me. Tis the season. Come January, with a little rest, zero booze or any other vice, she'll be swell.

  • At December 01, 2006 4:32 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    anon: :-) It's okay. Misunderstandings happen.

    Thanks for the nice words too!

  • At December 02, 2006 10:23 PM, Blogger Erich said…

    I've worked retail for a long time, so I've had my share of "people are jerks" incidents...but NOTHING to compare with that. Although there was one time that I was robbed at gunpoint while working the register, in broad daylight, with customers still in the store (though not around the front-counter area). (Oddly enough, I felt completely calm during the robbery, remembering to cooperate and not try to be a was only afterwards that my nerves started rattling.) But the thing that really stunned me was this: After the robber left, but before the police arrived, one of the customers who was in the store came up to the register. I explained that the store had just been robbed and that we couldn't do anything with the register until management and the police had taken care of their business. He just asked "So you can't ring me up?" in a rather peeved-sounding concern for us, or even surprise that it had happened, just irritation that HE was being inconvenienced. Surprisingly (or perhaps it's not so surprising), that pissed me off more than having had a gun pointed at me.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home