The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Friday, April 29, 2005

tales from the counter front

Josh has shared his retail slave experiences at Brain Stab and I had two stories I just had to add to the pile.

Conspiracy Stamp Lady
I was working at Whitters and had the massive responsibility of ordering the stamps. At the counter one day an older woman asked for a 40c (as it was then) and I obliged. She was sticking the stamp to her envelope when she began to tsk tsk.

The source of her complaint?

The stamp had "Aotearoa" and "New Zealand" across it. By virtue of the fact that both renderings of our nation's name had to fit the same space the Aotearoa was in a slightly larger lettering.

Apparently this was evidence of the PC conspiracy that has taken over. But then, Conspiracy Stamp Lady went on to assure me, at least it wasn't as bad as those Jews and the banks...

The Slapper
This didn't actually happen to me, but it's still worth sharing. A book shop on the North Shore is not exactly a front of urban warfare, but none the less a workmate, one of the nicest, least offensive young women I have ever worked with, was told she was a "silly girl" by a customer and actually physically slapped across the face. I think her crime was to help the customer in question locate the book she was looking for. Thankfully the manager banned The Slapper from the store.

Yes, some retail and service staff are rude or unhelpful or incompetent. But really, they are getting paid peanuts to shovel the retail equivalent of shit - they put up with really horrible customers, often senseless dictates from management who frequently indicate their real indifference (and in some cases open hostility) to the lives of their "lesser" workers, and they get paid two fifths of Not Much Really.

So please be nice. There but for the grace of Insert-Deity-Of-Your-Choice...


STC said...

I think working in retail breeds more contempt for humanity than fighting in war does. (Just as an observation, soliders seem more adjusted to life beyond work)

Saw the Yes Men last night with a bunch of other lefties... makes you want to kick down the doors of the WTO, drag them down to Mexico and say "If you agree with your policies, you'll live here for three years working on an average wage."

Oliver said...

Aye, the fucking monotony of retail and general total ignorance of the people asking me to find stuff for them has been making me pick up my Marxist books again :P

span said...

sometimes people seemed surprised that i had actually read any of the books we sold. it got very depressing very quickly.

i used to have a lot of Marvin moments, particularly whilst shelving in the business section for some reason.