Friday, December 18, 2009

Behind the Counter

Let's pause for a moment and consider the folk who work behind counters and run registers for us, the consumers. Because, quite frankly, if you get a genuine smile from someone behind the counter when you approach, you're either very attractive or they are a saint. I'm leaning towards the sainthood thing, not because I doubt that you're attractive—I'm sure you're gorgeous—but I've seen the kinds of things that retail employees go through on a daily basis—especially during Christmas—and, well, if they're still smiling then they must be incredibly good folk.

In another life, a long time ago, I worked behind the counter for a small video rental place—we only rented out VHS tapes, if that give you any idea! Anyway, every night someone would yell at me because they returned a tape late and was charged a fee. Not only was this clearly not my fault, but I also didn't have the authority to actually do anything about it—except collect the late fee.

I know someone who used to work for a shop in Olde Mystick Village—and I have to tell you that tourists have a horrifying sense of entitlement that... *shudders* Anyway, if I told you even half of her stories of working behind the counter, your brain would shut down. The horrible things people would say to her, the folk who would cough and/or sneeze on their money and then hand it to her, and the sheer stupidity in general would just cause your synapses to stop firing.

I've never worked in a fast food restaurant, but I bet this isn't too far from the truth...

All kidding aside, these folk have to deal with people behaving badly and with a high degree of stupidity every day. They are on a short list of professions that I automatically give the benefit of the doubt to when I'm dealing with them—nursing staff are at the top of that list, by the way. I encourage you to do the same!

Also, check out the Not Always Right site, which gives real life examples of the stupid and frustrating things people do to folk working behind the counter. I'm considering linking it under Daily Dose of Joy in my sidebar!

Oh, and one more thing that I learned from my time behind the counter. One night, when someone had been particularly unpleasant to me concerning their late fee, the very next person in line smiled at me and said something like, "Wow, they were hard to deal with, huh?" It really made my day to know that someone noticed and cared that my job wasn't all that easy. Even just a smile can make a very big difference! So next time you get to the head of the line, give the person behind the counter a genuinely thankful smile, ok?

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

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