The Customer is (not) Always Right.
I’m sure a million and one places are discussing the actions of one Steven Slater, a man who has immediately become the embodiment of something I’ve been dreaming about for years (not with my current job but certainly previous ones).
Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of customers are nice people, they admit when they are ignorant, they try to get a good deal and they are civil. But at least once a day you get a prick, a person so rude and utterly uncivilized that you know even death would be too good for them (and certainly a punishment for whatever exists in the afterlife).
These people are sick and twisted individuals who can’t see, or just don’t care, that the person they are dealing with is just that “a person”. They treat them as a means to an end, a tool to get what they desire, the treatment is only better than that of sweat shop workers because laws do not allow them to beat the employee. If they could, they certainly would, for those that don’t believe this true I would suspect you haven’t worked retail. In the US the only difference is they threaten to have you fired instead of threatening you physically (which I admit is a massive difference).
This lady should have been tazed, as I think any nightmare customer should be, I’m not a fan of violence but there is a certain level of stupid and crass nature that deserves little more than a prolonged shock. It might just stop them from ranting at you about the place you work for a half hour, at some point you wonder if they think they are actually changing anything…I fear they might.
The argument that he could have hurt someone is largely being blown out of proportion by lawyers who are trying to make a name for themselves (as this case has gotten big already), anyone at anytime could cause harm to someone with any action, however the likelihood is generally extremely low, what he did had a very low likelihood of hurting anyone and that’s painfully obvious (to even the judge).
What he did do was become the personification of hundreds of thousands of collective years of pent up disgust and rage that employees have together garnered against a small group of people who only exist to consume and be blights upon the surface of the earth and human society itself.
Between this guy, and recent news I got, I do think that bullying may finally start getting acted upon. Customers should not be convinced that they are always right, nor that they are invincible, because this sort of hubris leads the already unstable down a path of endless irritation.
I can’t say this moment is as sweet as when the store manager at Circuit City announced he was calling the police to arrest a man (who was shouting across the store because he demanded we sell him all the Wii’s, no joke) but that is only because I wasn’t there. I wish this had been taped, what he did deserves a pat on the back at the very least.
We all have our short comings and the fact that we are in a setting where we have a wallet and the occupied structure has things to sell does not erase that fact. The only shame of this whole situation is that this lady is getting away without her name being known to the world. I find that to be a shame.
To those that say “But why not shrug it off, you have 200 customers a day and only 1 bad one, why let that get to you?” Lets say you have 100 people walk past you today, only one falcon punches you in the testicles, sure the other 99 left your scrotum unbruised, but you expect that of them and it has no real impact on you one way or the other. That one tooth shattering blow to the balls however will completely turn your world upside down, emotionally this is what is happening to people. They have 99 folks walk up, smile, and walk by. Then one guy comes running at them at Mach 5 and then fires off a fist of fury straight into their sac.
The shit bothers you for days at the least, it’s only through desensitization that any one event goes away.