Monday, August 6, 2007

Snark Goes the Customer Service Representative

I wear my most comfortable clothes when I'm nervous. It makes me look frumpy and unassuming. I've noticed people react differently to me when I wear these clothes. Today was a case in point, or was it all in my mind?

It's early morning and me and Rosa met up at Fat Albert's. She wanted to play the lottery and I needed my cheap cigars. The lottery room was already busy with anxious black men trying their luck. You could almost feel the anxiousness in the air. I stepped up to the counter to be greeted by an unfamiliar black lady.

"Two cartons of smoker's choice in the blue," I said.

"You don't smoke all these per week, do you?" she asked abruptly.

I stood for a moment at a loss for words. I didn't know what to say. It was such a forward question.

"That's none of your business," I finally blurted out.

She huffily grabbed my cigars and rung me up. I wrote a check and they drafted the amount from my account. I walked outside to tell Rosa what happened.

"She's new and she's a bitch," Rosa said.

It really got off with me. You would think that she would want to sell me whatever I wanted instead of making some obtuse comment about my smoking habits. I was red faced and embarrassed.

"You are so sensitive," Rosa told me as I was driving us home.

"I wish I just didn't care, but it embarrassed me," I replied. "There was a long line behind me."

I chalked it up to the frumpy clothes I was wearing - my pull ups with an old raggedy Auburn Tigers t-shirt, tube socks, and my most comfortable but threadbare pair of tennis shoes. I looked poor and penniless. An easy target for snarky comments.

25 comments:

Chema said...

Hi Andy,

I only want to say that your attitude is an inspiration to me. I'm glad to see things are better to you lately, despite that bad mannered black lady.

I enjoy also your alabama pictures.

Regards

fiwa said...

In a sense, I know what you mean. I have noticed if I go shopping in the mall dressed comfortably, I can hardly get a sales person to look at me. If I'm dressed nice, I can't beat 'em off with a stick.
But, I think that woman probably would have made that comment no matter what you were wearing, because it sounds like she's just that kind of person. I don't understand the need to comment on other people's purchases though, and good for you for telling her it was none of her business! It might have been different if it has been someone you'd known, but as a stranger, that's unacceptable.

But on to the good stuff - I hope you and Rosa enjoy your day together!

kjmp@clear.net.nz said...

whatever

justLacey said...

You answered her appropriately. Hopefully you'll forget her before the day is through. I hate when I can't let something go in my mind. Had an argument with my sister via e-mail this morning and I keep going over it. I don't know why, I don't value anything she thinks, but that's just my nature. By tomorrow I'll be over it.

Annabel said...

Clothing does affect how people treat you. When I went shopping for beds the other day, I wasn't dressed up, but dressed in casual, comfortable clothing. At several stores I didn't get a single person to ask me if I needed anything. I think when I actually do make a purchase, I'll have to dress to the nines just to get some service.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

it never ceases to amaze me how people are so quick to judge..that woman real class act it seems.
People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw their damn stones..
pisses me off.
Glad you got some cartons to last you..I wouldn't return there on a monday now..with that snarly hammerhead shark tending the counter.
Always,
crusty~

abbagirl74 said...

Okay, I will be the one to disagree here. That woman was a bitch and she was in a funk before you even walked into the store. You were walking into Fat Alberts, not the five star hotel. She was going to be like that no matter if it was you or the person behind you. Keep your head up and remember... it's not you, it's them.

C.A. said...

I totally agree with abbagirl. I've been dressed in my best Anne Taylor suit and carrying a Prada handbag and had salespeople treat me unbelievably poorly. I think that woman was just a HAG, and your response was completely appropriate. Maybe you could have asked her if she planned on working at Fat Alberts all her life. :>

C. R. Morris said...

Ha ha!!! I can laugh because I swear we are the exact same people! LOL Gosh do I ever know how you feel. I get tired of being told I'm sensitive. @@ Anyway, I hate being at a loss for words..which I usually am. I find all of my words while writing so that help. As for the raggedy old Auburn shirt, I even have one or two of those. *sigh* I can honestly picture this woman saying this to you...I can see the expression on her face and everything. You should have said, "Yes..and I've thought of smoking more..give me another carton please." Of course, I would have thought of this too late..after I was home and still fuming about it..still embarrassed. *sigh* Hang in there. Sensitive is good..I'm sure of it. Yeah.

KYRIE said...

I just hate it whn people judge me by the clothes I wear.
But I always get this. I keep on wearing the same old black t-shirts and jeans which I feel comfortable in. But sometimes I feel I am being looked at as a loser by even strangers just because I don't present the neatest appearance. N a lady once commented in the bank tht my hair looks like a jungle girl's mop.
Sigh!!

Stacy said...

Ugh! People like her really urk me. Sounds like you handled it like a champ. I hate when things like that happen because I'm usually a loss for words and then the more I think about it I always come up with good come-backs. You did good though, chin up :)
Rude people suck!!!

Portia said...

i too am overly sensitive and sure that everyone is always judging me...and i have yet to be convinced otherwise.
so i can understand being embarassed, but that's when it's good to have a best friend like rosa by your side. you and i are very fortunate to have unwavering acceptance from our respective best friends. that's what it's all about:) (OK now i got the hokey pokey stuck in my head...)

have a great week!

darla said...

Ok, I'll be the devils advocate.... do you think, possibly, the lady was just trying to start up a conversation with you? Her question may have come across differently than she intended. I say this because, I know a few people who, when they speak, if you don't know them, you might think they are being rude, but they don't mean to be at all. Anyway, don't think anymore about it.... it's over and done. No big deal. Right?

Damien Riley said...

It is human nature to insult, deride, and overpower others. I can't tell you how many people don't believe me when 1) I tell them I am a teacher and 2) That I know Gwen Stefani as a lifelong friend.

If it were me I would have turned it into a joke like maybe:

"No actually I twist them empty and fill em with pot. How are you today?"

Barb said...

Tube socks arent frumpy, they remind me of gym class in the 70's, coupled with a pair of shorts with pipping down the sides, and a t-shirt that reads, "I cant believe I ate the whole thing"!

You were dressing retro, frumpy is saved for women with curlers in their hair! Relax and enjoy your relationship with Rosa.
Cheers!
B~

Joshua said...

Need to feel loved and you all don't realy blogly love me.

Jerseygirl said...

Just a thought from a different perspective...maybe she was concerned about your health, and came off sounding ruder than she should have. Sometimes a funny rejoinder rather than the defensive, knee-jerk response when people are impolite (like Damien posted above) shuts rude people up and has the rest of the people chuckling with you as well. :)

Dana said...

Hey! Just ran across your blog today for the first time and liked what I saw. Just say you're not an Auburn fan, wil ya? Ha! Just kidding.

It's always nice to run across Bama bloggers.

Claudia said...

I work in retail and for all the years I have been doing this I have learned: it is NONE OF OUR DAMN BUSINESS if someone wants to buy cartons of cigs, gigantic boxes of condoms, or all the cabbage in the store. The job is to ring it up and wish you all a nice day. Sheesh.

Summer said...

I'm in such a foul mood tonight that I want to drive to Fat A's and tell her to f-off for you. I hope you have a good evening.

Pen and the Sword said...

I understand how you feel. There was this guy at the local Holiday Station and I used to buy my smokes there before I started rolling my own. The guy would always give me shit about smoking and ask me when I was going to quit. After a while it wasn't so embarrassing anymore; rather it began to upset me. The last time I ever bought smokes there and the guy behind the counter tried to give me guff over it I finally said, "Do you want my money or what?" It sure felt good to smart off to the dickhead. ;o)

Mary said...

Andrew, I understand how you felt. I've felt the same way more times than one. One way I deal with personal questions asked by strangers is to give them a direct stare and say, "Why do you ask?"

~Vital~ said...

Andrew, same exact thing happened to me. My husband and I both smoke and the same brand. We always buy 3 packs as you get a 3 pack special. I had a young girl ask me if I really smoked all those. I told her yeah, but this only lasts half a day, got my change and walked out. Another time I was at a local grocery store and there was a DJ there raising money for cancer. He had a microphone and all. I bought my cigeretts then went and handed him some money for a donation. My mother has had cancer 3 times, she doesn't smoke. As I handed him my donation, he tells the crowd,"Look at this woman, she just bought cigerettes and made a donation...she's planning for the future." Talk about being mad, I was. I called his station manager.

impromptublogger said...

Claudia LOL on the condoms. My husband sometimes works in the theater, and they use condoms to protect portable mike battery packs. So he's been going to the drugstore and buying like 3-4 boxes at a time since they go through 10 or 20 a day. Luckily nobody has made any comments but I can just imagine what's going through someone's head ... ;-)

EE said...

That would have embarrassed me, too. Hopefully, she'll learn to keep her mouth shut about people's purchases.