A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Some Essential Uncommon Truths

As any able Conservative would attempt to do, I work to put myself through University. Although part of my work experience has previously involved a very enjoyable stint working as a constituency assistant for an unnamed member of parliament, a larger portion has involved working in a low paying service industry job. While always grateful for the work and for the opportunity to finance my education loan-free, anyone who's worked in a "McJob," so to speak, knows the hassles involved. You know - the kind of things that make you think "I'm not getting paid enough for this crap."

It was during one of those moments during work today that I had an inspiration. Below are a list of my service industry pet peeves, followed by suggestions that we can all follow to help out that downtrodden underdog, the common working man. These are some essential uncommon truths:
  • Try to avoid making a mess. This can be hard to do sometimes - accidents do happen. But if you're at a restaurant, try to make as little a mess as possible. Remember, long after you've left and forgotten about it, some poor human has to pick up your dirty napkins and garbage. It's gross. Also, try to keep your food off of the floor. Seriously. You'd think this concept was a given, but apparently some people haven't heard yet. This also applies to other stores - put back any books or clothes you've taken off the rack, etc.
  • Put your garbage in the trash. Were you raised in a barn? No one likes picking up garbage, and I'm not getting paid twenty bucks an hour to do it like some municipal workers around here are. There's a reason that many trash cans have "Thank You" written on them - it's not to thank me, I'm already getting paid (barely). Pick up your trash.
  • Be respectful and pleasant. No one's asking you to be Mr. or Mrs. Sunshine when you don't feel like it, but a simple honest "please," "thank you," or "You're welcome," goes a long way towards making your server/sales assistant/etc. have a much nicer day. Pleasant people get better service. It's a simple but easy concept.
  • Please don't be obnoxious and shrill if something gets screwed up. If the prices are too high, ask to speak to the head manager. Don't scream for half an hour straight at the person serving you about how it's absolutely ridiculous that Product A is a dime more expensive this week than it was last week. I highly doubt the person you're yelling at has any control over it. Don't be a jerk. Sometime's the nicer you are, the easier it is to fix something that's gone wrong.
  • If there's a line a mile long behind you and you're still figurng out what it is the hell you need/want, move aside and let the next person go ahead of you. Waiting in line himming and hawing stresses out your server because he/she is busy enough as it is and knows there are other people behind you waiting to be served. Also, the people behind you have to wait even longer to get served. Who wants someone like that in front of them?
  • Try to make your needs clear and concise. If you're ordering food, speak clearly and wait for your server to get your order down correctly. If you're going a mile a minute placing your order, it's going to be wrong - you don't want that, and neither does your server. This way, you can avoid changing an order after it's been filled/paid for and save time.
  • If at all possible, don't ask stupid questions. Use your common sense.
  • If you're ordering something, try not to say "I want that that thing with the brownies in it." I'm not psychic, I don't know what the hell you're talking about.
  • Don't complain about stupid things. For the love of God, don't bother your server/cashier/etc. with some stupid nonsense that you and only you in the world care about. If there's a small 'fuzzy' on the shirt you're buying, what do you expect the cashier to do? Pull out a tailor kit? Honestly.
These are a few things that come to my mind. The people serving you are human beings - they aren't born and raised at the corporate head office and stuffed away in the back of the store at the end of the night for use the next day. Working is what they do for money - it's not who they are. Yes, we've all had crappy service before from people who were lazy and shiftless - but by and large, these people are the exception. Be nice to the people providing you with a service.

In the end? When in doubt, follow the golden rule. Do unto others. Plain and simple.

Do you have any additions or pet peeves you think should be added to this list? Share your advice or stories from working in the service industry in the comments, and I'll add them to the list. - Danté

  • Don't talk on your cell phone while someone is trying to serve you. It's rude, rude, RUDE. If someone calls you while you're at the cash, fine, answer after excusing yourself, but for heaven's sake, don't go up to the cash register when you're mid-conversation.
  • Don't flick your credit card at the cashier. That should be common sense. It isn't. (I can't believe I missed this one - completely agree. -Danté)
Xavier R. Dubé of Keep Right adds his own pearls of wisdom:

  • If you KNOW the store is closing in five minutes, but it is technically still open, even if you think you have the time to buy what you need, please, PLEASE, refrain from going, or plan to come back earlier on the next day. You know, the cashier that has to close the place past 11 PM has already counted his cash register and done his inventory at that time, and he has a personal life besides working in the convenience store. After 8 hours straight, he's kinda eager to get home so cut him some slack, will you?... IF YOU FAIL TO DO THAT AND THE CASHIER TELLS YOU THE STORE IS CLOSED, NEVER, AND I REPEAT, NEVER EVER ARGUE WITH HIM ABOUT THE TIME. (EVEN IF IT'S STILL 2 MINUTES EARLY! ALL THE WATCHES IN THE WORLD ARE NOT TIMED EXACTLY THE SAME, YOU KNOW...)
  • If there's a line of people waiting behind you at the cash register, please REFRAIN from taking forever to choosing, comparing, validating and yes, buying some truely insignificant, asinine, time consuming and unessential items such as INSTANT LOTTERY TICKETS as they are in no way a necessity to your everyday life, even if you are foolishly convinced of the opposite.
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