A few of us are leaving the store, exiting through the Exit (I emphasize that as a few folks seem to get all upset when the Entrance door won't open for them as they attempt to exit through it.) and find ourselves halted as two older gentlemen are ensconced, smack dab in the middle of the doorway, unloading their shopping cart, arranging thier loads, and oblivious to the fact that other people are being inconvenienced. In short, nobody can get through the doorway while these two clowns block the exit. And they are clueless.
My co-worker and I roll our eyes, but nobody says a thing. This is nothing new, just a variety of boorish behavior. And we've seen it before. Far too often.
Not too long ago, I actually had one fellow give me a hard time because he was standing in the Entrance, craning his neck to see the registers, blocking the way, while I was trying to move a line of shopping carts into the store. Trust me, folks, a line of shopping carts is heavy. It has quite a bit of mass. It's taxing to stop dead, while trying to avoid some nimrod who wants to sight-see in front of you. When he finally sidled out of the way I shoved the line of carts in and wrestled them into place, then went out for more. Rounding up shopping carts is one of my duties during busy times at the store. It is sweaty, tiring work, made more difficult by people who think you can stop a line with a thought, and have no compunction against dancing in front of a moving line.
Well, the same fellow was in the same place, craning his neck again, blocking the way. I stopped the line and leaned on the carts, waiting for him to move (I have since learned to call, loudly, "Out of the way! Coming through! Out of the way!" Most people will move the heck outa the way!). When he did, I pulled the string of carts in and circled out, heading for the lot again. But I glanced back and he was back in the doorway, again!
So I went in and asked him, "Is there something you're looking for? You can go on in, you know."
He looked me up and down - you've seen that look. Like you have gobs of shit hanging on you - and said, in reply, "Have you got a problem?"
Ahhhh, a toughie! One of those clowns that think you are there for their amusement, to be fired if you object to their rude behavior. They just wait for a reason to complain to management about some employee, hoping to show how important and tough they are. Cowards, actually. I loathe people like that, and I don't give them ammunition.
"Oh, no sir," I said. "If you are looking for somebody, why don't you go right in?"
"I'm not bothering anybody."
"Well, you're kind of in the way, here, sir. I don't want to hit you with a line of shopping carts." I don't, but not because it wouldn't be justified. I don't want to get fired!
"I'm not in your way. Just go around."
"Sir, if you just step in, you can see the registers better."
"Maybe you just need to be more careful, pal."
I love that. So I grin, widely, a sort of Uriah Heep grin, and I say, in my most ingratiating manner, "Maybe I should!"
And he caught on that he was being mocked, but without anything to point to for ammunition. "Yeah! Maybe you should!"
My grin became painfully large! "Oh, yes, sir! I should be much more careful! You are absolutely right!" At which point I wandered out and went for more carts to bring in.
And I had to think that Robert A. Heinlein was right. That an armed society is a polite society. Can you imagine some asshat mouthing off, when he was at fault, if the object of his rudeness was armed?
When did rudeness become some sort of badge of pride? Why do we allow the perpetually rude to continue their reign of terror? When did we abdicate our responsibility to others by ignoring loud people, ignore line-cutters, slobs, and vandals?
Used to be that a public restrooms was a fairly clean place. People would strive to leave it cleaner than when they entered. Good lord, I wipe fixtures after using the restroom, knowing that water leaves marks. I pick up paper towels from the floor. And I'm not talking about the store where I work. I'm talking about restaurants, and movie theaters, and stores that I visit. I can't imagine not doing such things. Why? Because it's the polite thing to do. The right thing.
If I need to use my cell phone to make a call - mine is on silent when I am out in public so the ring does not bother others - I find some place where I won't bother anybody with my one-sided conversation. I fear I am in the minority there. Anyone?
Why are children, increasingly, allowed to run riot in public places? Why do parents allow them to have full-blown tantrums in public? Daily I hear the shrieks of children denied some trinket, or tidbit, or permission to play some game. Bravo! parents, for saying, "No!" But why do you stop there?
As soon as Junior launches into a tirade, why do you remain silent? Why are we, the public, subjected to your brat's screams of rage? Where is the spanking? Where is the sharp rebuke?
One lad was pulling just such a stunt at the store some months ago. No employee is going to say anything - we have jobs to protect! But others saw and heard. Shoppers frowned, mumbled, moved along quickly to get away from the turmoil. Until one old lady stopped, frowning, and watched this tantrum. Then she leaned down, shook her finger in the brat's face, and snapped, "Quiet! Nobody came here to listen to you scream! Be quiet!"
Then she straightened up and strolled away. The brat was silent in her wake, and didn't open his mouth again.
I wish that old lady was in my store every day as the self-appointed brat cop.
Every day, one of my responsibilities is to clean the restrooms. I won't linger on the debris, messes, and barbaric leavings I find there. But what cheeses me off even more than the slobs that use the restrooms, are the thieves. For every day, a few times a day, I will find CD wrappers, clothing labels, empty product boxes, etc, hidden in the trash, and other places. I hate thieves. I wonder what the parents think when their darling daughters or sons come home with merchandise they cannot have bought. Do they know the stuff was stolen? Do they suspect? Do they even care? They have raised rude children, with no moral base, who think the world is there for thier use. No matter what it costs the rest of us.
Rude! Unmannered! Gad! I have so much more about this that I'd scribble down, but it would take all night to make a dent in my anger at this phenomenom of modern American society.
Maybe a few public floggings would help, eh? Just a few? To see if it deters? Hmmm?