Sunday, March 16, 2008
Hey Fuckhead

Yeah, you, the little po-faced balding guy with the mustache and the stick up his ass. C'mere for a minute.

You came into our store this evening to buy a DVD. I was up at the front of the store, working at the register. As I puttered around, I heard a call come over my walkie from the back. "So, according to this guy buying La Vie En Rose, we're all stupid. Thought you'd want to know." I figured you'd be coming my way shortly, and not five minutes later you appeared.

Over the course of our brief exchange, I learned a few interesting facts:

1) We alphabetize foreign film titles in a way you don't like. Specifically, we alpha-ed your selection by "La" rather than "Vie". "La," you said, was an article in French (which, in fact, pretty much all of us already knew), so this was similar to alphabetizing a title that begins with "The" in the Ts.

2) That's stupid.

3) The guy who helped you is stupid.

4) I am also stupid.

5) Also, I am a robot. A stupid robot.

6) Because I'm so robotic and stupid, you see no point in talking to a manager, contrary to my polite suggestion.

There was some other random abuse in there, but that was the gist of it. The only real problem was that you wouldn't fucking get over it and leave -- you just stood there, going over and over how stupid and robotic we all were, whining about a corporate decision about alphabetization.

I have a few points to make in rebuttal.

1) It's true that strictly speaking, La Vie En Rose should probably be alpha-ed under 'V' according to standard French usage. However, given that we're in a predominantly English-speaking country, our company has had to weigh the risk of assuming that our typical customer has a working knowledge of French articles against the possibility that some pedantic douchenozzle might get sand in his vagina over a minor deviation in usage. Apparently they've chosen to risk your ire in the hope that the other 99% of our customers might be able to find things on their own.

2) Most people, having not found the title under "Vie" probably would've just tried "La" next.

3) If they still couldn't find it, we have staff available to help you. Amazingly, in spite of his stupidity, our stupid, robotic staffer managed to find your selection easily according to our normal alphabetizing system.

4) At that point, even the most egregious assbag would've noted to himself our obvious stupidity and gone about his business without making a special effort to harangue both the staffer who helped him and the otherwise-uninvolved employee who rang up his purchase.

5) It was in your best interests that I was being so robotic, because had I ceased to stick to my script, the things I'd have said to you would've made you much angrier than my indirect non-apologies.

6) If you got the feeling that I was being faux-politely dismissive of your concerns, that's because I was. My robotic script is the tool I use to scrape you off the bottom of my metaphorical shoe.

7) I pray that medical science eventually finds a way to extract that tree branch from your rectum; but I hope the splinters it leaves behind keep you squirming until the day you fucking die.

This guy wasn't the first to comment on my supposedly crushed soul, though he was the first to get in my face about it. Yes, I have a little script that I use to get through each transaction without missing any of the details, and yes, it's pretty soulless and automatic at this point. If it seems routine, that's because it is indeed a routine for me; I no more attempt to put my soul into every customer interaction than I try to put my soul into every dish I wash. Like any prostitute, I am paid to be nice to you; but like any prostitute, that doesn't extend to any offer of genuine intimacy on my part. I owe you no fragment of my real personality or persona. I may, if I feel like it, or if I catch a whiff of genuine commonality, address a customer not as Retail Amy but as Real Amy. But I'm under to obligation to do so. I have to be polite, and I have to be attentive, but I don't have to give you any of myself. I don't have to care about you, I only have to pretend that I do.

But I'll give you points for style -- you delivered your accusations of my roboticism in a flat, deadpan monotone without any obvious awareness of the irony therein. You rejected any possibility of lateral thinking in favor of a futile feedback loop, and you refused to acknowledge the humanity of the people who were trying to assist you, expecting us to conform to your precise expectations

But I'm the robot. The stupid, stupid robot.

PS: And finally, thanks to the customer who drooled on my arm this morning. That made my first hour of work extra-special.
12:13 AM ::
Amy :: permalink