After all the drama of the last post (okay, maybe all in my mind drama, but drama nonetheless!), I was content in knowing I’d probably leave this blog alone for a few days more as I entered the most mind-altering part of my weekly schedule (the overnights!). Then, a thing or two happened tonight that got me thinking, and when I get thinking, I’ll eventually get writing.
I work in a customer service oriented field. For a introvert like me, this isn’t exactly the best field to work in because you can’t really avoid people or being interactive in this type of job. And, I admit. I’m also not the most harmonious and positive of my coworkers when it comes to interacting with customers. There may be a few reasons for this, but a big one, especially where I’m situated, is that a smile is not often just a smile, and a nice demeanor isn’t just being polite anymore. If you smile at a guy, that means you obviously want to jump his bones. If you know someone’s name, you obviously want to marry him. If you’re working at night, you obviously are just trolling for dates and saying, “not interested” means “OMG, I want you so bad.”
This isn’t just from my experience. In fact, it’s the experience of the majority of my coworkers. Something about working in a customer oriented industry gives people the idea that sexual harassment and pushy behavior is somehow welcome because a person is being paid to be nice to you. Let’s repeat this: An associate gets paid to be nice to you.
Now, I know. Not all in the biz actually understand that and ignore you, or walk buy you, or call you names. I know this because I worked with one. I also know that more often than that, a nice person who happens to smile at someone gets hit on because someone assumes a smile is a gateway drug to hot sexy times.
That rant was nice, but not the point of this point. So, let’s rewind to me not being the most positive, smile-wielding member of our staff. I’m nice as a point of politeness, but if you’re acting like a racist,chauvinistic pig around me, I’m probably not going to smile at you or politely chuckle at your jokes. If you’re acting a little off the rocker, so to speak, I’m probably going to be wary around you. If you talk incessantly about not winning the lottery with the same speech every night, I’m not going to engage you in conversation like it’s our first time meeting. I won’t be rude. But, I won’t be your bff. So, it always surprises me, especially when hearing supervisors express to me that I need to be “nicer” or that I’m a hard-ass, that I have circumstances like tonight.
A customer stopped me tonight while I was working and handed me a piece of paper. She explained the situation and that she had planned on throwing the paper she’d gotten in the mail out, but thought of me before doing so. She told me she’d received it, but would never, ever use it, and thought, if I was interested, I could use it. Why? “Because you’re always so nice to me when I come in.”
To note, it was a gift certificate good towards merchandise at a higher-end retail establishment the woman doesn’t even frequent, but received a gift from a family member from. I was humbled. But, it was far from the first experience I’ve had with this.
Here, I guess, is something I thought about and am still contemplating. All throughout my customer service career experience, I’ve always been compared to someone else and told that’s how I should act.Yet, I must be doing something right if someone wants to give me something, even if on an off-chance, because I’m always nice to them. To clarify: Because I’m polite to them.
So, yeah, in all the dark going on in my life right now, a brightness did come from a strange light source: Because in all the times I sit down and believe I’m not good enough because I’m not just like the examples thrown on the table in front of me, someone seems to always come by and tell me I AM. And, it’s always from the place you’d never, ever expect it from.