Monday, January 9, 2012

Down There

According to the Washington Post, the top 1% of the nation's population account for 24% of the nation's total income and more than 40% of its wealth. I just spent the last 6 months knocking around to save a couple of hundreds dollars on a used Volvo for my daughter.

Clearly, I am not in the 1%.

I'm in the upper tiers of the remaining 99%. And I understand the rage that consumes folks who have worked hard, lived by the rules and expected a fair return on their labor. There is a great wealth disparity in this country. And a small minority have benefitted from their treasonous greed. In that respect I have great empathy for the 99%. At least 99% of them.

You see the spectrum goes two ways.

On the one side you have the monumentally wealthy and their abhorrent avarice. On the other end you have the inordinately entitled and their conspicuous laziness. These are the bottom feeders of the 99%. And I would posit they have earned their lowly economic position in life.

Last week, on a rare afternoon outting away from our daughters, my wife and I found ourselves at the Fox Hills Mall in Culver City, excuse me the new Westfield Shopping Center, I forgot they gentrified the place. We had to pick up a few things including a new pair of cross training shoes for my upcoming foray into Shawn T's Insanity Fitness Program.

We sauntered into Foot Locker, which is dominated by a 100-foot deep wall display of sneakers. They have shoes for every imaginable sport, from badminton to New Rules Rugby. In an effort to hasten the shopping experience, I very politely asked a young woman sporting the Foot Locker Polo Shirt, "Can you show me where the cross trainers are?"

She raised her right arm, which in retrospect now seems above and beyond the call of duty, pointed to the further reaches of The Wall and flippantly said, "down there."

Down there, I thought, could you be more specific? Those were the words that would have come out of my mouth had I the proper time to react to her insolence, but she had vanished in the blink of an eye, no doubt to exercise her mandated 15 minute coffee/cigarette/texting break.

My wife and I walked 'down there' along the wall and then continued walking directly out of the store. I was not going to patronize a store that can't be bothered by its customers.

This was not the end of the Down There Incident.

My wife and I continued to talk about it in disbelief on the drive home. She contends it was management's fault for not giving that young lady the proper training. What training, I asked, does it take to attend to customer requests? This women, girl, let's say she was 17, is an employee. She puts on the Foot Locker Shirt. She gets a paycheck. She has a job. At the very, very least she has a responsibility to the customer. To be helpful, courteous and to be of some service. That doesn't require training, that simply requires the acknowledgment that she is employed. The truth is I could have got a more informed response from a fellow customer.

This girl didn't just suck at her job, she sucks at Capitolism. She lacks a fundamental understanding about what it takes to succeed, or even survive, in the work world.

I'll take it even further, I'll say she sucks at Life. She suffers from half-assedness. If would be as if someone stopped me on the sidewalk and asked me, "what time it was?" And I looked at my watch and replied, "Afternoon."

But Karma is a wise lady. I suspect that slapping sneakers on smelly feet will be the apex of this woman's career and she will find herself occupying a desk at the DMV and complaining in perpetuity about how life is so unfair.

Of this, I am 99% sure.

1 comment:

Ellen November said...

Yes that kind of 'customer service' is more prevalent than not. My take is that this girl is acting out her teenage I Hate My Mother and All Authority right of passage and you just got in the way. I blame her boss for not training her in customer service. It has to be taught and practiced. She may be a warm body who can ring up a sale, but little else. That reminds me of an incident at Office Depot where the clerk did not know how to work the cash register....nevermind.