Dear Borders Sales Clerk (or, frankly, any sales clerk),
Be it hereby known that I do not care that it infuriates you when customers (I) talk on their (my) cellphones during sales transactions. I do not appreciate the rolled eyes, the exasperated sighs, the irritated expressions or the general disdain you exude when you are approached with a sale on a celly. Listen, you don't need to be so obvious with your annoyance. Trust that when I approach and I'm on the phone it isn't that I'm UNAWARE that it displeases you, it is that I don't give a rat's ass.
I'm not sure if in modern society there was some sort of switch that was thrown that somehow gave sales employees the notion that they are somehow not on duty to accommodate the customer and that they are instead there to socialize or something, but I missed that particular memo. Is it only me who clings desperately to that old-fashioned notion that while they are there, being paid, to help me, that we are not, in fact, equals. I seem to be lost in some anachronistic fantasy in which the idea that the customer is always right is still alive and well. I'm firmly requesting that the "customer is always right" mentality be reinstated forthwith. Am I wrong here?
Listen, clerks, I get it. I've worked retail. And I was subject to being bossed about by complete strangers who told me to get them this or that, to hurry the heck up, to accommodate their every whim. Believe you me, the feeling of subservience was not one I come by naturally. I was, however, altogether aware that I was present in the shop for their pleasure. I was trying to sell them stuff. I was being paid to be there, to actually work there. I was not under the delusion that I was also just browsing around, happened to see someone in need of paying up and took it upon myself to tally them up! Oh, no, I recognized that taking their money was my job.
[Yeah, there's no real mystery that I didn't last long at that position, but let's just all be grateful that I didn't attempt a stint at that most ignoble form of servitude known to First World denizens: waitressing. I think we all know how long I would've lasted trying that! As it was, my manager, being the outrageously resourceful and competent man that he was, immediately recognized that my talents were being overlooked at the cash register and reassigned me to "visuals" promptly. So then I just had to serve the customer base by creating an inviting and pretty space in which they could ponder whether they needed just one wind-up flashlight or several, whether they'd need that down comforter in misty sage or silvered blue. But I digress. The point? I get it. Retail is thankless, underpaid job. Then again, you can train a monkey to ring items through a scanner.]
So, when I approach your cash register please know that I have made the choice to do so, knowing full well that you may be offended by it. I have consciously decided that you and I will not be discussing the weather or how much you personally adore the items I have chosen to purchase. I have decided that my time is better spent continuing the call I am on while you ring and bag. Amazingly, I can hand you the credit card and continue my conversation-- I think we all know this hardly even taxes my ability to multi-task. If there is an emergency you need to alert me to, like say, my hair has caught fire, then you may interrupt me. Other than that, shove off and get to work!
You don't have any idea the business I'm conducting on my call, so don't give me your vexed glare and act all put out. I could be on the horn with Ben Bernanke advising him on policy, I could be arranging emergency food supplies to be airlifted to Somalia, I could work for a suicide prevention hotline that patches calls through, really any number of scenarios is possible. The point is, you don't know. Yeah, it is more likely I'm trading giggles with Edna over the inanity of our spouses, but again, with as busy as the two of us have been, this time here waiting on YOU to hurry up and ring is my only free time to get that special girl time, ok?
Oh, and let's get something else out there; just because I'm allowed to chat on the phone during our business does not, under any circumstance, give you the right to do the same. Again, it is pretty simple. You are being paid to assist me. Now make yourself useful to your employer and do your job. You really should reconsider the attitude in toto anyway what with so many people looking for jobs! And the very presence of your cellphone during our transaction is entirely unsuitable, even if you are just holding it on your shoulder, head cocked to the side while you half-smile at me and toss my purchases into a bag. Not ok! I may want to talk about the weather. I may want to solicit your opinion on my purchases. The thrust of the argument is this: Me talky = ok; you talky = no go. Got it? Swell.
Oh, and a special note to my optometrist's office personnel: the laminated sign you have hung on every flat surface of your waiting room decreeing that cell phones are not allowed in your office? BULLSHIT! You've got some set of balls for a group of clearly over-estrogened ladies to presume to tell me to turn my phone off! Once again, I am the customer therefore it matters not to me if it annoys you to hear me conducting my telephonic business. And two? Even more brazenness to make me wait for my appointment if I'm not allowed to use that time to accomplish something. Sit here and listen to the feeble drippings of your water feature that remind me to tell TOM to get his prostate checked while trying to amuse myself with six-year-old copies of Reader's Digest? I think not, sugartits.
If you don't want me on the phone, that doctor better be waiting at the door to usher me back for my appointment. If, on the other hand, you expect me to actually wait? Uh, I'll be using my phone. You never know, I could be negotiating a hostage release. You don't know. It could happen. Or, maybe Edna needs to know what the root verb of the word "are" is. That's probably more likely.