Writing is an Itch. This is a place to scratch.

Monday, January 11, 2010

People Are Not Just Meat

By Rattus Scribus@ 11 January 2010

All the years that my wife was pursuing her college degree and teaching license, she worked part time at a food market for well-to-do Minnesotans. Now many of you have heard me say that Anita is one of the kindest, most humane and sensitive persons I have known.

It therefore angered me when a customer treated her like something on the bottom of their shoe. We've all heard the common store motto that "the customer is always right." But in my experience, the customer is not only frequently wrong, but quite nasty about it too.

"The Customer is Always Reich, I mean Right"

I could tell you countless stories of abusive customers, but I will tell you only one here, and hope to draw a common sense lesson from it.

Anita was working at the deli section of the market, when a man quite rotund in circumference came up and asked her for an order of Asian food that included rice and a mound of battered fried spicy chicken. Now, leaving aside for the moment the irony of my wife, healthy eater extraordinaire, working at a job that caters to "upscale" Americans who eat more meat than a velociraptor, the man took one look at the pyramid of fried flesh and fumed:

"You're not doing it right! The small section is for the rice and the large section is for the meat!"

Background. The oval plate has two small sections for rice and another side dish, and the large center section for the main -- always some kind of meat -- entrée.

My wife's unpardonable sin? She had put the rice in part of the large (meat) section, and put the meat on the rest of the plate, the difference to the portions of which was nothing.

But he insisted: "Do it right!"

My wife then plowed what she already considered dinner for two onto a fresh plate with the rice and the meat in their proper sections.

End of story? Of course not. For he was now forced to ask what he really wanted but was too prideful or malevolent to ask kindly.

"I want more meat!" came the hiss between pursed and bloodless lips. And she gave it to him, lest the matter go all the way to the Supreme Court.

That day, in a lovely fashionable Minnesota market, some nasty cuss had two entrées: one was Asian spicy chicken; the other was a human being. To him they were both just meat.

I was determined after this incident that I would try to the best of my ability never to be the customer from the infernal regions.

There is something horribly wrong when the most trivial of things is all that is needed for one person to treat another in so shabby a fashion.

We are none of us perfect. But surely we can agree that a human being is worth a little more than an extra helping of Kung Pao?

Photo credits:
Human meat: http://www.liberacionanimal.org


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh do I remember that day...why do people have to be so cruel? Your recollection of my story is brilliant, the pictures are worth 1000 words, and you my dearest, are one talented scribe. Please, please continue to write what is in that brilliant mind of yours and in that generous heart. What a prince! Bisous.

Fete et Fleur said...

I'm sorry for him!

What a sad soul that walks this earth and feels that they have the right to bring misery to everyone they meet.


Marie said...

Ah, Ruben, this sounds all too familiar. This type of person can really get you going, no? The truth is, they themselves are miserable. True peace is missing. It's odd how so many times I've found myself frustrated by someone treating me in the same way but for as much as I'm angry, I also feel sorry for them because I know there's something else going on deep inside that they don't know how to handle. Unfortunately, so many are in denial to what the real anger stems from and live their entire lives being and making others miserable. God bless them and I agree with you, we should all remember what it feels like to be treated badly before we open our mouths and pierce an innocent with those poison arrows.


Marie Antionette said...

What a mean and nasty guy! I wish I could have been there. Thats why I don't work anymore. It would be...Off with his head...LOL. He would be eating the plate.
Did you know I was a bartender for 20 yrs? My boss and friend, Clyde, Did not allow customers to treat us like that.He did not believe they were always right either.
These photos are really awesome...creepy but awesome...LOL.
Anita is a wonderful person. I love her to pieces.I really loved the picture of you both at your Doctorial graduation. Did I spell that right.
Thank you for stoping by my humble blog. I am not a writer and can't spell worth a D... so your comment was appreciated...LOL
Hugs and kisses...Marie Antionette

Theatre Du Boheme said...

Oh Rueben what a truly colorful way to write a disasterously dark story-Poor Anita. But I too, have encountered such miseraable souls at previous jobs. It makes us, the receivers of such rudeness, the better person/people. And I'm afraid that people like that man will continue to roam the earth, lest the dinosaurs return and choose them for their supper instead~

Me....bunny said...

Oh man...could I write a bloomin' book on this one Ruben. Having worked with the public for well over 20 years, I have come across some pretty angry and sad (usually the same) people. Being the couch less psychiatrist that I am, I speculate that people who are unhappy with their life and probably lack the motivation to delve into their problem...take it out on the public.
Now...having said that, the public because it is usually in the form of service has been brain washed to think that this type of behavior is normal, almost predicted and therefore accepted, which perpetuates the bad behavior...like a bad child that acts out and the parent who looks the other way. If only we could put grown ass people in time out...lol

ps...looking forward to the cobra venom that will help my back...very interesting.


Bonnie said...

Hello dear Rattus, I have finally recovered from that first pic! Reminds me of this sci fi story of a mother who kept her family hermetically sealed in Tupperware so they never aged!

Ah, I believe the customer is almost always right but there is absolutely no need for a lack of civility. He should have taken a cue from Oliver...Pls miss, can I have some more! Infernal regions, indeed! Some people are rude just because they can be and you can only imagine what a sad and bitter life they must lead.

Love reading your blog, Ruben.

Have a great day, Bonnie

The Victorian Parlor said...

Very well said! Having worked in sales for more than 10 years I can relate to the experience of the horrible customer! I cannot tell you how many times I was yelled at because the computer was down or something had gone wrong that was beyond my control. I have always said that everyone should be required to work in a customer service position for a year. I think society would be a kinder, more understanding place if they did:). Great story!



sPaRkLiNg sCrApBoOkS said...

Hello Ruben! So nice of you to drop by my blog. John and I really enjoy Anita's blog so much, and now we have yours as well. This post caught my eye. Ah yes, 'the customer is always right' motto! I love that one, NOT! How sad that it seems people are getting ruder & ruder. When I worked retail way back when, from the other perspective as an employee, I was always pleasant to the customer, I always said "hello" and "thank you" - nowadays, I rarely get a hello let alone a smile from anyone working retail. What has happened? Is it too many grumpy customers that has turned the employees sour! It's a vicious circle! Poor Anita! We've all dealt with those idiots! Those are the ones that just "haven't got it" in regards to learning life lessons! They'll have to 'get it' one way or another! Have a wonderful weekend! deb