Saturday, February 11, 2012

Strangers that don't suck

Sometimes, you run into people in the world who you don't know, and who, in all likelihood, you'll never see again.  While everyone has different sides to them, it is so important to show the best side you possibly can to these people.  I mean isn't it great when you run into a really friendly cashier at the supermarket or if somebody sees you getting out of your car an says, "cool car!" or something?  It feels so good.  I actually really enjoy talking to operators at call-in help centers because, even if they're not friendly (which we all know they sometimes aren't), I always make it my goal to not be some asshole who's just calling about some small problem and blaming the operator for it.  I'm friendly, I ask how they're doing, I'm cooperative, and I'm not irritating.

So today is a story about two strangers I met in my day who dichotomize this concept.  First, there was the cashier at CVS.  My bread had all gone bad, and I had a coupon to CVS, so I went there instead of the grocery store.

This my bread (it's a lot moldier than it looks here).  Sorry-- I just felt like the blog needed a picture...

The cashier was a sullen, heavyset old woman who had permanent frown lines around her mouth and eyes.  It turned out that I couldn't use the coupon without my CVS card so I gave the woman my phone number so she could look up my card (I didn't have it with me).  It didn't go through.  I told her that I had just used the card the other day, but she wouldn't cut me any slack.  I bit the bullet and bought the bread (!!alliteration!!) without the coupon because there had been a discount on it anyway.  THEN she told me I couldn't get the discount without my card.  UGH.  She wasn't helpful, she didn't suggest any solutions and she NEVER smiled or looked apologetic or anything.  She just had a really bad attitude and everything she said to me sounded angry.  In the end, she finally said, "Fine.  I'll let you have the discount, but I'm NOT letting you use the coupon."  At this point I was really wondering why she didn't just quit her job; she seemed so unhappy.  Anyway, I left and told her to have a nice day and she glared at me and I left.

Which leads me to the second stranger.

I had just parked quickly because I had planned on just running in and running out.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I had parked pretty close to another car.  I came out to see two woman looking at the car and when I walked over to my car, one of them said, "How am I supposed to get my passenger into my car?"  Yeah.  I had parked a bit too close...I apologized.  She went on saying things like, "that's inconsiderate!" and "you need to be mindful!" and "that's how you get your car scratched!"  I kept apologizing after everything she said.  What else could I say?  It was a really bad parking job.

So here's why this was a good stranger even though I think that reprimanding other strangers isn't a very good habit because it's condescending and somewhat rude, because you don't really know the person.  She wasn't just mad at me for blocking her door; she was worried about my car getting scratched (or at least that was the impression I got when she said "that's how you get your car scratched!") and she was giving me a lesson in kindness ("you need to be mindful!").  She wasn't just like "I can't believe you blocked me in like this!  You should be ashamed of yourself!"  And finally, when she was done she said, "ok" and got in her car (which somehow felt like she was accepting my apology, terseness aside).  And I think I heard her say something to her friend like, "somebody would kill her for that!" which I think might be a bit exaggerated, but oh well.

It's possible that because I look so young, she thought I was 16 years old and didn't know how to drive and was too young to yell at (that's one up side to having a babyface), but either way, it was nice not to have another mean stranger being rude to me within the course of about 5 minutes.

So, friendly, instructive woman, wherever you are, thank you for not keying my car, and thank you for not being rude and mean like the cashier in CVS.  I hope you have a good drive home in your little smart car.

1 comment:

  1. um...i appreciate the positive attitude but that second stranger was also a jerk. two bad strangers. a nice stranger would not say "ok" to your apology and a nice stranger would not give a whole lecture about a seriously dumb little thing. anyways. great positve attitude!

    at least you seem to have a nice neighbor that also likes late night meals!