31 January 2011
Jim was the security guard working the area near the front door. He was doing the work of a guard, as well as a greeter and a customer service representative. I had stopped in to purchase some salt in anticipation of the forecasted nasty weather, and saw a stack of salt bags near the front door. Not clear if these were for store employees to spread outside on the sidewalk, I asked Jim if I could purchase a bag.
"Absolutely," he replied. He reached down, lifted a bag, and walked it over to the scanner next to the aisle end-cap to let me know how much one cost. There were two women standing in front of the scanner, and Jim politely asked them to move so he could scan the bag. He was greeted with anything but politeness.
One of the women proceeded to berate Jim for a good 30 seconds, telling him with no uncertainty that she could do whatever she damn well pleased. Jim stood there and took it. When the rude misanthrope and her henchwoman finally decided to shuffle along, she made sure to loudly shout slurs and insults about Jim and his profession so everyone in the store could hear. I couldn't take it anymore and loudly responded, "Maybe if you spoke up, the whole city could hear you." I received a dirty look, and she left the store.
I turned to Jim and asked how he kept his composure. He replied, "When stupid people talk, I don't listen."
Jim walked the back to the self-checkout lanes for me, I thanked him for his kind service, and I payed for the bag and left the store. Yes, we can complain about the service we get in many retail establishments in DC, but witnessing first-hand the kind of crap these people have to endure reminded me to try even harder to be nice to everyone. Hopefully, you won't be the only one.