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Friday, February 27, 2015

Teachers, Sexism, Circle-K Wins, And A Fear Of Snow ...

Ok then. I'm doing this.

This is a 100% true story. I wasn't sure if I was going to share this, but it's a good story. I shared it on a group I'm in on my Faceybook page and it led to a good, rousing discussion, so I thought I'd expand on it here on my blog.

So. Lets do this ...

So I work with a bookstore that this blog is on no way affiliated with, right? And yesterday a teacher came in to the kids section. She's a regular in the store. I know this, despite her stubborn refusal to ever have me help her. In fact, a LOT of people refuse my help. I don't think it's entirely racist. I don't like ever playing the race card. No, I'm pretty sure it's more sexism than racism. I mean, moms and wives and teachers in Oklahoma are more comfortable asking an overweight middle aged woman for help than a Latino man in a suit. So I know her, I know she's a teacher, and I know she doesn't ever want my help.

Nevertheless, I repeatedly asked her if she needed help. I asked about 3 or 4 times if she needed help and each time she said no and sort of waved me away. She kept giving off a vibe that she was getting pretty darn annoyed at me. Well sorry, lady. It's my job. I help people, even if they don't want help from me. It's what I do.

Seriously, the majority of the customers I deal with in the midwest are subconsciously skeptical of the strange looking well dressed Mexican guy in the bookstore, so instead of letting it get me down I just see every customer interaction as a chance to prove myself and try to shatter their inner prejudices, whatever they may be.

(Dood! I have like a bajillion stories of the racism and sexism I've dealt with working retail. Some are funny, some are painful, some are batshit insane. But that's a different post for a different time.)

The woman was on the floor in front of the picture book wall and she was pulling picture books and making these really biiiiiiig piles. I assumed she was doing a purchase order for a school or a library or something like that. It happens all the time. Mystery solved. About an hour and a half later she came up to me visibly upset and said-slash-yelled that she was DISGUSTED with the poor alphabetization of our picture book wall and that it set a bad example for kids. So she pulled EVERY BOOK THAT WAS ALPHABETIZED INCORRECTLY and left it on the floor so that we could shelve them properly and learn our lesson.

Then she stormed off.

After a few deep breaths, I decided NOT to tell a manager, NOT to complain to my fellow employees, and NOT to make a big deal out of it. I slowly shelve the piles of books as if nothing had happened. Just another day at work. Now, I am not saying all teachers are bad. But I've had a number of mean spirited teachers who think that just because of their job that they are better than me. I know you're a teacher and a hero and leading a generation of kids into a bright and shiny blah blah blah, but just because you're a teacher doesn't give you a license to treat me like crap, ok?

So my first thought was to report this incident and tell the manager and single her out and get her in trouble and all of that stuff. I mean, hey, maybe that's what I SHOULD have done? But, really, I don't know this woman. I don't know her whole life story. Maybe she was just having an off day or something. Maybe she just needed to blow off some steam. Maybe she was just not having a good day. So, instead of getting her in trouble for treating me like shit, I made a semi-managerial decision and decided to just let it slide.

And I feel that karma paid me back for that because a few hours later a complete and total stranger paid for all my stuff at the Circle-K. Completely paid for my whole bill. Paying it forward and all that. And I feel that if I had gotten that woman in trouble then I never would have gotten my bill paid at the Circle-K.

So yay for karma.

Yay for customer service.

Yay for small wins.

Really, though, I think that the real reason why that woman was so rude was the weather.

That picture was from last year. But juuuuuust wait.

It's supposed to snow ALLLLLL WEEKEND here in Oklahoma. Just non-stop snow. And that story about the rude teacher happened yesterday, Thursday, the day before the snow was supposed to start. And that whole day was a strange one. It took me a while to figure out what was wrong but I eventually realized what the hell was going on: the newspaper and the local tv news has everyone believing that the snow was going to be so supremely bad this weekend that everybody was busy as hell getting everything done BEFORE it hits, which meant that every single person you met was anxious and hyper and angry and bitchy and panicked and mean. If they were cats then there'd be a lot of hairs sticking up, you know?

So I figured that could have been her problem, that "winter is coming" and shit.

But now it's Friday and, as predicted, the snow is starting ...

You can't see it from that picture but I am freaking the hell out.

For starters, my wife works as a dietician at an old folks home. She is a necessary employee which means that she NEVER gets a day off. If she's scheduled to work on Christmas then tough titty because old people still have to eat, despite Christmas. And if it's raining dogs and cats and frogs and locusts and the blood of the innocent then she still has to make it to work or she'll be fired. Necessary employee. She works today from 12:30 to 7:30pm and then she works tomorrow at 6am. And apparently the snow is expected to be so bad that they told her to bring an extra change of clothes because if she's snowed in then she can spend the night at the old folks home.

THAT is how serious this weekend's snow is supposed to be.

I am from Phoenix. I have a very small amount of experience with snow. So I am freaking the fuck out about this weekend. Will my wife come home tonight? Will she be snowed in at work? Plus, I work tomorrow. And I work 45 minutes away on a dry, non-snowy day. And apparently the real shit is supposed to hit the fan tomorrow night, which is when I'm currently scheduled to leave work. What if I am snowed in to work? What happens then?

Ok. Deep breath. Calm the fuck down, Steve.

Hopefully the Circle-K karma stretches towards this weekend, you know?

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