She was loud. Clearly wanting people to hear her protest. Which made her an instant joke in our retail world. We all turned and rolled out eyes trying to act like we were working but what we were really doing was listening in to the obnoxious conversation between our HR manager and the customer.
“HE NEEDS TO GET A HAIRCUT! HE LOOKS UNPROFESSIONAL! I TOLD HIM SO TO HIS FACE!”
I whispered to my sales manager “I have half a mind to go cough on her and get her sick.” She whispered back “Don’t be passing your fever on to our customers.” though her tone indicated she was very amused at the idea. “What would she say if she knew I was at work with a fever?” I questioned. My manager shrugged and mouthed rolling her eyes “so unprofessional” in an almost perfect mimics of the customer. I stifled my giggle with a cough into my scarf.
Yeah I was sick, but I also had bills.
The customer had been complaining about one of our associates, who is a male with longer hair. The kind of scene kid hair that’s long, but not greasy. In fact if I had ever wanted straight hair it would definitely be the kind he has. Thick with good volume. Envy worthy. He keeps it clean and immaculate. It’s pretty trendy actually and he is confident in his hair. Not that this woman really cared about trends. She wouldn’t know a trend if it slapped her in the face. She actually looked pretty frumpy herself. Her hair was greasy and unwashed…and very poorly permed.
Of course that was pretty typical of our store. It was mostly older people who didn’t understand the evolution of the professional world. How being trendy was a big part of the culture and how being trendy in a fashion setting was even more important. Tattoos were in. Facial peurcings were in. People of different races were in (le gasp).
Yet she shouted on…and even yelled from the exit doors all friendly like she was a hot shot who knew everything and had some kind of pull in our store. She wanted to be made a big deal of. When she walked out we all laughed behind the counter to each other.
Some people are so rude.
Then again this woman came from the generation that still refers to our African American associates as “coloreds” and refused to go to their checkout because they “don’t trust their kind” (yes, a real conversation from a real customer). The generation that confused an Orthodox Jewish man shopping for a black dress shirt, as being a “dirty Arab” and in ignorance started telling me he was a Muslim and couldn’t be trusted (I corrected her, but then again you can fix stupid. She still was telling other customers she knew that he was a Muslim, and I did everything I could to assist him with my friendly customer service if not to help him find his size, to protect him from other foolish and intolerant customers who I didn’t trust to not to be rude or harm him. Because that’s how much I don’t trust the old white folks in my town). She was of the generation of the baby boomers. The ones who fantasize about when “America was great” with their 1950s ideals, milkshakes, racism, and hard-ons for Donald Trump.
It didn’t matter if the associate acted professional. It didn’t matter to her if he was on trend and friendly to her even if she was rude to him. As much as she was able to voice her opinion, it didn’t matter to her that he was putting the customer first. That he did his job and did it well.
What mattered to her was an outdated ideal and the thought that she because she had an opinion meant it mattered…when it just wasn’t relevant anymore. In fact it was rude.