Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cheerful jobs that lack cheer

I hate to be a demanding customer, demanding more from some services than others, but I think there are some establishments where, even if they are just retail, a certain amount of joy should come with the service. When I am mumbled at through the Taco Bell drive-thru speaker, they don't repeat my special order request back to me and hand me my food, peering back at me through their seemingly newborn eyes, I don't blame them at all. They work at Taco Bell. They are getting minimum wage and dishing out pig food to pig people. There is nothing to be happy about. I don't even blame them (though of course I am frustrated) when they screw up my order and forget to leave out the beef. If I'm eating their Mexican Pizza for $2.85, what do I expect? A bowl of smiles? Hardly.

 Dante from 'Clerks', the second worst clerk of all time, (after Randal)

But some businesses are in the business of being there for important, fun filled events in your life and subsequently, should step it up on the cheer front. I for one, on the few times a year when I have to face the public, am able to share in our customers' delight over our fabric prints and feed their excitement. Even when they gasped with glee over a cow print that went against all my aesthetic principles, I'd just smiled politely and remark that it was popular, my gritted teeth stored discreetly in my stomach.

I first noticed this lack of joy where there should be some when shopping for my wedding dress. I for one was not interested in sharing my life story with the ladies in the dress shops, but my mother, of course was ecstatic about the wedding of her first born and couldn't help but pour her heart out to the shop lady about how excited she was, and how happy she was with who I was marrying. The dress designer did nothing to disguise her boredom with my mother's chit chat and stopped just short of rolling her eyes at her. Thankfully for my mum, she remained oblivious to the poor reception and her prattle could not be stopped. I stood in the middle feeling uncomfortable, all too aware of both parties' positions, wishing my mother would knock it off, but was also taken aback by the wedding dress makers inability to enjoy the trappings of weddings and listen to a proud mother. After all, this is her business. Do you think that should that be part of the service? Maybe we weren't worth it since I found a perfectly fitting dress on sale, 1/6th the cost of having her make it for me from scratch.

Okay, maybe not THIS enthusiastic, but a good balance. 

In the day to day realm of whimsy, I went out to buy my kitten a new brand of food last week and was met with more disappointment. I didn't go to Petco, the massive chain of pet stores, but instead went to an independently owned boutique pet store where I am quite certain they are being paid above minimum wage to give a crap. I asked if they would take this bag of food back once opened if my cat didn't like it. The guy said with this particular brand, they would. I then added "He's just so fussy." and the guy just said nothing, glared at me and continued bagging my order. Even before I owned a pet, I could easily enjoy getting caught up in pet talk and I would hope that someone working in a fancy pet store could and would willingly want to engage in joyful chit chat about pets. A simple "Oh, I know what you mean!" with a hint of "those rascally kittens!" in his voice would have sufficed, rather than dead silence, indicating he probably hates me and my kitten. How could he? He's adorable!

My adorable, 5-month old Birdsworth whom the clerk should have been interested in.

Lastly, I have had mixed service for the the employees at See's Candies. Judging by the delight with which I show the fabric my company designs, I can assure you my capacity for company enthusiasm would reach its greatest heights if it were my job to not only fill boxes with chocolate, but also have the pleasure of handing out free samples. It's like getting to be Santa Claus every three minutes over an 8 hour period. What a delight! There is one woman at my local See's Candies who has lost her way and hands over the sample as though they were lumps of coal. She is very efficient and knows their wares, but her lack of love for the product or happiness for your upcoming enjoyment is grossly apparent. If I may say, her physique indicates she may have overdone the chocolate and she may resent the willy nilly purchase and consumption that she can no longer partake it. Whatever her back story, it is not my problem. I should be able to able to bound out of See's with a bag full of Bordeauxs with a spring in my step as I was joyfully nudged out by a merry chocolate purveyor.

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