No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Doh! 30,000 people you say?

You know how you have that friend who you always make plans with, but never follow through? You really fully intend to, but for whatever reason it just never works out. Maybe you don't, but I do. I have that friend and against all odds, she remains one of my closest friends ever. We've known each other for something like 18 years, since before I knew that I was a lesbian. She knew me when I still kissed,***** insert drumroll**** boys! (gasp!) I know, ewwww!

My friend's birthday is this weekend. We rarely get to do much together since she is a wife, the mother of 3 young children, and holds a full time job. I have school and work and blah, blah, blah... We all have responsibilities that keep us from enjoying free time with friends, some of us have more than others. When she found out that she was going to have Saturday off from work, we decided we'd plan a girl's day out, have lunch, go to the Frist, Nashville's measley answer to a fine art gallery. They have a phenomenal show on display right now, And since we're going to the Frist, we decided to take her oldest daughter, who is 8 years old, because she won an art contest and has a painting on display there. Way to go, girl! Sooooo we had a big ole' day all planned out, just us girls.
THEN, I finally see the friggin' headlines this morning.

The Music City Marathon is tomorrow! With it, around 30,000 runners will be in the downtown Nashville area.

Precisely where my friend and I want to be! The route starts out just across the street from the restaurant that we wanted to have lunch at. The Frist Center is smack dab in the middle of Broadway, which will be closed part of the morning for the runners. Oi vey!
Now I have to concoct a whole new plan of action for our girls day, which by the way, must be something that an 8 year old will enjoy too. Geez. I don't suppose I can drag them along on my garbage extraction from the sides of streets venture, can I? I mean, none of you seem interested in helping to beautify our neighborhoods, and I know you read about it, I watch my stats! You read it and sulked away, stealth-like, thinking I'd just think no one saw ;)
Well, that's just fine. I guess you either don't have litter producing neighbors, like I do, or, you don't care ;)

I've had something else on my mind, that I believe ties into the whole give a Hoot - Don't Pollute, thing.
Customer Service. Good customer service, or a lack therof, I should say. I got to thinking more about it after I was reading about Jay's misadventures at his public library, (Jay always makes me smile, maybe it's the scantily clad women he often has hosted on his page) and thinking how it sounded like every trip I take to any store these days. My sweetums and I have the"what's happened to customer service?" conversation every single time we go to a grocery store, restaurant, retail store, whatevs. When I was a young pup comming of age, cutting my teeth in the world of customer service, I worked at a big box retail outlet. They are all but extinct today, but I hold them dear in my heart. Why? Because in that hell hole of a store, working strenuous hours, being yelled at by blue hairs because grandchildren NEEDED Tickle Me Elmo for Christmas and NOTHING else would do, I learned a few things about patience, understanding, EMPATHY (see, there's that word again) and CUSTOMER SERVICE. When I first started out, I was a lowly cashier, minimum wage. We were required let me reiterate that, REQUIRED to speak with our customers. Furthermore, we were forbidden from carrying on "sidebar" conversations with each other. Meaning if Cashier 1 and Cashier 2 were speaking to each other and not to their customers, they'd be fired. It was grounds for immediate termination. We were REQUIRED to at the very least, ask how the customer's day was going, AND if they found everything they were looking for. I'm lucky if my cashier at the local grocery store even tells me the total of my purchase, rather, she just turns the register's display to face me so that I can read it myself, never missing a beat in her conversation with her friend, the bag boy, about what party they are planning to attend this weekend, or who got fired last week, or how so-ing-so is so RUDE.
How's this for rude, you little twit, try spitting your gum out while you're on the clock and try speaking to your customers as though you give about half a shit about your crappy little job. If it sucks so bad, you know what, you can do like the rest of us did, and go find yourself a decent one that does make you happy. I didn't make you go to work here, I'm not keeping you at work here, and if I say "hi" the least you could do is say "hi" back. It's called MANNERS, you may want to look into getting some before you venture out into the real world again.
I know, I know, put yourself in her shoes. I've been in them. I spent years in those shoes, and you know what? I smiled, I said "Hi! How are you today?" Even when I wanted to say "Oh, go to hell!"
I spoke to rude, snobby, irrational, insulting people as though they were my grandma; with graciousness, with EMPATHY, with courtesy and professionalism.
There is a lack of this today. I don't see it anywhere. Then again, I see children being raised without guidance, without discipline, without the manners that were instilled in me and my generation.
I was taught to say "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" and "Thank you" Please". I was taught that if you broke it, you fixed it. If you dropped it, you picked it up, and if you dirtied it, you cleaned it. And if it's on the ground, pick it up and put it away, even if you didn't drop it. That crosses over into everything that I do. I guess that is why I want to pick up this mess.
C'est la vie! Wish me luck with downtown tomorrow.
And if you work in any customer service field, try to provide some service, we really are looking for just a LITTLE bit of kindness out here!
Soap box gone, carry on now, carry on.

6 cookies cracked:

Jay said...

At least you found out about the marathon BEFORE you guys got in the car and tried to drive downtown. Wouldn't that have been a fun time to get stuck in that!

I have litter producing neighbors too. They drop stuff when they take the trash out and they don't go back and pick it up. Or they just toss an empty beer can off the balcony onto the ground below. One day I picked up three of them on my way out and tossed each of them back up onto the balcony. They didn't throw them back.

Real Live Lesbian said...

Oh Gawd...don't do it. Have you ever been in the middle of that mess of a race? Why can't they do it out in bumblefuck where it doesn't interfere with the rest of us who actually use our CARS to go 27 miles?

As you can gather...I have experience.

Good luck to you and enjoy the Frist. I really want to see that exhibit!

Fortune Cookies said...

Jay- HA! That's awesome! It reminds me of the wall that sprays graffiti artists with spray paint when they tag it. PAYBACK. If it were just one neighbor who littered, I'd be in good shape, unfortunately, it seems to be a whole neighborhood.

rll- I agree, the race should be out in wife actually RAN (er, um, walked) the race a few years ago. She said it was the worst experience of her life, people peeing -and you don't want to know what else-on the sides of the street and in people's yards! OMG! Thinking the Frist will have to wait for us until another,less congested, less social anxiety inducing day ;)

Karen said...

I once got stuck in the NYC Marathon. I had to go like 18 blocks out of my way to get to my destination. Never, never again.

I love your soap box-ers. You are a passionate person and I like that about you.

Fortune Cookies said...

Karen- ha! thanks for the positive reinforcement! that's just what I need, more encouragement to soap-box ;)

moo said...

I TOTALLY have a friend like that but ... I like it. Because I can make a TON of plans with him and then not feel guilty when one of us doesn't follow through. We always joke about it and it keeps the pressure off. When we do get together, it's always memorable and fun. But it's OK too, to know that nothing is set in stone when one of us says, "We MUST get together this weekend!"