5 Minutes Before You Walked In

I can't always do a quote, so instead I offer a new semi-regular feature:


Look at the director. Did you just throw up in your mouth? I know I did.


September 08 is a hilarious (at least I hope she's being funny) spin on International 'Why Wait' Day. Give Wordnerd your compliments.

September 09 is International Celebrate Colonel Sanders's Birthday Day. I think you know what that means: Koz has declared you must visit a KFC. Who are we to argue?

And Kapgar rounds out the weekend with a thoughtful look at September 10: International Remembrance Day.

I expect some comments, people. Even you, Quincy. Don't let me down.


And now it's everyone's favorite time of the week. (By the way, previous Ask H.A.T. columns can be found over at the Hyperion Chronicles, and of course my partner in all this is Tracy Kaply. After you've read the column here, head on over to her site and leave a comment, you know: something along the lines of how it's okay over there, but just not quite as good:0))

Ask H.A.T.
“But which one of us is prettier?”

Real Questions. Real Readers. Real Answers. Fake Us.

Dear Hyperion and Tracy,
You're smart. We get it. OK. Fine. Because you're smart, I suspect that you both have established some kind of cut-off IQ point level for people with whom you choose to associate. What is it, and why?
A paltry 160, and jealous as hell.

Dear Paltry,
Tracy Lynn: Well, since I'm not at all sure how my IQ got out and I'm not willing to confirm or deny my smartness, other than to say I am a member of Mensa, I am going to say that I’m an Equal Opportunity Clever Trousers and only shun blatant morons.
I mock everyone else.
Hyperion: I don't mind telling you that combined Tracy Lynn and I have 412.
That's IQ points, in case you were confused, not dead Thai hookers in our back yard.
Tracy Lynn: (laughing) Now everbody is going to go nuts trying to break it down. Well done!
Hyperion: Thank you, thank you. But to answer the question: While Tracy Lynn and I do tend to congregate (that means get together, for those of you from the South) with smarter-than-average people, we don't have a hard and fast rule. I mean, if we did, we'd lose all our readers!
Seriously, though: intelligent is good, but it's no guarantee of decency. Frankly, I'd rather spend my time with a 150, maybe even a 145 who's a nice person than a 175 a-hole. (But no lower than 145.)
Tracy Lynn: It's no guarantee of funny either. You’d be surprised how many smart people have no sense of humor. I mean how often can you laugh at historical irony, no matter how piquant?
Hyperion: Piquant? Is that like pecans? Mmmmmm. Piquant Pie
Tracy Lynn: No, we are NOT making that joke. It's base.
Hyperion: Killjoy.
Well, give an example then.
Tracy Lynn: Like Darwin went to college to be a clergyman, and considered himself a Christian. So NYER to the evolutionists.
Hyperion: Was this before or after he went to the Galapagos Islands and developed his theory of The Flying Spaghetti Monster?
Tracy Lynn: Both.

Dear Hyperion and Tracy,
Should I have told the woman who watched me wait at the customer counter for five minutes that I think she needs to retake customer service 101 when she put back on her uniform vest and mosey up to counter 10 minutes later or should I commend her for not being a slave to the customer?
Very Annoyed,

Dear Annoyed,
Tracy Lynn: Well, I can't tell you what to do.
However, I would have started by saying Excuse Me in ever-increasing decibel levels until someone got off her lazy ass, put on her tunic, and did her damn job. Then I'd ask for the manager, and once acquainted with said manager, would have done my ten minute monologue on what constitutes good customer service, how I hadn't received it from his staff, how I would be taking my business and that of everyone I know to the shop down the street, unless said manager gets a grip on his lazy ass staff.
But that's just me.
Hyperion: Allow me to speak for the proletariat for a moment and say: you're both debutantes.
When you work retail, you often put in long hours, dealing with the scum of humanity: customers. I have never met a wage-monkey who didn't hate the customers. They suck. Not all of them, but so many of them that you label them all.
The only people worse than customers: your manager. He sucks even more, and screws you on your breaks, lunch hours, and days off. He takes advantage of you and plays favorites.
And it is with him you should be upset. The key part of the question was the uniform vest. What that means is that likely the employee was on her break. Probably a break that was way overdue BY LAW, but she didn't get. A break she often doesn’t get.
Yes, in a perfect world, you go help the customer if there is no one else, and finish your break later, but that's not where we live. Odds are if the employee does that, she loses her break completely. With the low wages, poor benefits and terrible management of most retail places I just can't get too mad at an employee who hasn't bought into the place as a whole. That's all on management.
That said, I'd be frustrated too, but I would be able to look at the situation from their point of view and not be so petty and judgmental.
But that's just me.
Frankly, Tracy, I'm surprised at you. I'd have thought you'd support the Working Girl!
Tracy Lynn: there is a difference between support of the working girl and asking someone to do a job they get paid for
Hyperion: yeah, except if they are on a break, they are legally entitled to that break.
Tracy Lynn: If you're on a break, you aren't supposed to be on the floor. my guess is she was coming back and was dreading it
Hyperion: sometimes there is no break room, or it's being used, or fumigated, or whatever. Bottom line: the anger is justified, but probably not at the wage monkey. Always give the benefit of the doubt
Tracy Lynn: that's why I give the monologue of doom to the manager. He gets paid to deal with me not enough, grant you
Hyperion: even that is uncalled for. You don't know what kind of day he’s had. maybe the store had three people quit. Maybe his mother just died, maybe he's worried about Big Papi's heart.
Tracy Lynn: The point is, if you have a job, do it to the best of your ability. I think most people don't do that. If you are in a service industry, you are expected to provide service. That's the damn point of calling it the service industry. I pay for it, and I deserve to get good service.
When I work, if I'm in a position that deals with the Public, I understand that they are generally a pain in my ass. That doesn't let me off the hook from doing my job.
Hyperion: just because it's called the service industry doesn't mean it's about service. If you want great service, go to a store that prides itself on that. Yes, everyone should provide quality service, but live in the Now! Everyone should use proper English and make arguments based on logic rather than fear and emotion, but it ain't going to happen. I find it odd I'm defending these people, because I've been frustrated too, but I just can't tell you how much a "customer service representative" hates the customers. If there is a fault, it is people like you who bitch all the time and poison the minds of these poor people earning so little. You go there not for the service but for the lower prices. No one is paid enough, and they're not invested.
Tracy Lynn: BULLSHIT.
I am the customer. I go in being nice and expecting people to be nice to me. I only get bitchy when people are not doing the job they GET PAID FOR.
And, by the way, when I get good service, I call the manager and tell them how great the service was.
Hyperion: you remind me of the guy who comes into the restaurant and says, "Every time I come here the food sucks!" Hey, if we suck, QUIT COMING! If this store normally gives good service, then give them the benefit of the doubt: one helluva bad day. If it's a chronic thing, why are you going there?
Tracy Lynn: I am not responsible for the feelings of someone else, in the way you seem to think I am. It's preposterous. Besides, that wasn't the question, freakazoid. It was not a matter of it being every time or only one time, it was a matter of one egregious instance. My reaction was based in part on the egregiousness of said incident. You're the one that wanted to spin it into some sort of Rights of the Worker thing.
Way too touchy feely
Hyperion: Egregious is when the employees are watching hermaphroditic porn and show your five year old. A bad day is a bad day. Either it's a great place and they are having one horrible day, in which case cut them slack this once, or it's a terrible place, and you have no business going there, in which case go somewhere else.
Tracy Lynn: That's ridiculous, to set such a high standard. As ridiculous as having to wait at a counter for ten minutes while some chippy chats with her pals. I would have left, after laying waste to everyone in my path at the disrespect, but you seem to want to cuddle the poor girl and give her tea, perhaps a sympathetic shoulder. BLEECCHHH.
Hyperion: have you ever pulled into a parking lot, and the car next to you is taking half of your spot?
Tracy Lynn: yes.
Hyperion: The tendency is to get mad, but there may have been a car on the other side of them that forced them over one half spot, and now that car is gone, and they just look like a jerk. In other words, you don't know what happened five minutes before you walked in.
Yes, I agree that customer service is a dying art. Management doesn't teach it, parents don't instill values, and people don't take pride. That said, you do not know what happened at THAT store five minutes, ten minutes, or one hour earlier. You can get all high and mighty and yell at management, cause a scene, leave a path of destruction, but all that says is that you can't handle adversity, you can't empathize or put yourself in a position to cut someone some slack. Wouldn't the whole world be a better place if we paused before unloading our rage and considered that we do not know what happened five minutes ago?
Tracy Lynn: You know what? I'm tired of always cutting people some damn slack. I feel like all I ever do is cut people slack. People are rude while working, driving, shopping and frankly, I'm done being the one who cuts the slack. I think we do too much slack cutting and not enough just sucking it up and doing our damn jobs.
People rise to the level of our expectations.
They need to be higher.
Hyperion: You know Tracy, I could fight with you all day on this, but I don't know what happened to you five minutes ago, so I am going to cut you some slack and just say that you are loved.
Tracy Lynn: If you try to hug me, I will make you wear your ass for a hat!!!
And that does it for this week. Be sure to keep sending in your questions to askthehat@gmail.com. If we use your question you win a totally awesome prize!

[Join us here Saturday and Sunday for Weekend Institute. Not sure how long I'll continue the experiment, but at least one more week. There'll be laughs. There'll be chills. And someone might even get naked.]


Anonymous said...

By 'those of you from the south' I hope you are referring to southern Canada?

Dragon said...

As usual, great job!

Lady Jane Scarlett said...

Very awesome. A big hearty "Ramen" to Tracy and Hypey! But, I must say...that I am a bit put-off by Hypey's promise of a "big weekend" He said that about last weekend and it was boooring! :P

'Jax said...

Michael Bay directing Transformers... Here's hoping its at least as good as Bad Boys II.

Hyperion said...

Koz - It's you, bub

Dragon - Damn Straight.

Lady Jane Scarlett - Last week ruled! Two great film reviews? You don't deserve me.

'Jax - And I just threw up again.