I encountered a very rude woman the other day while at my local big-chain. She was in line before me. Her cart, a mess, the stuff she piled on the belt, even messier. The cashier, one I have encountered before (and never has been a cause for a problem or even a slightly irritated eye roll), was counting out change with the customer he was assisting, a customer that was in front of the rude woman. As I walked up, the rude woman – let us call her Rudy from this point forward – apologized for the line taking so long.
“I’m sorry, but he has not moved the conveyer yet.” Rudy said in an irritated tone.
“It is alright. Not a big deal.” I replied.
Rudy tried pushing her stuff up more, to allow me a place to put my items. Thoughtful, yes, but I was willing to wait. I was not is a hurry. I try not to be in a hurry when running errands.
The customer before Rudy was done and moved on. The cashier – let us call him Matt – greeted Rudy. The first thing that comes out of Rudy’s mouth “What? Do you have a problem with numbers?” I should mention here that Matt was counting out the change the prior customer gave him because the prior customer was unsure she was providing the right amount. There was a language barrier. Sometimes there is a language barrier.
Back to Rudy. As Matt is running her items through the scanner, Rudy is telling him to “move it, speed it up, already.” Matt is doing his best, which was exactly how any other cashier would be doing it, when technology is not working efficiently. Might I also mention, she had a lot of crap. A. Lot. Of. Crap.
As Matt would move a filled bag to the end area, Rudy would swiftly pick it up and place it in her cart. Through this whole process, Matt is doing his job, focusing on what he is doing, keeping calm. Rudy is consistently berating him to “speed it up.”Matt has to ask for Rudy’s date of birth – she bought allergy medicine. Rudy looked at him, appalled. I keep my distance, I rearrange my items, so the person behind me can place her items down.
Matt is done scanning her items. He subtotals and totals her purchases. She signs her stuff, continues to tell him to hurry it up, grabs her receipt, and pushes her cart to the nearest person of authority she can complain to.
As Matt is ringing me up, I am polite, I am smiling. I am trying to let him know, with the tone of my voice, that I am pleasant. Matt continues to look down, do his job. I glance over at Rudy. She is complaining to the manager. There are a lot of angry hand gestures and head bobbing from Rudy. The manager listens, glances over at Matt, then back at Rudy. Rudy leaves, the manager heads in our direction. Matt is finishing up with me. The Manager moves over to another register, opens it to help another customer. Once Manny and I were done. I said thank you, and to have a good day.
Immediately, I walked over to the manager, tapped her on the shoulder and tell her “I just wanted to let you know that Matt is fine. The woman was rude. She was very rude.”
The manager thanked me for informing her, and I went on my way, to continue my errands.
How can people be so rude? Is Rudy being rude because she is in a rush? If she is feeling a time pressure, she should not take that out on others. I know about time pressure. My anxiety is time-related. My anxiety levels rise when I have to be someplace at a particular time, or if I have a lot to do. My anxiety tells me I have to be there at that specific time. To keep the anxiety at bay, I do what I can to not run late. When I do, I freak out, the anxiety kicks in and I am crying, screaming – it is a mess.
So, I try to avoid time-related stressors. Some days, I am really good at it, and I can give a fuck-all if I am late or not. Other days, if there are other stressors in effect, I cannot do it.
However, I can control the anxiety when I run errands. I let them go at their pace. I pick the longest line, I allow myself to enjoy being outdoors, out in public, out doing something. It is the one time action I can control. I am working on being better at more actions.
When I am anxious about being later, or feeling rushed. I never take it out on someone else. Especially someone who is helping me. If I ever see her again, well, I do not think I will. In fact, I hope I never do. What I do hope is that Matt is alright. I hope Matt is doing fine.