Note From Ray: I could have sworn I posted this a long time ago. I think what happened was, I started it by talking about this goofy Matrix website I had come across where this lady was suing the Matrix brothers for stealing her idea. I was going to link to it, but then I couldn’t ever find the site again, and then, because the post started out talking by about this screwball Matrix crap, I never bothered reading through it.
I did tonight, out of boredom and because I couldn’t think of anything to write. Two birds with one stone, really, because I got to waste some time reading, plus I didn’t have to try to come up with anything new. Whoo-hoo!
This was from back in my angry customer service days, so if you’ve been missing the Evil Customer Service Ray shit from the days of old, you’re in for a real treat. If you have not missed it at all, go away. Either way, consider yourself warned.
I don’t have to go to work tomorrow, and that’s pretty exciting. My job makes me sad because it makes me doubt the intelligence of the entire human race. I’m sure there are so smart people out there, right? I mean, there’s us—we’re all pretty great. But I think we might be it.
People come in, and you wouldn’t believe the shit they’ll do—screaming, name-calling, bursting into tears—all to save a little money. Don’t get me wrong, man, I understand the importance of money. I’m always on the lookout for someone to sue so that I don’t have to be poor anymore.
But it gets out of hand. There was a guy in the other night, he was dealing with a co-worker of mine, and you know what he said when she wouldn’t give him cash instead of his mail-in rebate? He told her he hoped her car had a blowout on the way home and she got into a terrible traffic accident!
What the hell kind of a thing is that to tell someone? It’s like modern-day voodoo: May you die a horrible death if you don’t give me a discount on my wireless router. May your artificial insemination fail if my computer crashes. You will price-match or you will be electrocuted by your surge-protector. Print up my image on the laser-jet and stick paper clips through it, you evil fucker.
And the thing is, these people will do all kinds of crazy stuff for something like two or three bucks. “Match this rebate,” they tell me. I don’t even have to look at it, because we don’t match rebates. There’s a giant lime-green hanging on the wall behind me that says it in big white letters. So if you walk up to me all full of attitude, tell me to price-match this rebate like you’re some kind of techno-deity, I’m not even going to look at the ad you’re waving in my face. I’m just going to tell you that we don’t match rebates. If you’re lucky, I’ll point to the gigantic green sign behind me so that you can read it for yourself.
At this point, you’ll begin demanding a manager. Not in a nice tone, either. So I’ll go into the back, I’ll call my manager, I’ll say, “Customer needs to talk to you.”
“What about?” That’s what my manager will ask, because if it’s a difficult problem, it will be hours before they come to deal with the customer. Hide out long enough, and maybe the problem will go away.
“Wants to price-match a rebate from another store.”
“Tell them we don’t match rebates.”
“Told ‘em. That’s why they want to talk to you.”
“Tell them that I’m just going to tell them the same thing.”
“Told ‘em. Still wants to talk to you.”
“Tell them that it’s going to be awhile—I’m working on something right now, but I’ll get up there as soon as possible.”
“Sure thing.” And then I’ll come back up front, where you’re probably harassing one of my co-workers, and I’ll say something like, “Yeah, my manager is with another customer right now, so it’s going to be a while. He said for me to tell you that we don’t price match rebates.”
“Just let me talk to him,” you’ll say.
And I’ll say, “Sure thing. Could I get you to wait right here?” And I’ll lead you down to the end of the counter, where you’re out of everyone’s way for the next hour. After about ten minutes, you won’t be able to stand it anymore, and you’ll say something like, “It’s been thirty minutes. Where’s the manager?”
And I’ll say, in my nicest, most non-“eat shit you whiny bastard” voice, “As I explained earlier, sir, my manager is working on another customer issue. I apologize for the wait, but unfortunately there’s nothing I can do about it.”
You’ll go back to your end of the counter, and you’ll mutter some things about how you’ll never shop at this store again, about how we’ve just lost a very valuable customer, about how this is ridiculous. And you’ll call me some bad names, too, sort of under your breath, but loud enough so that I can hear them plainly. Because you understand that it is against store policy for me to jump over the counter and beat the ever-loving shit out of you.
But what none of these jerk-ass customers understands is that everyone has a last day at a job. Yep, even me. And I don’t think I’ll know when mine is until about three seconds before it arrives. My last day at work will probably involve some sort of nicotine-jones and a customer muttering about how I’m a fat fuck. And they’ll suddenly understand that three feet of linoleum-covered customer-service counter really isn’t that big when you have two hundred pounds of pent-up rage flying across it. That’s not a threat, though, so don’t get the wrong idea. I’m just saying, you never know, so you should be careful in all of your affairs.
Anyways, so you’ll wait, wait, wait, and then the manager will come out. You’ll yell and scream and rant about how you’re taking your business elsewhere, and he’ll hand the receipt to me and say, “Just go ahead and do it, this time.”
Congratulations: you just earned three dollars an hour. Congratulations: you’ve just succeeded in making less than I do per hour. Congratulations: you’ve got your three bucks, and you’ll never have to worry about how you’re going to spend that hour of your life again.
What sucks is, it’s against store policy for me to point this out. It’s against store policy for me to say something like, “Hell, man, I’ll pay you six bucks an hour to bang your head on that wall over there.” Because I would.
And you know what? Nobody would do it. I could say, “Hey, man, I’ll pay you six bucks an hour to sit over there and just stare at that wall for an hour.” And nobody would. Because banging your head on a wall for an hour, that’s just stupid. And to just stand there and stare at a wall for an hour? Ridiculous. It’s much better to yell and throw tantrums for three bucks an hour.
Trey says that it ain’t no thing to sit around and bitch about your job. He says that anyone can do it, everybody hates their job, that doesn’t mean you’re cynical. Trey says I’ve lost my edge because I’m in love.
And sure, it seems like I just sit around and bitch about my job. But it’s more than that. Every day that I go to work, I lose a little more faith in humanity. I envision Noah’s flood set in modern times, and I think, Yeah, good plan. Only God promised that He wouldn’t do that again.
Maybe that’s why He invented traffic.
Oh, man, I don’ think I should even get started on traffic. The people in Austin are such bad drivers. And this isn’t just me being a bad driver and blaming it on other people. You’ll be driving along, safe in the right lane, just trying not to die, and some asshole will try to pass you on the shoulder, hit the dirt, fishtail, and then smash into your fender. That actually happened to me the other day, except for the hitting the fender part. In real life, I hit the brakes and the lady swerved back onto the road about three inches in front of my bumper. She had a kid strapped into a baby-seat in the back—I saw her as we were side by side at the next red light. And I just sat there, looking at the kid in the back, wondering how you’re going to risk your child’s life to save—maybe—three minutes of drive time.
My princess actually did get hit yesterday. She was sitting at a red light, some old lady crashed into the back of her. No one was injured, so don’t worry. If I had been in the car, there would probably be some old lady in ditch somewhere, all beat to shit. My princess tells me that it’s not okay to threaten old women. I tried to explain to her that it’s not okay to crash into my car with the love of my life inside, but that apparently held no water. I even tried to compromise—just yell at the old lady until her heart gave out—but that didn’t work out either. And then I tried reasoning as a rational human being: “If I don’t get out and yell at her, she’s never going to learn her lesson. She’ll just keep doing it over and over. If I scare her bad enough, she’ll never get behind the wheel of a car again.”
My princess, she apparently thinks this is some sort of an argument: “Baby, she’s an OLD LADY.”
Well, yeah. I mean, you can’t figure a heart attack into the equation if you’re talking about a middle-aged man that’s just crashed into you, even though, I am pretty scary.
Not scary enough to give a middle-aged man a heart-attack, though. “Gee, Ray, how do you know?”
Funny you should ask…
I get off for lunch the other day, I’m pretty happy about it, because I actually have my lunch hour the same time as my princess, which hardly ever happens. I go pick her up, and we mutually decide to go to Taco Bell for lunch. Actually, she doesn’t care where we go, and I’ve been craving a bit of Taco Bell. Practically mutual. So we drive over to the neighborhood Taco Bell, we’re chit-chatting about how’s your day, that kind of thing.
We get to the “drive-thru,” and there’s this car about two car lengths away. He kind of looks like he’s waiting in line, but he’s so far away, it’s hard to tell. “What’s he doing?” I ask.
“I don’t know,” my princess tells me.
I spend the next couple of minutes making a series of complicated hand-gestures to the guy in the car. Wave from left to right: Go ahead, man, you were here in front of us. He waves us forward: No, no, be my guest. I point at myself, then at the drive-thru line: I’m pulling up here to get some food, man. He gives me an impatient wave: Go.
So I pull up behind the pickup in the Taco Bell line. The guy in the car, he immediately starts honking his horn. The thing is, there’s this dark blue Suburban that has pulled up right behind me.
“Didn’t he signal us to go?” I ask my princess.
“Should I back up? I can’t back up—that Suburban is behind us.”
About thirty seconds pass, there’s nothing I can do. I throw my hands up, signaling to the guy in the car that there’s no possible way for me to back up. The Suburban finally backs up, and I throw it into reverse. As I’m backing up, I see that the guy in the car has actually gotten out of his car, and is walking towards us. He jumps back into his car, peels out a little, and almost rams the poor bastard that’s in front of all this mess, just waiting to get some tacos. I call the guy in the car a fuckin’ moron.
I’m not proud of it, but it’s who I am. He’s up there in line, we’re behind him, the Suburban’s behind us, it all worked out, right?
The guy in the car, after about a minute, I guess it gets to him. He throws open his door, and starts walking back to us. My princess, she can turn into a Knight pretty quick—you don’t want to screw with her—and she’s over there unlatching her seatbelt. Although she doesn’t generally use curse words—I use enough for both of us—she had some pretty choice things to say about this goofy bastard walking towards us. In effect, what she said was, “If this gentleman wants to fight, we’ll fight.” Of course, when she said it, it sounded a lot cooler.
I don’t even un-do my seatbelt. This guy, he was wearing khakis, the button-up shirt, he weighed probably about a buck-twenty. I figured I could take a few of his punches, if it came to that. But I’m trying to get some food, I’m on my lunch hour. I don’t really want it to come to that. If I wanted to beat the hell out of skinny little dorks and go to jail for it, I wouldn’t have to wait until I’m hungry. I could do that all day long at work.
So he’s storming towards us, all pissed and ready for something. I have my window down, I don’t know what’s about to happen: either he’ll start punching through the window or start screaming into it—in which case I’ll pull him in and beat him.
He starts yelling. “I was just trying to be courteous!” That’s what he yells, no kidding.
“You’re doing a super fucking job.” I haven’t been out of New York long enough, I guess.
He takes a couple more steps towards the car. “Get back in your car, asshole,” I tell the guy. “You don’t want to spend your lunch hour getting beat down.” I don’t know if it was me looking calm and ready to beat his ass, or if it was my princess looking like she might jump out and stomp him before I ever got the chance, but one of us scared him. He stopped walking towards us.
“Thanks for backing up,” he says. “Jerk.”
“No sweat,” I tell him. My blood’s pumping like you wouldn’t believe. To me, fighting always seems a lot like a fantastic orgasm: your body gets all wired, adrenaline’s pumping through you like crazy, and in the end, it never turns out quite as crazy as you thought it was going to be. And then when you don’t end up fighting, you end up walking around with a case of mental blue-balls, all jacked up and energized with no place to expend.
I don’t care who you are, just before you get into a fight, there’s nothing scarier. It doesn’t matter if you know that you’ll win—just before you clash, your body’s going ape-shit wild. Fear or excitement, and it’s really all the same.
My princess, she starts laughing before the guy even gets back in his car. “Texans,” she says, and I have no idea what she means.
“That guy was going to fight. Over a place in line, he was going to fight.” I’m amazed. She’s still over there laughing.
“Even when you almost get your ‘a’ beat, you’re nice.” She doesn’t say words like “ass”, only the first letter.
“He had to thank you for backing up: ‘Thanks for backing up, you jerk!’”
I start laughing, too. “He signaled us to go, right?”
“Yeah, he did. Never trust a guy with that kind of confused look on his face.”
We’re both laughing now. By the time we order our food, I’m already chilled out, feeling good about the world because I have my princess, and that’s what she does for me. I see the guy up there, he’s probably still all pissed off, he’s probably mad that he doesn’t even have a good story to tell back at work: “Yeah, I got out of my car, ready to fight over a place in line at Taco Bell, but the guy told me get back in my car, so I did.” And when his co-workers all start laughing at him, he goes, “No, but he had a black girl in the car with him! She looked pretty tough!” And she is, but his co-workers would still laugh at him. And with good reason.
Hey, Ernie (or whatever your name is—you looked like an Ernie), a little advice: if you get out of your car, be ready to not get back in unless you win or until the cops arrive. That way you can at least feel good about yourself. Nobody wants to be the little wimp that bitches out. But good move on your part, little punk—I would have knocked loose plenty of asphalt with your skinny ass.
I’m glad I didn’t have to beat that guy just so I could get some tacos.
And a quick note before I end: I know it seems like I talk all tough. In real life, well…I really am pretty tough—I grew up in the Panhandle of Texas, baby. But I don’t have delusions like I can whip anybody and everybody. If I’m pitted against someone that’s bigger than me, I realize that I’ll get beat. I try not to be in those kinds of situations, though, because ass-kickin’s suck. And I’ll try to smooth things over, but I won’t back down. Most people, when they get mad enough to fight, they don’t really want to fight. They bow up, you apologize, they chill.
People down here, they aren’t used to having some lunatic (temporary) New Yorker, though. They look for an apology, and when you give them a fuck-you instead, they just get confused and go back to whatever they were doing. Three fights, man. That’s how many I’ve avoided. And it’s a regional thing. Because if I was in New York, three fights is how many I would have been in. And I would have gotten beat in one of them, unless my princess was around to bash the guy from behind.
Okay, this rant has gone on entirely too long. ‘Night, Li’l Homies.