Today was rough. I work in a shop and that means that I have to deal with the public ALL DAY LONG. Nine times out of ten they are lovely people that have been brought up well and don’t want to inflict pain and misery onto their fellow humans.
But then there is always that one that seems to be a little bit unhinged and you wonder how they manage to get through the day without killing someone. And today, I came across one of them.
Now, normally I would just brush it off for what it is: a twat who needs to learn to show some basic manners (sorry, I’m not sounding very patient or kind, but it really upsets me when people are horrible for no reason)! But today, I was tired and already feeling sensitive and it just got to me.
I don’t know if anyone wants to hear my woes but my mother has cut my dad, my son and I out of her life and is being really nasty to us and it’s having a really deep impact on my emotional state. I know that it’s my inner child feeling really vulnerable and I could quote a whole load of Freudian psychobabble, but I’ll save it for another day. However, it is what it is and it has cut me deep to feel that my own mother has rejected me.
Anyway, I spent my entire shift feeling like I could hardly breathe because I was feeling so much emotional pain, and then in the last hour this guy comes in. He started shouting at me about the fact that there was no pictures of the meal deal so he didn’t know what “fucking sandwich” he could have. He then threw said sandwich back into the fridge and stalked off.
It then so happened that I had to serve the guy and I got so overwhelmed by his aggression that I had to walk to the back and cry. I completely crumpled and my colleague found me in a ball on the floor, sobbing.
Of course, that led to me spontaneously crying throughout the final hour of my shift and I looked like crap for the whole time. It was horrific and embarrassing and it made me think a little bit about what it was that was going through this guy’s mind and how I could deal with this in the future.
So here are a few things that I think that you can try to hold on to next time you find yourself in a similar situation.
- This is the ‘twat’s’ problem, not yours. There is something in his life that has caused him sufficient pain to think that his behaviour is necessary. People who are happy and in no pain do not go around being a dick to the people who are trying to do their job.
- You are a nice person, so don’t let this person’s words chip away at that. Hold onto that thought tightly. My problem today was the fact that I let go of that thought and allowed his words to dig themselves deep inside of me. Sometimes people tell you to just ‘grow a thicker skin’ which can sound a bit insensitive, but it’s really important that you do build a defence so that you can protect yourself for your own sanity.
- Be assertive. It can sometimes just take a few stern words to put this jerk back in his place. Don’t put yourself in any danger if the person looks like they may be getting violent, but do tell them that their behaviour is unacceptable if you feel it is safe to do so. Half the time, these idiots don’t even know that they’re causing upset; telling them that they are making you feel uncomfortable and you will be calling a manager or even the police if they continue will normally get them to pipe down.
- Walk away if it’s getting too much. You don’t have to subject yourself to that if you don’t want to. Again, it’ll send them a strong message that their behaviour is not acceptable.
- If you need a little cry or you need to vent afterwards, that’s absolutely fine. I used to bottle it all up and then it would explode further down the line, normally getting me into trouble. It’s far better to have a cry for ten minutes and get it all out right there and then. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and most people will be really understanding. My colleagues today all rallied around to give me a hug and make me a drink while I took a little time out.
I feel your pain if you are faced with one of these idiots. I call them idiots because I’m angry and upset tonight, but deep down I know that that doesn’t make me any better than them. They are hurting people who just need some love. I hope and pray that the man who yelled at me is now out of pain and that somebody has listened to him and shown him some love.
If you have a friend who is acting out like this, make sure that you take the time today to listen to their problems. Show them some understanding and hopefully we can start to make the world a slightly nicer place to live in for everyone.