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Words Hurt

handwritingTo say that people on the internet are annoying me this year is an understatement. I took a Facebook break on my personal page because the judgmental and negative attitudes were too much and took a toll on me. Staying away from that feed has made me a happier person. I was content to stick with being active on Twitter while I work on my manuscript. After the Oscars on Sunday, even the judgmental and negativity reigned from Joe Schmoe to celebrities. I’m guessing everyone missed the Jimmy Kimmel bit before the changeover from the red carpet show to the awards show. Glass houses, people.

When I worked for the YMCA back home, one of the things I had to include in lesson plans was teaching my kids what we called the 7 Be’s: Be Honest, Be Healthy, Be Helpful, Be Caring, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Your Best. What I saw online fit none of those Be’s. Rudeness and outrage was directed at Kim Novak and John Travolta without hesitation in massive amounts. There was also snark for some of the performances.  I just felt like I was watching crabs in a bucket trying to pull everyone down rather than helping each other. You wouldn’t want the same comments directed towards you on social media, would you?

Yes, let’s cruelly mock the eighty-one year old woman who had to conform to Hollywood standards or be ousted from the business. We want women to be natural, but when they are natural, we are taken aback at their gall. There is a constant double standard for women in our society. Be beautiful at any age no matter the cost, but if you become obvious about it we’re throwing you under the bus with a spotlight on you. I think one person put it best on Twitter that we are “morally bankrupt” while another person called it “penalizing women for aging”. Do we see the same comments about the aging male actors who dye their hair black to cover the grey? Would everyone have made the same comments about Kim Novak knowing she’s been through treatment for breast cancer and was in a horse riding accident recently?

Travolta flubbed while introducing Idina Menzel. She wasn’t even done performing and a new Twitter account for Adele Dazeem was up and running. I woke up Monday morning to name generators from big websites on how John Travolta would say your name. I was sickened when one of our local new stations used it on air Tuesday. It’s amazing how many other people flubbed while reading the teleprompter, but everyone glommed onto his flub. Does it really matter that he didn’t get Idina’s name right? I spent over twenty years having my maiden name completely slaughtered by Mainlanders. Even at my high school graduation when the person announcing the names got to practice it during graduation rehearsals. The really scary part is whenever a star flubs or makes no sense during these live awards shows we chalk it up to them being drunk or high. I’ve been guilty of making the same assumption, but I try to keep it to myself or say it in private, not broadcast it to EVERYONE on the internet.

Guess what? Travolta has dyslexia. How do you feel about his flub now?

I really don’t know what is up with the comments about the performances. As a singer, I enjoyed them all and found them much more consistent than the performances on the Grammy’s. I love “Happy” and play it often when I deejay. U2 can do no wrong in my eyes. I never heard of Karen O or heard “The Moon Song” until Sunday. As a musician and deejay, I always keep an open mind when hearing new music. P!nk and Bette Midler brought tears to my eyes with their tributes. Then, Idina Menzel blew me away with her performance. I love listening to all kinds of music, but there is something about a voice trained to perform on stage that grabs hold of me and whisks me around the dance floor.

If it weren’t for the fact that Twitter keeps me connected to other authors and to followers in a better manner than Facebook, I would probably give up social media altogether. You can sit there and say that we should just shake it off because it’s just the internet. It’s an internet where people spend increasingly more time and where there is a very real person behind the words we read on the screen. It’s an internet that gives us the perfect opportunity to connect with the world and make friends, but there is so much fighting, finger pointing, and attacking that the potential is lost. It’s a shame.

I work daily to be caring, respectful, responsible, and my best. I don’t always say the right thing, but I strive to because I truly want a kinder world and Gandhi said to be the change we want to see in the world. I think about what I typed before I send it out. It’s not an editing to make myself look good to the world, but a self-check of is this kindness and/or edification? It’s easy to give to in to the initial reaction without checking it. It’s easy to sit back and make judgments on what we see on TV, read on websites, catch on social media, or witness in real life and comment on on social media. It’s just as easy to keep it to ourselves or to respond with something kind instead of negative.

As a writer, I have to choose my words carefully when writing, editing, and re-writing to make sure everything fits right. Wouldn’t it be great if we all chose our words carefully in a manner that would make others feel better about themselves rather than feeling like they are less than human. The truth is we don’t know the whole story when we make these snarky remarks and yet we make them and hurt others with our words. Remember the saying from childhood, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me? It’s wrong. It’s a front to appear strong, to deter our verbal assailant, to will it to be true. Words hurt in the worst way. A bruise fades and a broken bone mends, but the wrong words haunt for eternity.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Whatever Happened to Social Graces?

I have worked in retail now for a little over a year.  Unless you count the years I worked for my parents in their computer store back in high school.  That kind of retail is nothing compared to what I do now.

I knew going into this job that dealing with “normal” people would be much different from my clients and their families in the mental health field.  You would think interacting with The Normals would be easier.  Yes, you would think.  There are days where I think that being hit, kicked, spit at, cussed at and bit by an out of control teenager are preferable to the jackassery I’m experiencing with someone who wants something for nothing, someone tearing up a table I just zoned, or being cussed at because we don’t have something.  I knew with the teenagers that there would be an end to their acting out and for most of them, they would reach a point where they would be able to sit down and discuss their problem rationally.  The Normals seem to have no end to their form of acting out.  Some of them move from one of us to another for a long period of time to try to make their non-existent point.  I mean really.  If 10 people are telling you the exact same thing, I don’t care if we can’t say it to your face, but you are wrong.  

The really sad part is I encounter more nice people than rude ones, but the rude ones always seem to overshadow the good ones.

There are people who come up to me asking for help while still carrying on a conversation on their phone.  Or how about those people who walk through a store on their phones discussing extremely personal information.  Or even using speakerphone.  I don’t like hearing the drama over custody battles or who the baby daddy might be.  The jerks who outright lie about prices at the register in order to not pay what they should be paying.  The other jerks who cuss you out because they were told we had something that we don’t and try to make their problem your problem (just happened to me a week ago).  The jerks who go from co-worker to co-worker trying to prove that you were wrong when you weren’t and creating a scene because they can’t admit they were wrong and shouldn’t have waited until the last-minute to get that Kitchen Aid Mixed that was on sale all week.

There are kids who run rampant through the store pulling things off the shelf and racks and the parents just leave it.  Granted, if a child comes through with special needs, I completely understand, but there aren’t many that come through our store.  There are kids who scream all the way through the store for an entire hour.  Sometimes two.  Either because they didn’t get something they wanted or just because they should be sleeping.  Even the ones that are trying to get their parent’s attention but the parent is ignoring them.  “Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!” is as annoying to everyone else as it is to you. Remember when we were kids and we weren’t allowed to touch ANYTHING in a store?  Or if we started to act up our parents left everything behind and marched us right out of the store?  What happened to that?  Oh right, some parents don’t believe in discipline.

These moments of dealing with The Normals who have no social grace make me hate people.  And anyone who knows me knows I’m a positive type of person.  But, in those moments, I just want to punch them in the face.  Fortunately, I’m able to control my anger and maintain my professionalism.  It’s really telling of someone’s values in my interactions with them.  There are people who understand when they say they picked something up off the clearance rack but it really isn’t clearance.  People change their mind all the time and dump their stuff on the nearest rack.  We can’t stand around the racks or even the shelves all day monitoring for these.  And really, when I tell someone who another person must have changed their minds and put it in the first place available they either put it back without a problem or they say okay and buy it anyway.  Then there are those who insist because there is that one thing there not marked down and the rest of the regular price stuff is clearly  still regular price that they should get it cheaper and ask for the manager, who tells them the exact same thing I just told them.

I really shouldn’t have to say, “I’m sorry” repeatedly when someone decides to unleash a torrent of profanity directly at me.  We don’t have what you want?  “I’m sorry, but this is all we have.”  “But I was told you have it.”  “I’m sorry, but this is it.”  I lost 15 minutes of productivity one day because of this couple looking for thick Winter coat (not wool) in a 4x.  The man swore he called the night before and was told we had one.  I happened to work the night before and know I didn’t talk to him, nor did my co-worker in my area.  His wife tried to play the pity card because she takes 2 buses to work and only has a sweatshirt to wear.  Not only that, they were very specific that it had to be thick and not wool.  Well all the thick stuff wasn’t good enough.  This is the Mid-West people.  Most of the Winter coats are made of wool.  They had me so mad I couldn’t even get my brain to suggest other places for them to look.  Every time I showed them another plus size coat it was, “NO!”  I’m really surprised I didn’t just haul off and punch him.  Yelling at people trying to help you gets you nothing.

Black Friday, I was at the registers waiting in line to check out after I had clocked out for the day.  A woman was at the register next to me berating the cashier, who happened to be new.  She would not stop.  She kept on going and going and going and going.  It was stupid.  Really.  We make mistakes at the register.  It happens.  And when you are new and still learning, it’s intimidating.  Having someone dress you down while you’re waiting for help to arrive does not help.  All of us around kept looking at the woman.  Our stares did nothing to abate her verbal abuse.  The woman in front of me checked out and by the time I was done checking out, the angry woman was still being abusive.  It’s unproductive.  You may think you feel better after that, but it doesn’t help.  You have to realize that most people you come across in retail during the holidays are new to the store and some are new to retail period.

I was listening to the radio while getting ready for work yesterday and the deejays had people call in with their crazy Black Friday stories to compete for a prize.  Not too surprising, all the calls were about WalMart.  One woman told her story about how she spent time digging through a bin of $5 DVDs for some kid movies for her daughter.  When she checked out they all came up as different prices and was told by the cashier that the movies were color coded, not all $5, and they couldn’t override the price.  So she asked for a manager and got the same answer even after she showed the manager the $5 sign and that there was no sign indicating color coding.  I was thinking, yes, she is right.  Then she went into a description of how she started yelling, “fraud!” and “false advertising!” in the middle of the store.  She was promptly asked to leave.  So while she was in the right, she handled it all wrong.

Bottom line, or two, I think everyone should have to work in retail or other customer service oriented job at some point in their life.  And if we come across people who lack social grace, we should be able to send them to finishing school.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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