The Customer Ain’t Always Right

“Pulling a JetBlue” has entered the modern lexicon, thanks to the inimitable exit Steve Slater pulled when a passenger was a fucking dick and wouldn’t apologize.

Like the classic movie Network, it seemed Steve Slater finally just had enough —  tired of the ignominy of a life of service in the skies, he was “mad as hell” and wasn’t gonna “take it anymore.”

Steve Slater on his MySpace page, presumably on a day he LIKED his job.

Good. Steve Slater’s my hero of the month, personally.

We live in a society that puts up with everyone being an asshole because there’s this “customer’s always right” mentality.

No, you know what? A lot of customers are assholes.

If I had to serve you people every day for the rest of my life, I’d put a fucking bullet in my head. Seriously.

I imagine why things like Twitter and Facebook have taken off is the protective shield it allows people for finally speaking up to what they think — especially the “little” people in service industries.

You and I both know 75% of them would never dare speak up in such a fashion in person, unless it’s only letters on a screen.

But then we head back out in the world where everyone’s more selfish, ignorance is rampant, and people bite their tongues in the course of daily exchanges, and there’s this festering resentment everywhere we look.

Me, I’d rather live on the planet where you can stop mid-statement, look quizzically at your work colleague, and inquire “Gee, are you gonna be a dick like this every time we hook up, or can we get to a new place NOW, not later?”

Imagine the bullshit it’d cut through.

Instead, we keep smiling and nodding, trying to tactfully dance out of awkward situations instead of saying, “Hey, not cool.”

I’m not sure if I have some form of speaking Tourette’s that gives me wide berth when it comes to blurting uncensored things, but it sure as fuck simplifies my life more than it complicates it, ‘cos I often blurt those things you’re likely to only think.

“Oh, that’s just Steff.”

Goddamned right it is.

Try it, speak back a little. Say no. Don’t be sorry. Own the right to speak up. Be like Steve. Walk out.

But don’t tell me it’s okay to be treated like shit, whether it’s by a customer or not.

The customer is NOT always right. Sometimes they’re really, really stupid.

Like the time I worked in a bookstore, and a woman was looking for a copy of The Talmud, so my colleague and I simply directed her to the “Religion” section.

“Religion? It’s there with all the OTHER so-called faiths? Just stuck in the same section with all the other not-Jewish books like that?”

My colleague looked at her, stunned, and said, “What? Would you rather we kept them in a SEPARATE section? Would it be better if we marked them to show how special they are, with something like a gold star? And if people brought a book back, instead of sullying the others with the rejection, we should just burn those unwanted books? Would that be better than the “RELIGION” section?”

I’m pretty sure she never returned to the shop, but I’m hoping the lesson got through to her defectively thick brain (and it really makes me miss working retail).

It’s an example, though, of stupid customers. Some can even read yet sink to immeasurably stupid depths. I know. Shocking.

Steve Slater got tired of it.

He probably got tired of all the things I’d like to beat out of my society with a fucking bat: entitlement, petulance, arrogance, impatience, ignorance, indolence, and, most of all, STUPIDITY.

Here’s a cheat sheet for EVERYONE that probably got under Slater’s skin, which is to say about 40-50% of people:

You’re not as special as you think you are. That job you’ve had modest success with could be done by most lab monkeys. Your money doesn’t elevate you. Your degree ain’t what it used to be. (Look who they’re admitting). Your fancy clothes don’t give you “asshole” exemption.

Here’s a reminder of how to be a decent human being so that the people who are paid to put up with your bullshit don’t have to make an emergency exit and get slapped with legal charges.

Because, trust me, a lot of us are fucking fed up with the Fuckwit Factor that comes with living in the modern world.

a) When you’re dealing with human beings in the flesh, get the fuck off your cellphone until you’re through. Seriously. Fuck.

b) Say “please” and “thank you”, because you’re not entitled, and it’s not much, but it sure helps to make a long, underpaid day a whole lot less insufferable.

c) Hold the door open for a split second when someone’s five feet behind you. It’s simple manners and you’re not THAT important that 5 seconds of your life is gonna undo the time/space-continuum there, buddy.

d) Don’t kid yourself — people in jobs “less” than yours work every bit as hard as you, if not harder. Most have had bad luck in areas that hindered them academically or professionally. You’re a product of good fortune as much as you are of work. Respect others.

Life’s short. It’s hard enough without entitled fuckwit assholes raining down their assoholic tendencies on anyone in spitting distance. It’s also hard enough without the disenfranchised outsiders thinking their life on society’s perimeters makes them a moral superior to everyone else.

Be better. Trust me: You can. Everyone’s become more of a dick than they were 20 years ago. It’s time to reverse this.

Meanwhile,  where do I get me one of them fancy exit-when-you-gotta slides, there, Steve?

And the beer, Steve: BRILLIANT touch. I think I love you, Slater.

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