I got a temp job working behind the counter at a retail metal outlet. It's a franchise where you can buy metal. I haven't done counter work since college.
I've been working there for three weeks, and so far, out of the hundreds of customers I've dealt with, I've only had to deal with two assholes.
That's pretty good.
The guys I work with are all good guys, and the boss has asked me to fill in when needed, as he considers me "a good fit". Well, I try to be patient, polite, considerate and helpful, and I guess that's what you have to be if you are a counter guy. Everyone is in a hurry, needs instant gratification, but I've been told to just relax and not let them rush you. That advice came from Phil, the other counter guy. Phil pretty much runs the day to day operations, so classify him as non-com, staff sergeant. Phi's a good guy, funny guy; therefore, smart guy. Interesting character, like most people I've dealt with since working there.
The one most recent asshole customer I would classify as a pufferfish, an angry pissy little empty shitbag.
He likes to threaten. Threats are illogical.
If this were a samurai movie, he's the scared little shopkeeper constantly worried that he will lose his small piece of capital. He threatens and bullies the underlings, but if anyone stands up to him he collapses. And he toadies to superiors. It doesn't help he has that whiny nasal south side of Chicago dialect that makes me want to punch him in the face.
I'm of an age now where I really don't have the time and patience to put up with people's shit. So when it got to the point where he was just too much of a whiny little bitch, and I knew I was going to tell him to fuck off, I turned him over to Phil.
Phil is a pro, and had the guy settled down in about fifteen seconds. After Phil got off the phone, he laughs and say "I could see the smoke coming out of your ears".
He was right about that.
We have also had a ton of people who are just really good, really colorful characters.
I had one middle-aged black woman come in wanting to buy an 8" x 10" plate of inch thick steel, because she had to go do business on the south side. I discouraged her from buying it. It would have weighed, like, 40 lbs. Actually, I pretty much treated her like she was my mom, as gently and compassionately as I could. She was from Evanston, which, like progressive Oak Park, is pretty well integrated. (Chicago, third after Milwaukee and New York City, is a severely segregated, physically walled off racist city). Rather than try to assuage her fears, I googled a bunch of places where she could buy a protective vest.
A lot of the white guy customers are bigots. I was uncomfortable with some of the things I heard.
Well, this is America, and you are allowed to express your opinions.
I just figure these bigot types are limited, because by limiting their behavior according to stereotypes, they cut way down on their options and opportunities in dealing with people. I also have to assume they feel they are in a private space where they can vent, and perhaps outside of this cracker barrel venue, they treat others differently than how they express themselves.
The vast majority of the customers are skilled laborers, machinists, fabricators, etc. What those gentleman snobs the Founding Fathers would have considered "lowly mechanicks". Possessors of only mere skills, labor, and ingenuity, and not proper men of property.
The Founding Fathers were assholes.
It's amazing how, despite the enfranchisement of so many into our supposed democracy, there is stilla stigma attached to working with your hands. These people, of course, have my utmost respect. They know so many things about bending material instrumentality to their will I am quite frankly in awe. The stories they tell sound braggadocious and triumphal, but they are really problem:action: result stories. I know that, should civilization as we know it end tomorrow, these guys are guys you want to hang out with.
That's about it. I have two interviews next week. One at a art foundry, the other at a furniture fabrication place. I'll let you know how it goes.