So we’re bracing ourselves for a snowstorm. Apparently it is a blizzard. Also, it’s supposed to rain in the middle of it. I’m not sure what’s actually going on, to be honest.
But I do know that I stopped at the grocery store on my way into the office this morning. They’re always kind of busy in the morning, and with a storm on the way, they were very busy. I wanted to get a can of soup for lunch and Joe wanted me to pick him up some beer since he’s coming over tonight. So I get my three things and wait in the express line. It’s short but the woman in front of me had ripped a bag of flour and needed a new one. So I was waiting in line for 5-10 minutes, with my items on the conveyor belt, and the cashier looked at me and them a few times. Finally, he starts to ring me up and says, “I can’t sell you beer before 9AM”. The concept is fine – most towns have laws like this, but his delivery was…nothing short of awful. No, “I’m sorry”, no personality, nothing.
Now, I shop at this particular store pretty frequently, since it’s next to the office. And I see this cashier at least once a week. And he always looks miserable. Like just going to work and talking to people causes him physical pain. I usually go out of my way to make conversation with him, because I know working in a service position isn’t fun. He usually gives me monotone responses back, like talking to me is the emotional equivalent of going to the dentist (this may very well be true…ask Joe). Still, I try to do what I can. I’ve never once seen the kid smile. I want to scream at him, “Hey, at least you have a job. At least people are talking to you. At least you’re not working in a mine somewhere. At least you’re not dead.” But I never do. I just make the small talk, try to get him to be a normal human being – if not happy, at least moderately content – with no luck. So today, when this happened, I lost it a little bit. I asked the kid why he’s always so miserable. Why he thinks it will kill him to smile every now and then. Why he thinks having such a bad attitude is acceptable. He just stared back at me – he had no words to say.
Sure, it’s possible that I was out of line. And having him call a manager to void my order certainly slowed down the line for everyone, but I couldn’t deal with him anymore.
I’m just not sure what being absolutely miserable helps you accomplish. Does it make your workday faster? Does it make you feel better about yourself to deliver misery to everyone? I don’t know. Do you?