An Open Letter to Customers… set the mood: Float On – Modest Mouse

July 17, 2007 at 11:20 pm Leave a comment

Dear Customers,

Greetings! First, I would like to thank you all for your ongoing devotion to the establishment I manage to manage. I can honestly say that I appreciate the business and compliments, as my battere-wife-like relationship to the store has me care for it as though it were my own.

This letter is a thanks as well as a push for understanding. Rather than ranting in my usual fashion, I’d like to put things into a perspective that might be understood by those who spend their days in office buildings.

Occasionally, or more often than not perhaps, a scream or two escapes the kitchen of my place of work, along with the exasperated tone we so often take when we are frustrated. But you see, this frustration – which can sound like rage for the most part – has complicated origins.

Imagine this scenario:

7:00 am: You arrive at your office an hour early with great ambitions to take care of all those papers and projects that have piled up on your desk. To your dismay, your quiet time is shattered by your ringing phone. After taking a couple of calls, you decide to turn off the ringer until your official start time.

8:00am: You turn your ringer on, and realize you have twelve new messages that you must try to listen to and respond to while trying to take the many other calls you are being bombarded with.

9:00am: You realize you have an 11 o’clock meeting you must begin to prepare for, and you do this while talking with the co-workers who are stopping by with questions, updates, and chit-chats.

11:00am: You attend your meeting. You arrive late because you are caught up by a co-worker in the hall.

12:00pm: Everyone is leaving for lunch. You decide to forego lunch today in order to catch up, since no one calls during lunch because everyone is away from their desks. Your fellow co-worker one cublicle over asks to borrow money for a hotdog. You loan it to him, saving enough for an afternoon coffee.

12:30pm: It is raining so your buddy who borrowed money from you is eating his fresh, savoury street meat right next to you and the smell is seductively crawling over the cubicle wall to your nostrils. You tell your brain to ignore the rumbling of your stomach as you push onward.

1:30pm: You realize you haven’t yet checked your email. Your heart sinks at the vision of 27 messages in your inbox, and the dream of an afternoon break is rained out by the dark cloud now hovering above your hanging head.

3:00pm: You sigh loudly as Street Meat thanks you again and tells you to have a good weekend just as your phone rings. On the line is someone who emailed you ten minutes ago and wants to know why you haven’t returned his message yet. You get a beep. On the other line, another co-worker is wondering something similar, having messaged you an hour earlier.

5:00pm: Thankful to finally finished some work, you look at the time; you’ve been at work for 10 hours and you’ve had nothing to eat since 6:15am. You’re exhausted so you call it a day.

Now, imagine this is what every work day was like. And imagine that you had to do this six days a week. For less than 15 dollars an hour. Oh, and you don’t have a chair, so you have to stand. And that you have to keep a smile on your face constantly because the people you are continuously talking to are there in person rather than on the phone.

Can you say with a straight face that you’d be sunny and cheerful to everyone, even when confronted with many rude, self-centred, demanding people who believe they are the only ones in the world who command your attention?

I thought not.

Despite this, I’m trying very hard to remain calm when faced with daily frustrations. I’ve taken to deep breathing when exasperation hits. I like to think I’m a very calm person, as I’m not upset by much (unless I’m on my bike and I’m cut off or harassed by drivers, or if someone is particularly rude or offensive when I’ve been perfectly pleasant). I do like to relay things in a way that may seem as though I’m more upset than I am, but I just have a dramatic story-telling style.

Anyway, have a nice weekend, I’m sure I will when I eventually get one. I’ll get on top of arranging for that sometime when I’m not too busy…

.megan.

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Shaving my head – Part I Smoking, or Why Do Terrible Things Seem Romantic?… set the mood: Bukowski – Modest Mouse

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