Guru Fieldwork: Anthropology
It was a Tuesday
A day like another other day
I left my hermit space
For a nation in decay
I know, I know! I deserve what I get when I leave the house. Stepping out into the world is exactly like asking for it.
I can’t help it. Stuff happens. I guess it’s all my fault for observing it. If I was oblivious then maybe it wouldn’t bother me.
But what has been seen cannot be unseen. Leaving the house is where the empirical process of data collection begins.
Sometimes, rarely, it works in my favor. Like two weeks ago when we went to the movies. I had to pee so I walked into the auditorium-sized men’s room. Along one wall was a line of 20 urinals. I picked my spot and made a beeline. Along the way I spotted the guy. You know, the one asshole who exists in every social situation. He was standing at a urinal, doing his business with one hand, and talking away on the iPhone in the other. Millennials call that multitasking. I call it being a dill hole.
That’s when The Miracle happened in the blink of an eye.
Clackity clack clack clack.
The iPhone got dropped. And there it went! Zoom zoom! Clackity clack all the way across that pee-covered bathroom floor. The guy stood there, still holding his other device, and lamely watched it go.
It just goes to show that – sometimes – good things can happen. It was pure serendipity and, for one brief moment in time, I forgot all about pain. I was in the moment.
Last night I left the house again but the empirical results were decidedly not as fun. Not by a long shot.
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The windshield and the bug
Here’s a little something I’ve been known to say quite often: The public is ugly. What do I mean by this?
Mainly it’s all about attitude. One that encompasses a sense of entitlement with extreme rudeness. We’ve all seen gigantic dill holes strutting around and treating people like shit. From time to time all of us may have even been that dill hole. Why is this?
My personal theory has to do with the school of thought that says “the customer is always right.” What a load of bullshit!!!
Most of us have been stuck in a dead end job at one point or another. And what, above all else, has been beaten into us with a stick? The old school paradigm “the customer is always right.”
This sort of saying is a tool wielded by idiots who think they are “managing” employees just by repeating some meaningless, old, tired, broken down phrase. Sadly these are usually the worst managers of all-time.
The phrase “the customer is always right” was originally coined as an advertising gimmick by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the guy who founded the British department store Selfridges. For more about the phrase and some excellent information debunking it as a way to achieve customer service, please see the excellent article Top 5 reasons why “The Customer Is Always Right” is wrong.
So what do we miserable employees do with this horrible mindset that we’ve had beaten into us for our whole lives? Naturally when we go out in the world we trade in our “employee hat” for our “customer hat,” and then we let the good times roll. We treat every employee we meet just the way we’ve always been treated – like our own personal doormats!
Indeed, sometimes we’re the windshield and sometimes we’re the bug.
Now we have the spectacle of flight attendant Steven Slater and how he recently quit his job in the spotlight. Now there is a guy who simply got fed up with the public and how ugly we can be. This raises an important question: Just how much shit is one supposed to ingest in the interests of keeping one’s job?
An article from CNN floated across my screen today on this very same topic and it got me thinking. Here’s some excerpts from the article:
“I used to be a flight attendant. I left just after 1.5 years on the job. I was tired of not being treated with respect by passengers and management. After all these years, I still remember this kid saying loudly, ‘Here comes the trash lady.’ His father was laughing next to him.”
“The flying public in America is the rudest bunch of people I’ve ever seen. In my short experience, I was cussed out, spit at, had things thrown at me, and [was] threatened with all sorts of violence. The traveling public believes they should be able to ignore rules and do whatever they want and you are a just a slave there just to serve them, that is until the plane crashes then you’re supposed to be their savior.”
They’re preachin’ to the choir! I’ve been saying this all along!
Here’s a video to illustrate the ugly side of “I’m the customer” mindset. Here we see a woman in a drive thru reportedly at 6am and being told she can’t have any Chicken McNuggets. (When you get the munchies I guess you really get the munchies.) All this over fugging nuggets? All I can say is, “Wow!”
If this video gets removed by YouTube, you can also try this link on the New York Daily News. As of my publication deadline it also has the video.
All of this is just more convincing evidence for my upcoming book, Society of Assholes. Look for it in book stores soon if I can convince any employees to actually print the bloody thing. I’ll be the one pooping on them trying to force them to do and care about their insignificant jobs!
Personally I try to live by the Golden Rule. (I hope you were drinking Red Bull as you read this line.) Hopefully that means I’m more windshield than bug. Or is that the other way around?
In closing, please allow me to offer the following thought as both an American worker and customer: I FLING POO!!!
Please enjoy the musical selection that our chef has paired with this article.