Wednesday, May 21, 2008

People Who Hate People.

I had many jobs growing up and most of them involved dealing with the public: a record store, movie theater, clothing store, amusement park. I understood when I took these jobs that I would be dealing with people all day long. I also understood it was my job to be polite, courteous, respectful etc.

My incredibly naive but logical message to all people who work in "service" industries - if you don't like people get another fucking job.

I had two instances yesterday, within an hour of each other, that drove me over the edge.

I was in Vegas on a shoot. I was working all day and did not get back to my room in time to check out. When I did get back to my room my key didn't work. I instantly understood what happened. I missed checkout so they checked out for me. I went to the front desk and explained. I had a small duffel bag in the room. Where was that put?

Instantly I felt tension coming from the woman behind the counter. Was I bothering her? Did she have better things to do than her job? She made a few phone calls: lost and found, house keeping etc. No one had it. Now she was pissed at me. I would have to fill out an incident report for a lost bag. In the middle of explaining the process she took another call. Mind you, I had a plane to catch.

I stood there for 3-5 minutes while she talked on the phone. Stand silently for 5 minutes. It is a LONG time. Her conversation was becoming more and more personal and less about my bag. I finally said, "Excuse me, do they have my bag?" She grit her teeth, covered the phone and yelled, "Yes! They have your bag! Geez..."

You might find this hard to believe, but I am not a confrontational person. I am not a pussy, but I usually try to take the high road. Not anymore. I turned to her...

"Is there a problem?"
"No," she said
"It seems like there is. I don't know why you feel it is ok to speak to me this way. I have been nothing but polite and respectful to you."
"Sir, you need to go to security to claim your bag."
"Thanks, I appreciate that, but you are not answering my question. Do you think it is ok to speak to hotel guests this way? I would like to know what you think I did to warrant you being rude?"

She was off guard now. I don't think she was used to people calling her on her shit.

"Sir, you need to go to security."
"Ok, I will. I have to catch a plane so we are not going to get a chance to finish this but I want you to seriously consider finding another line of work because you are too much of an asshole to be out in public."

Next up was the airport. I was carrying all the tapes from my shoot and as common practice, I needed to have security hand check them. Putting them through the X-Ray could potentially erase them. I asked for someone to hand check them and I was sent to a supervisor. I explained to him what I needed and he responded, 'No sir. They must go through the machine."

"But I can't put them thru the machine."
"They will probably be fine sir."
"Probably? I have an entire day's production in this box. I need to hand check them."
"That is against FAA rules. We cannot hand check them."
"I don't believe that is true. I travel constantly and I hand check tapes at every security check point."
"No you don't."

Now this is what sent me over the edge. I LOVE when people tell me what I have done and haven't done.

"I haven't?" I asked. "I travel constantly. In fact I have come thru THIS airport two dozen times and have had my tapes hand checked each time."
"We don't do that sir."
"No, I am telling you you have. I do it every time."
"Sorry sir. We do not have time."
"So which is it - you don't have time or it is against FAA regulations? Are you saying if you did have time, the FAA would be ok with it?"
"I cannot help you sir."
"You do realize in the time you have been talking with me the tapes could have been hand checked and we would be done with this conversation, right?"

At this point he walked away. I got back in line. For a second I considered putting the tapes thru the machine and then I got pissed. Fuck this. I am going to risk losing all the contents of a 50k shoot because this prick doesn't have the time? I began systematically asking all the other security people to help me. Each time they said, "Let me check with my supervisor" to which I explained he already said no. No one would over ride him.

Finally I saw a security woman who seemed nice enough. I approached, "Excuse me Ma'am. I was hoping you could help me. I have video tapes here from a television production. I need to hand check them blah blah blah." She told me she had to check with her supervisor. This is where I moved in closer to whisper, "Yes, I have met your supervisor. He is an asshole. He told me I completely imagined the 100 other times I have had tapes hand checked. Can you please help me? I will lose my job if these tapes get damaged."

As she finished hand checking my tapes I noticed the supervisor notice me from across the concourse. He was pissed that I went around him. Fuck him.

Do the job you were hired to do or stay home.

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