Thursday, January 19, 2006

Don't Condescend Me, Man!

As with any job, my job has an insane amount of repetition. Most of the time I'm letting people know how to use the faucets.

"Lift the handle," I tell them. Constantly. It's not their faults. The designer really had aesthetics -- not practicality -- in mind when he designed our sinks. They faucet handles are partially hidden, so most people think that the taps are automatic. Newcomers to the restaurant are frequently seen waving their hands furiously under the tap as if something magic is going to happen. It's fun to see them get frustrated.

After instructing a person on the basics of the sink I often am asked, "How many times do you have to say that a night?"

"Too many," I respond.

Many people misunderstand my attempts at being courteous as a sign that I'm being punished severely by the management for some unspeakable misdeed. In all honesty, I don't have to show people which stalls are open. I'm really there to show how the faucets work, to replenish the paper towels/toilet paper, and to prevent people from bumping nasties in the stalls. The rest is up to me. Therefore, I try to make the people feel welcome. I understand that the restroom is a big draw to our restaurant, therefore I'm just keeping up appearances.

I'm also spoken to in a condescending manner. That bugs me a lot.

This evening two women came in and I let them know which stalls were available.

"Oh," Woman #1 condescended, "is this your job to stand there and tell me which stall is available?"

Seizing the moment I did what I've always wanted to do.

"No, I don't work here."

The beauty of this is I said it with an extremely straight face.

The woman stared at me as if I had just told a joke, but weren't sure of it. Their rabbit-in-the-headlight half smiles fluctuated between wanting to finish the smile and screaming in terror. They had no idea how to react to this.

I finally let them off the hook and said I was just kidding.

That'll learn 'em.


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