It occurred to me yesterday that retail co-workers are the most dangerous and potentially treacherous to be around.
We are pathological liars and accomplished actors. That is what we are paid to do.
I understand that every workplace is filed with anger, hatred, murderous intent and deceit. However I think retail employees are better equipped to hide true emotion behind the well rehearsed customer service facade.
A guy walked into the store yesterday, a typical clueless customer with no connection whatsoever to reality or logic.
He wanders around aimlessly until I finally ask him if I can help him find something.
Bad mistake. This was his cue to babble like a lunatic who has his iron face restraint removed for the first time in twenty years.
"I know what I want but I just can't pronounce the name. I don't know where it is in the store but I will find it. I really like it, it is delicious in my coffee, last year at this time I bought 2 bottles a week but this year I am cutting back to just one." And on and on and on.
Of course I am smiling at him the whole time while simultaneously thinking to myself "You are on your own, idiot-boy. I am not going to waltz around the store with you, asking questions, trying to narrow down your choices from 775 to 1."
And, every time he was outside of sight range, I dropped my smile like it was a virulent disease that would eat my face.
He made a small attempt at a joke as he passed Wes, a co-worker, and I saw Wes laughing quietly as he walked away.
The joke was not funny. Wes's reaction looked so sincere.
That's when it hit me.
If this is what we do with customers, then we must do it with each other as well.
I think I have decent radar as far as differentiating between people who want to see me dead and those I can trust. (There are many more in the former category.)
Suddenly, though, I was faced with the possibility that the Shakespearean actors I am surrounded with on a daily basis might be stealth assassins. Flying below my radar, evading my bullshit detector and endangering my existence with their black thoughts.
And why not?
That's exactly what I do in this environment. It is what I have to do to survive.
I must be more careful from now on. I will respond to every smile with a pained grimace, every feigned expression of camaraderie with verbal venom.
I have no choice.
By the way, idiot-boy was looking for Amaretto di Saronno. You do not need to be fluent in Italian to pronounce the name. It is pronounced the way it is spelled. Although there is a fairly good chance this blockhead cannot read.
He bought a 1.75 liter bottle. If he was drinking two of those a week last year, the medical community will not be harvesting his liver when he expires.