Random Acts of Kindness: Unexpected Appreciation

In my last P.A.U. (Personal Author Update) I discussed doing and/or sharing “Random act of kindness” which are “senseless acts of beauty“. So I got it in my head today that RAoK is what should be the topic for my next blog.

The theme as you can see is “Unexpected Appreciation“. This is about the folks who do the “grunt” or “dirty work” that most other folks may or may not want to do. The jobs that keep the cogs and wheels turning of our society that allow us to enjoy and benefit from the modern conveniences that we have today. Folks like the Delivery Person who delivers your package, food or other goods, the people in the cooler where the Milk and other refrigerated products are kept, Waiters and Waitresses, all those sorts of nitty-gritty jobs, that’s what I’m talking about.

The kinds of jobs that some folks would absolutely either dread, have done and hate and refuse to ever do again or might even slightly enjoy because it keeps them out of sight and mind so no one bothers them (except for the boss), asks questions or just pesters them in general because – let’s face it, some customers and/or clients – can be very rude and obnoxious.

You know the customers that leave product on the ground that has to be “claimsed” out (this means to tag out the product because it can no longer be sold because it has been ruined in some way), leave frozen things out after they decided not to buy them, drop their kids off in electronics or toys leaving a mass of mayhem and chaos in their wakes, the ones who have a grudge and pick you as the first person to take their company complaints and vendettas against (Yeah, you all! You know who you are!).

Now that you got a pretty good picture of what those unruly and rude customers are like, hopefully you can understand why I picked this very thing to cover. To me, these folks, in a way, are like the unsung Heroes of whatever it is – they do. They put up with SO much! Even I had to put up with crap like this when I worked in retail and it happens often and daily. Some of you may have wondered before I described the “Worst Customers Ever“, “Why this?“, but hopefully you understand now why some folks, especially these folks, might grow to hate their jobs or otherwise and why I chose them specifically as my focus.

It is true that if you treat your employees with the respect, kindness and understanding they deserve, they will be happy, want to stay working with you and put twice as much effort out. Same goes for how the employees are treated by the customers and clients. They are NOT your SLAVES! They are NOT your SERVANTS! These folks are human-beings and they deserve to be treated as such! This goes for Employers and Customers/Clients alike. These folks deserve better from us.

Certain tasks might be their job, but if we make their jobs too hard (especially considering how many of us are out in this world) they will feel simply and completely overwhelmed! This was the case when I used to work a single department all bymyself. My Department Manager was there early in the morning and then left early. I was on swing-shift. I’d clean up my department right before lunch and come back to it re-completely and utterly trashed like it was that very morning, if not worse than it was that morning.

It felt like an never-ending battle. A never-ending uphill battle. On top of this our employers expected a lot out of us, such as – when we were done zoning (tidying up) our departments, we were to go and help other departments with their zoning. Most folks, didn’t want to do that. Why? Because by the time they got done with their own, they were too exhausted and when you are dealing with these kinds of unruly customers/clients on a daily basis, day in and day out, it’s – again – no wonder some folks may grow to loathe and/or hate their job, people in general and/or become jaded toward the world.

Bad customers = a recipe for employee misery and disaster, at least in my book.

So again, just because something is an employee’s job, don’t make life harder for them like it is already. Lot of big corporations these days have adopted very terrible practices and that often means underpaying their employees, making them miserable and unhappy and definitely overworking them. Also, a department store, shopping center or other place of business – IS NOT YOUR FREAKING HOME! You do NOT get to trash it like your own house! Have some decency, some sense of self-respect and MANNERS for gods sake! Shesh! Didn’t yo mama e-vah teach you mannahs! GOSH! >.<

Remember this post the next time you are at a Wal-Mart, you order from Dominos (or any fast food place), you see a Waitress at a Diner or whatever the case may be. Show them a smile, if you can (try if you can’t), remember they are people just like you, write them a kind note on the back of the receipt copy they keep or just randomly walk up to a Stocker and say, “I appreciate what you do. Thank you!” something, ANYTHING that is some form of kindness, understanding and/or a form of appreciation.

These folks deserve this much. Especially if they look like those tired, overworked, possibly older folks who want to just give-up on life or people in general. A kind word can go a long way and – you may just toss an extra “Log” on their fire to help keep the fires stoked and burning for a while longer, which in turn helps keep them going. You may even help them maintain a slightly more positive perspective on people.

There you go! New post, as promised! I hope you liked and enjoyed it. 🙂

~Infinite love and gratitude, blessings, namaste~

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. think4string
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 21:34:18

    this was a very wonderful share and very insightful. I was in the Sporting Goods Industry for 23 years, working everything from janitor to warehouse, design programmer to sales clerk, ass’t retail manager to retail manager, Sales Rep to Operations Manager. The titles meant very little, because no matter how far I found myself advancing in title, I always made time to do the janitorial work in some capacity. It served 2 purposes. To remind myself that no matter how my responsibilities and salary increased, I never wanted to feel that the work associated with any job had done, was beneath the job I was doing. It also helped me do my “thinking work”. It was just enough of a distraction to focus and plan my to-do priorities for the day, and also keep my chops honed if they were needed.

    The side result of all this, is when I do find myself in retail, specialty, or grocery shops, I ALWAYS do my best to re-fold, re-organize, and even re-zone products I either was selecting, familiarizing with or noticed were displayed in the wrong area.

    Yes, I did those jobs and yes I remember how people would come in and at times make a mess, or take frustration out on our employees, my bosses or me. You learn so much in how to be effective in easing frustration, and you pray it works well, and some times, you’d get a genuine apology.

    I always shared with those I supervised that some of those customers work jobs similar to ours where, we are expected to have frustration directed at us, and we are expected to maintain professionalism, and composure in doing our best to remedy whatever it is that needs immediate and thorough attention.

    These customer service and service oriented jobs – along with other types of work, have something in common. The folks who perform them are at times subjected to frustration, hostility and at worse – threats or verbal abuse. We accept that this is part of our job, we try to do as best we can, but when we find ourselves wronged in some way as customers, we take that negative energy and direct at the persons on the other side of the coin. NOT always, but there is a propensity at times and it is how some folks deal with releasing the stresses of their own job.

    So some may see how this cycle is perpetuated, and fortunately some recognize it and learn to control and or eliminate it as it is of little practical use – except when we KNOW we are being taken advantage of, and even then, experience helps you to resolve it either as a consumer or as a representative.

    YOURS is an excellent idea Lady Gwendolynn!!!

    I apologize for the lengthy reply, but as I have experienced these things at various levels of my career both as employee and consumer – and as mediator – I wanted to share.

    =)

    • Lady Gwendolynn
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 13:26:36

      I really appreciate your share and insight on this subject. 🙂 I left out some crucial details of my retail experience from one of my 3rd major and long-term jobs I had, which my duties also included Cash-handling/Cashier work, Bagging and when I got finally moved to the floor I did -do- the zoning I spoke of, but I also often had to cover for 3-4 sometimes 5 different departments either because there was no one to take care of that department (No Associates like me) or someone couldn’t schedule folks “Balanced” for lunch.

      By “Balanced” I mean, not send everyone from every surrounding department at lunch at the same time, otherwise I had to cover paint, Sporting Goods (Fishing/Hunting Licensing), Crafts (Cutting and measuring fabrics, it’s where I wanted to be but still), cover housewares, Toys, furniture and sometimes go help out in Apparel. UGH! I was stretched -very- thin to say the least.
      Even when we eventually got -some- help in those other departments, a handful of the folks hired were so incompetent I still had to cover or again, there were scheduling issues.

      lol So I understand this subject -very- well and I never shot for a place as a “Manager” because my thinking was, “It’s just a higher-step on the crap-train. I might get more pay and maybe have a bit more flexible schedule possibly – but is it worth it?”.

      If you don’t mind my asking, how did you feel about moving up the ranks? Was it really all that special, did you enjoy it? Was it more work than you were doing before?

  2. think4string
    Oct 24, 2014 @ 19:49:11

    Well, I first have to say it sounds like you may have been working for a big box store or department store. I could be wrong, but in those cases, the hiring / training differ from the Independently Family Owned Shop I worked for. There was somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 employees. I essentially hired on part time as they were looking for a college student. When I became a full-time employee, one of the Outside Sales Reps (we had about 7 of them) treated me very rudely and regularly would allude to the menial aspects of my job and at times ask me to do things he should be doing himself, just to rub in the fact that my job sucked and I had to do as he asked.

    The perfect example was the day he had me go out to his vehicle in the pouring rain because he did not want to go get his samples out himself. His comment was,”man it’s raining cats & dogs out there, I don;t wanna get wet, Rene it don’t matter of you get wet, go get my samples out of my car. At looked at my boss as if to say “is this dude serious?”. My boss looked back to communicate “just go ahead, this guy is a jerk”. (ahh, the beauty of unspoken communication across the room) When I came back in he says, “you see all the crappy weather I have to lug my samples in and out of? You wouldn’t want my job, it’d be too rough on you.”

    Anyway, my bosses started to recognize that I had some good skills and I liked doing a thorough job. They offered me another position, more money and no more clock to punch. I also liked the idea that there was enough opportunity to continue moving up. its important to note there was very little actual training in my jobs while working there. You observed, you asked questions, and you were thrown to the wolves. You either learned quick or you got sent back to your old job. This is how my bosses recognized I WANTED to succeed.

    I told myself “this would be a great way to show that jerk Sales Rep his job is not so tough, and get him off his high horse.”

    As the opportunities continued for me, i accepted each one. The old man (big boss) liked that I never said no. For me it WAS a challenge and I loved that about my time there.

    I received bonuses every year I worked for that company and after just 6 years was doing the same job as that jerk of a sales rep – while functioning as an ass’t store manager. In fact some of his customers requested their accounts be moved over to me as they enjoyed having me available and accessible to work with.

    Eventually the Jerk, came down off his high horse.

    All this serves to explain that in my experience my own internal motivation is what is responsible for having accepted the opportunities presented to me. The biggest motivation was proving to that jerk that we should never condescend to ANYONE because we think salary or title makes someone more important.

    The sad thing that most (not all) shareholders and CEO’s do not understand is that “training” typically provided is more or less having a body in a department. It is difficult for motivation to be evident and take root if employees feel they get no recognition for a job well done. Many box store employees refuse to move up because of this. The foundation of your employees training HAS to be solid from the ground floor up for employees to recognize opportunity to advance is REAL opportunity and not a thinly veiled “baby-sitting” promotion with minimal pay increase.

    Those who have managed in a retail setting can quickly observe well-trained employees and strong training policy and an effective management support system almost immediately simply by asking employees some general questions and observing how they execute their responsibilities.

    I do not plan to return to the retail world for many of the reasons you cite as having added to your frustration.

  3. think4string
    Oct 24, 2014 @ 20:00:16

    “If you don’t mind my asking, how did you feel about moving up the ranks? Was it really all that special, did you enjoy it? Was it more work than you were doing before?”

    Loved the opportunity, it was special in my experience because I learned skills that are very specialized. It was more work, BUT because I was often training my replacements and those who would work under my supervision, I was confident as a team we would always get the job done. I do love working under pressure and multi-tasking is a big pre-requisite. In my experience you HAVE to become effective at delegating the proper task to the most effective employee suited to complete the task. Delegate quickly and be ready for the next fire, and realistically, my job – once I became involved with management and especially Operations Manager would best be described as putting out fires. You are the team leader, and you HAVE to motivate those within your team, you want them to know you have done their job before, and you are there for them. They will be loyal if they know you can be fair and expect nothing more from them than you are capable of accomplishing yourself.

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