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5/26/2008

Ray

Posted by Gwen |

This afternoon I stopped by Blockbuster to pick up some new movies. As I walked in the door, the clerk staffing the customer service desk, a boisterous older man, bellowed, "HELLO, YOUNG LADY!"

I grinned and moved along. While his greeting seemed well-intentioned it also felt aggressive. As I wandered around the store, I could hear him arguing loudly with the two other employees on the premises, both young blond women. I only heard snippets of the conversation but I could tell that one of the women was the manager and that she had come out to the store on her day off to explain ringing up a certain promotion to Ray. This wasn't his first lesson on this topic and he wasn't taking her instruction well. It was clear that both gals were frustrated with his belligerence. He was loud and argumentative, at one point even yelling at the manager to, "GO ON! GET OUT OF HERE! THIS PLACE WILL STILL RUN WITHOUT YOU. IT WILL BE HERE LONG AFTER WE'RE BOTH DEAD AND GONE!" Ray speaks in ALL CAPS. He isn't really yelling, because he can get louder, but his volume is loud and his tone is aggressive.

Having been exposed to a variety of abuses as a kid, I do not like aggression. I do not like raised voices. I cannot tolerate it and clam up in it's presence. I immediately did not like Ray. Obnoxious and loud are his base level. I even wandered around the store for several extra minutes trying to time it so that I would not end up in his check-out lane. No such luck.

As I approached his counter I erased all emotion from my face. Passivity is the key to not being noticed, and not being noticed reduces the likelihood you'll get drug into some nonsensical conflict.

I was returning three movies and had three others that had come in the mail which I was trading for three others off the shelf. I despised that my "order" was so complicated because it increased the odds I'd have to interact with this puffed up, blustery old man. Without any other option, I set them up on the counter, careful not to make eye contact.

Me: I am returning these three (deliberately placing them in a stack to the left) and I am exchanging these three (stacked to the right) for these three (stacked on top of the ones in envelopes).

Ray: OKAY. OKAY. WELL, YOUNG LADY I'M GOING TO NEED TO SEE YOUR CARD.

Ray didn't need to see my card. He could have scanned the bar code on the movies I was exchanging and accessed my account. But I gave it to him because I didn't want any hassle. He scanned it, hit some buttons, and then stared at the screen. I stood and waited quietly and patiently while he punched buttons so I was shocked when he absentmindedly said, "HOLD ON, LADY!" to me as if I had been impatient. This man is even rude at a subconscious level. I'd really had enough and was hoping upon hope that my transaction was too complicated and the other clerk would take over.

Ray, now leaning across the counter at me: IT WANTS TO SEE YOUR CREDIT CARD. YOU GOT A CREDIT CARD? OR ONE OF THEM OTHER THINGS? YOU GOT A CARD?

Inside my head: Are you kidding me? This guy doesn't know what he's doing and I don't want to have to try to straighten something out with him. Noooooooo!

Me: I do, but why do you need it?

Ray, stepping back and raising his arms: YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW. THEY'RE ALWAYS CHANGING THINGS AND I CAN'T KEEP UP. THEY'RE ALWAYS DOING SOME UPDATE OR SOMETHING. I GUESS IT'S GOOD FOR MY MENTAL STABILITY TO LEARN STUFF. AW, NEVER MIND. I 'M NOT A PUSHER LIKE THEM. I CAN DO THIS WITHOUT IT.

And then he starts pushing buttons and repeatedly muttering about how IT WON'T LET HIM OUT OF THE SCREEN. Finally, the other clerk hollers from her station, "What is it now, Ray?"

Ray: IT WON'T LET ME OUT OF THIS SCREEN!

At this point he is punching the F4 key with such force that I was certain the keyboard tray was going to snap. Little Blond Clerk runs over, punches a bunch of keys, and then walks away. Ray stands there staring at the screen for about ten seconds and then says, "It wanted your credit card because there's $1.25 fine."

Now I understand that Ray is an older, probably retired, man who is out in a work force that is likely light years ahead of him technologically. He's is a proud man who is not used to being the weakest link on his team, so he yells and he blusters and he struts around making a complete annoyance of himself. I get it.

I just don't want to be subjected to it.

4 comments:

McGone said...

JUST BE GLAD YOU WEREN'T AT THE STORE BUYING EMBARRASSING PERSONAL PRODUCTS THAT HE WOULD NEED TO COMMENT ON, LOUDLY.*

*All caps intentional, and my God, a difficult joke for me to make.

hello haha narf said...

oh how i try to make it easy on the older folks who obviously have to work in situations where they don't want to be. but it sure as fuck ain't easy. i sure do hate that you had to deal with him this wonderful weekend.

Whiskeymarie said...

Ray sounds like the kind of curmudgeon that scours garage sales and auctions for out-of-date cell phones and computer parts that he has no idea how to use.
He also enjoys canned meats.

Poor Ray.

Pegnandy said...

Late fee? I thought there were no more late fees at Blockbuster.

As for Ray's tude, you should probably have stayed off of his lawn! Those darn kids!!! Who raised them anyway? Back when I was in school . . .

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