I spend a lot of time talking about problems I see in other people. One thing that might surprise you is that I’m actually very hard on myself when it comes to comparable issues. It’s one of the things that makes me so awesome.
<waits for polite laughter>
I’ve always struggled with what I’m going to call “DMV Syndrome.” Now, of course, I got that name from the stereotypes of the ladies at DMV offices. You know, the ones who chew their gum and roll their eyes at you because somehow DIDN’T know that you’re supposed to fill out the yellow form and not the light-yellow form, or that you (amazingly) were unaware that you needed two pieces of OFFICIAL mail, not just mail, and then on your return trip didn’t realize that this cell phone bill doesn’t count as OFFICIAL. How on earth could you think that ANY bill is official, and not government mail only? Yutz. I’m going on lunch. Again.
When I worked at McDonald’s (waaaaay back in 1998-1999 – can you believe it’s been a decade?) I would often work the drive-through. It drove me batty when someone would ask to “up-size” their value meal. Seriously? Up-Size? You’re at McDonald’s, the fast food chain that not only invented fast food chains, but invented the value meal and the concept of the “super-size,” and you’re asking for an “up-size”? When I repeated back the order I’d often be sure to emphasize the word “SUPER” to make sure they learn to respect the arches. FACE!
Don’t even talk to me about coupons. No, way, lady. I don’t care if you go to my church of 60 people and are in my Sunday School class and your 3-year-old son adores me. That coupon does NOT discount value meals. Even though the computer will let me do it, it’s the principle of the matter – and that principle is that I like to be in control and I like to say, “No.”
It’s definitely easy in food service. At Steak n’ Shake, your burger would not come with fries. You had to order them separate or ask for a “platter.” (And with the platter, which is your choice of two sides, remember that one of them can be fries, not that it’s two sides AND fries.) In a society that has become used to the words “includes fries,” and would expect that it does since the burger is pictured with fries in the menu, many people do not feel it necessary to mention wanting them (I should mention that the fine print DID say “does not include fries“). Well, I can only handle asking, “do you want fries or any other sides?” and subsequently can only handle answering the question, “you mean it doesn’t come with fries?” so many times in a 10-minute time-frame. So I’ll take the order as you asked for it, and then roll my eyes at you when you’re shocked that your $4 burger the size of what you’d get in a Happy Meal doesn’t have little fried potato sticks next to it. Hey, that’s GRADE A STEAK in that paper-thin burger, buddy. That stuff doesn’t come cheap. I don’t even get free soda at this joint, and I work here.
In retail it takes different forms, and is the same idea, but this is where we (ever so slightly) approach the realm of “you really, seriously should have known that, dude.” I’ve spoken before of the man who looked like he wanted to murder me and all in my bloodline because I ran his “debit” card as a “credit” card, so “now Visa is going to send me a bill.” Well, many other people misunderstood that same thing, but were quieter with their frustrations, and their eyes did not have a reflection of my bloody corpse in them, so I was able to mock them after they left the store with much greater ease. Also, there’s the ladies who would barge into the bathroom, despite the “bathroom closed” sign that’s been up for 10 minutes, and say, “I cannot wait any longer. I am going. I don’t care if you’re here.” And let us not forget the people that seem to follow you through the tables of shirts and unfold every shirt you’ve just re-folded, and then wad it up in a I’m-almost-trying-to-pretend-like-I’m-helping manner.
Now we cross into that realm . . . that realm where either I just haven’t yet figured out that I should have been better at my job, or those people were seriously lacking in brain capacity.
I worked at Rent-A-Center for a while, and in case you’re thinking of trying out their stuff — don’t. We had some people that would pick out a stereo, a computer, a couch and table set, take it all home, and then not pay for a month (payments were due every week). When we’d demand our money or our stuff, they’d scoff at us and say, “why do you care when you get the money? I said I’ll give it to you and I will. It’ll just be a while.” Or when I went on a service call to fix a guy’s computer. He said the keyboard and mouse didn’t work. Well, I took along extras, but didn’t take them in since I had a suspicion, and was right, that he had plugged them in backwards. For some reason he was very mad at me when I pointed out the mistake. I think his speakers were plugged into the microphone jack, too. He seriously didn’t bother with any trial-and-error. He basically tossed it into a pile and screamed because it didn’t work.
Oh! Oh! Or my FAVORITE one! This family had a HUGE stereo system and they called, complaining that the speakers were popping and the sound wasn’t working right. I went to figure out the problem and saw that they had their surround system hooked up very wrong. Please refer to the below demonstration of my mad skills with Microsoft Paint:
To further explain this debacle: they had the speaker wire coming out of the left front speaker output on the receiver to what should have been the left rear surround, and the wire twisted together to the next wire that led to what should have been the left front speaker, and the wire twisted again to the next wire, leading to what should have been the left front speaker, wires twisted together again, going to what should have been the right rear surround, and the wire twisted to the last wire going into the right front speaker output on the receiver. The surround outputs were unused. Again, the customers were mad at me for telling them their setup was wrong and threw a fit that when I fixed it they “had too many wires” running through their living room,” (one wire to each speaker coming out of the receiver).
To their credit, they got positive and negative correct.
In the “defense” of all those who rent from such places as Rent-A-Center, one has to have a certain lack of intelligence to even buy into such a ploy, so who can really be surprised when their dryer won’t dry because they haven’t emptied the lint tray in 6 months? (Yeah, that really happened. More than once). If you rent from one of these places, I want you to try something. Take that TV back to them, so instead of spending the $40 a week on it, you put that money to the side, and give it about 4 months and see what you can actually OWN.
Nowadays I’m struggling with another manifestation of the DMV Syndrome. I debate daily if I’m justified for scoffing at loan officers and processors who “read” our documents we provide to tell them who to ask certain questions, and then ask the same person everything. Or THOSE . . . . WHO TYPE . . . . . . . . LIK THIS . . . . . . IN ALL THERE EMAILS . . . . . WONDERIN IF . . . . . . . . . . WE CAN TEL THEM . . . . WITCH LENDR CAN DO FL 203K . . . . . . . . . . . . . . THNX.
I don’t know if it’s me or them when I tell a branch manager to send identification and resumes with his new hires’ applications three times in a row, and number four comes in with, yet again, no identification or resumes. Or those who are told to re-disclose the terms of the loan they’re working on to the borrower, so they sign all the forms themselves and are shocked that we would say that to do such a thing is against the law. I don’t know if I’m the right one or the wrong one when we ask for 3 forms and they send one and it’s not even complete, and then complain that it’s taking too long to get things done.
Okay, I’m sure who’s right. Me. I was just trying to take an approach of “maybe I’m overreacting, maybe I’m ‘going DMV’ in this situation, to coin a new phrase,” but these guys typically make $50,000+ easy every year and they can’t spell or read instructions.
So, before I run off on THAT tangent, let me bring us back to the subject at hand. DMV-ism. What I find amusing now is that I make efforts to not allow fast food workers or retail cashiers, etc., to get snobby with me. I honestly am not sure if I’m doing as a gesture of “I know where you are – I’ve been there,” or if I’m afraid they’ll spit in my burger. But all the same, I don’t excuse a whole lot – like if I ask for my hot mustard sauce and they forget it. How the heck am I supposed to eat 12 nuggets without any hot mustard sauce?! It’s not that hard to get it right, but somehow it’s my fault for not holding up the lunch line in the drive-through to check to make sure it’s there (which, by the way, I always do now). I’ve allowed myself to troll around some forums before and gotten into debates with people who are obviously me 10 years ago, working at Dairy Queen or Target, as they defend their attitudes and blame us, the customers, for all their issues. I don’t see much of an excuse for it anymore. I look at myself then and want to tell me, “get over it, chump.” Maybe I’ll do that when I’m not in the mortgage business anymore, too. Yeah . . . or maybe not.
For the record, I never spit in anyone’s burger.