Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Today I lost it at The American Post Office.
The full force of my special sparkly festive edition wrath came down on the scary spiky haired woman at the counter who threw my credit card back at me. Really threw. She threw it so hard it bounced back over the counter at 20 MPH before narrowly missing a suicidal dive off the edge. The reason for this? Because I had earlier refused to go to the back of the 20 minute line. The reason I refused? Because I did not accept that filling in the wrong size of custom form was reason enough to do this. So I stubbornly stayed at her counter and filled in the correct form, while enjoying the tropical setting of the post office central heating system. All the time she bitched and moaned about me as she served other customers.
''You are very rude!'' I say in my poshest British accent.
''Next!'' she yells over my shoulder.
''Excuse me? I am serious. I just needed your help and you have been impatient and rude.''
''NEXT in LIIIIIIINE!"
''Oh my god" I continue with the entire queue watching the free Christmas entertainment "You can't treat me like this! I am a customer and you work here. What is your name? I am going to complain!"
"Oh you want my name?"
"Yes I do!"
''My name is (pause to laugh with her colleague)...uh...Jamie. Yeah, my name is Jamie."
I narrow my eyes to show my distrust, although Jamie could be her name, being as it's kind of unisex and because she has lesbian hair.
My wrath seems somewhat wasted on this woman. My voice may be loud in Cardiff, but in New York it's normal level. The woman continues to yell 'NEXT!' shrugs her shoulders, flicks her lesbian hair and brushes off my wrath. She is wrathed out.
Customer service is for those who may actually live in some fear of loosing their jobs. American Post Office employees at Christmas are not those people.
This is not my first blow up since arriving. If you are already a fairly passionate person then New York has the ability to turn you aggressive. If you are already aggressive then it can turn you into a sociopath. If you are already sociopathic, you're fucked. On a good day I fall into the second category, therefore I spend a lot of my days fighting people in the service industry. There are too many blow ups to account- they include, but are not limited to:
1) Yelling ''I JUST WANT TO BUY TAMPAX!'' in Duane Reade when I was told I couldn't switch queues to get served faster.
2)Shouting ''Do you like your fucking job?!'' at a cashier who threw my groceries at me at the 'gourmet' market on 14th street. Gourmet just means they charge more. It does not mean they stop employing cholitas with attitude from the Bronx.
3) Nearly getting beaten up by a taxi driver because I refused to shut the taxi door in protest at his rudeness. I just wanted my bag out of the boot. He didn't know what a boot was. I had to run away from this one, as he looked like he might have a baseball bat in his boot/trunk.
Rudeness is rampant here. The streets are mean in more ways than one way. New Yorkers can be abrupt, cold and couldn't care less. They can also funny and talkative, helpful and exceptionally kind.
New Yorkers are a bit like the city they live in, contradictory at best, schizophrenic at worst.