When I was younger and when I used to stay with my auntie, she taught me how to communicate with people. Street smarts of sorts, if you may. She would make me talk to waiters for our orders and cashiers for paying our groceries. She would tell me how to properly address our concerns to other people.
It helped a lot. I grew up not being shy in telling people what I need. I need not to ask the people I am dining with for them to say what I want to say. When I want to ask something to people, especially those working in the service industry, I don’t feel shy. I just talk to them and everything from there flows smoothly.
However, without me realizing it completely, my aunt taught me how to fight for the service that I deserve, even if it means being mad and rude and inconsiderate with service workers. Growing up, I saw how she would talk down to employees just because they got the order wrong or because it is taking too long for them to serve the food that we ordered. Over the littlest of things, she would already get irritated with the service.
By virtue of behaviorism and how we learn through imitation, I found myself doing the same thing. Just earlier, I was asking an employee where I could pay the one item that I would buy, hoping that the customer service counter of the supermarket will allow one-item purchases due to the queue of customers. When she said that I should fall in line because it was unfair for other customers, I let my temper get the better of me, talked down to her, and walked out.
It killed me of guilt, let me tell you. While I was hating my classmate for being rude to the clerks at the graduate school office for not having her forms prepared, or my supervisor for scolding the delivery boy due to the ice cream that melted before it arrived one hot day, I am actually one of them.
It is sad because I call myself a communicator and I have failed to understand people. It is sad because I am the violator of exactly what I hate about other people. I saw my aunt do it, but it does not give me the instant free pass to do it, too.
We are all workers of the society. We should not hate people for doing their job because we all have roles to play in the community. If they are not doing their tasks well, there is always a better way to say it. Also, not everybody has the ability to empathically understand how other people feel and what they are going through. For us who can understand them, for us who want to understand them, for us who believe that we could, let us not add in the burden that they carry from people who don’t.
We cannot hate people for why things happen. For all we know, the service conundrum may be out of the worker’s control. Everything can be dealt with in a peaceful manner. Say things nicely, not because you are afraid they will spit on your food after your complaint, but because you understand and you are willing to accept the situation and adjust yourself to it. Say things nicely because that’s the right thing to do.