It’s not that difficult to be pleasant

Some service workers around campus have served during the entire quarantine, only to be treated poorly by the customers they show up for. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

We have all seen the videos of a middle-aged Karen attacking the service at a restaurant over nonsense.

It may seem hilarious to watch these videos go viral from home. These people become irate, create a scene, and we can laugh as a younger employee tries to keep their cool.

But when you are the employee being screamed at for a simple mistake or a nonissue, it’s not very funny.

As COVID-19 ravaged the globe in March, the service industry was one of the hardest hit. But as restaurants and stores begin to reopen, customers have started to show their true colors.

For example, I’m a shift supervisor at Publix. Part of my job is to carry out money service transactions, including Western Union payments. One night, a lady came in and attempted to send money through Western Union. Everything was fine until I said I needed to submit a tracking form.

She stated that she’d done this plenty of times before and never asked the questions on the form. She proceeded to curse me out so loudly that my manager came out and directed her to leave the building. The amount she was sending was not only the most money she had ever sent in a single transaction, but it was also being sent to a fraudulent recipient. 

Amidst all the raging fury, she neglected to consider why these forms are filled out in the first place. By doing my job correctly, I saved the woman who chewed me out for that same action.

Had she calmed down and let me explain the situation, she would have been protected. This is an increasingly common situation as people become restless in their homes over quarantine. Kindness can go a long way.

Sometimes, it can go well beyond getting kicked out of the building. Lucas Jones, a senior at Georgia State, spoke about a situation back in March. It was the second week of the school shutdown. 

“See, I work at the Dunkin’ in downtown. I already deal with a lot of craziness. But this one time, a lady claimed that her coffee was cold. And I explained to her it was a fresh pot and … that the cup was cold. She threw the hot coffee on me, burning half of my face. I had to go to the ER; the lady didn’t even apologize for what she did,” Jones said.

I get it, life is hard right now, but fighting your local barista over a drink is excessive. If you have an issue, be calm about it. Allow them the opportunity to fix it before you start screaming. Calling them names and being rude and often racist is never the way to go, let alone physically harming an employee. It just makes the situation worse.

These workers are facing long hours and very little pay. The world is lost right now. There is already so much hatred; a little kindness can go a long way.

You taking your frustrations out on employees isn’t going to make anything better.