Diary #21 : Don’t Shoot the Messenger (or the till girl…)

I’ve never kept it a secret that I work in retail. Always have. When people know how bad my depression and anxiety are they tend to be surprised to hear it but I’m also a people person deep DEEP down and I quite like retail. It isn’t always as bad as people make it out to be.

Then again I was raised to be polite to people, to remember that everyone makes mistakes so you should be kind and having depression and anxiety means I’m fully aware that you NEVER EVER can tell how the person you are talking to feels at that moment so you treat them the way YOU want to be treated, you smile and you are just, in general, nice.

When did it stop being so easy to be nice?

I can’t really go into specifics about what happened for obvious reasons but tonight two people made me hate myself.

Not because I had personally done anything wrong.

In fact they had just timed coming to my till at the wrong time because I had to go upstairs for two seconds, I didn’t make them wait long it was just bad timing. One of them choose to come to my till instead of self service, the other customer to be fair did need my till.

Being the only face they saw at that moment I became their enemy and every single problem they had was taken out on me. Just because I was there. Because I had made them wait a few minutes because I needed to go upstairs.

Thing is I’m not even angry at them, I don’t care enough about them or their problems to be angry at them.

I’m angry at myself because for the first time since starting work in this company I had to call a manager and leave because of my anxiety.

They had been so vile towards me, when I hadn’t done anything wrong, that I had to leave my job, OK fair enough I was on overtime at that point so I wasn’t leaving early, and go home.

I’m angry that I couldn’t just grit my teeth and get on with it.

I’m angry that I let them make me cry.

I’m angry that I didn’t point out to them in the most matter of fact way that I, the person sitting on a till in front of them, do not make the rules. I do not do anything other then what I am told. I didn’t do anything to the self service machines to make them put things through at the wrong price, I did not intentionally make them wait because I didn’t want to serve them, I don’t make it so that the alarms on self service don’t go off.

I just stood there and took the abuse and now I’m taking it out on myself.

They don’t know who I am, they don’t know that this confrontation would effect me so much, well the woman didn’t but the man might have, they don’t realise that I had finally gotten my depression and anxiety under control after a whole year so far of pain and misery.

They also didn’t know that I wasn’t any of those things. They didn’t know if I was strong enough to take their abuse. They don’t know a single thing about me personally.

They DO know that I DON’T make the rules. They DO know that having a go at me might make them feel better but it won’t do anything to sort out their problems.

Which makes me wonder WHY anyone would feel better by making someone else feel like shit?

This blog is more a question I guess.

What kind of person do you have to be to verbally attack someone you don’t know who has nothing to do with the things you are attacking them for?

Do you really think that having a go at someone behind a till is going to change a company rule? Telling me that the till should be manned at every single second of the day when its company policy to go do something else when your till is empty is going to make something change?

How does that make you feel better?

I mean I had to go upstairs to take pain killers but what if I was putting stuff back in the chiller? What if I was restocking the freezer? I don’t know how long a customer is going to take so at that time of night I’m going to have to drag it back into the warehouse or maybe end up writing off a whole bunch of stock. They’d been told that I was going to be back in a minute, what if the reason I was taking my time was because I was the person cleaning up a spillage?

I left work a hour earlier then I agreed to stay, leaving people to finish the store close, and I feel shitty about it.

When I get given too much change I instantly head back to give it back to the cashier because I know that the random stranger might actually get in trouble for doing that and they are only fucking human so don’t deserve that kind of shit.

If I get overcharged if its only a few pence then what the heck? It isn’t the end of the world. If I do go back for the money I’m polite because hell, it happens, specially when you are on tills for hours serving hundreds of customers. We’re only human, we make mistakes.

I’m sorry that you might be the one in a hundred that got overcharged but I also doubt you’d come back into the store if you were undercharged.

Even if something goes wrong or the person serving me was rude and I need to make a complaint I don’t have a go at the person I make a polite complaint to the manager and that’s it.

If I had been rude to the person I might have understood. If I had taken myself off the till when they were there and buggered off I’d understand. Even if they had just asked the questions in a polite manner I wouldn’t have been upset.

But I wasn’t and they didn’t.

I don’t want special treatment at work. If I have a problem I tell the managers and they work with me to make sure I am a productive member of the team no matter what. I like to think I always am. That isn’t what its about.

I just want to know when it became so normal for people to act so nasty towards people they don’t know for things they don’t control. What do these people get out of it? Why is it so fucking important?


As stupid as it seems I’m going to have big problems returning to work now for my next shift. Sure I’ll be fine when I get in, even more fine if the customers were blowing steam and don’t complain about me like they said they would, but I’ll be beating myself up about this for the whole of my day off and I just don’t understand why anyone would be so rude.


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