A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

21 August 2010

Unemployment Figures...It Shouldn't Be This Way

I've been sitting here the past few months wondering something: If there's so many people needing jobs in Montgomery (and across the country), why haven't the people who do a bad job...at their job...been let go and replaced by someone who would do a much better job?

In fact, the other day, on WSFA's news, I saw a report about a pizza shop owner talking about how he had to fill 50 slots and had 200 applicants (or some numbers similar), so he could pick and choose only the best and friendliest people to fill those slots.

Well, this got me thinking about the original thought I was thinking...you know, the one in the first paragraph. Why aren't more discourteous and incompetent people being fired and more capable and willing people being hired?

Now, here's something I've addressed a few times - in my blog and elsewhere: The workers at "Chick-Fil-A" are always super nice. I can go through that drive-thru at any time of day and they will be super nice..I could go loop around and drive through it 17 times in a row...and you know what? They'd be nice every single time. Down the street a ways the people at "McDonald's" and "KFC" made me so annoyed by their abject lack of anything resembling manners or people-skills, I long ago stopped going. I have heard it hasn't changed.

I go into stores...just random stores - I won't mention any names this time...but the niceness is spotty at best. Some places...I swear the workers see you approaching them and they dodge away from you as fast as their little feet can carry them without breaking into an all-out sprint. These stores are typically called "home improvement stores" and "stores with initials in the beginning of their name followed with a double consonant at the end of their name". I'm not even counting Walmart here...because they already have a reputation for "having a reputation".

And I'm sure there are countless other stores I don't go into which do the same.

I also see this at doctors' offices. Many times I'll get a receptionist who won't even say "Good morning" or "How are you today?" How hard IS it to do this? It takes about three seconds tops. No, what I get out of them is "Your co-pay is $12.00". Not even a "Thank you for coming here so I can actually have a job." (Yes, that line was an exaggeration, but I think you know what I mean.)


I also have been waited on, in line, by a cashiers (yes, several different ones - at several different stores) who made me wait while they clearly conducted a conversation with their boyfriends - and they weren't getting off for me until they were done with that conversation. I've been looked at by workers who were too busy talking to each other, usually in groups of three for some reason, to see that I needed help. When I dared interrupt them to ask for help, they only stopped long enough to say "It's not my department" and went right back to talking. Not, "I'll find someone to help you." or "Let me see if I can help."

I've rarely reported these people to management - and when I have, the management seems to have more issues than the workers themselves. Calling up "corporate" makes me feel like I at least talked to someone who cares, but the same issues never seem to get resolved.

I read forums devoted to why people can't be nice in these instances...and always the same line gets uttered, "Well, what do you expect when they're getting paid minimum wage?"

I worked YEARS for minimum wage, after school at the high school's office. I worked for years for minimum wage (or very close to it) at McGuire Air Force Base in admin offices. Granted, I never worked at a store or fast-food restaurant...or even a doctor's office for that matter, but it mattered to me to be courteous and do a good job. The thing is...I took PRIDE in my work, regardless of what I was paid for it. It was a reflection upon my own self and I didn't want to compromise my integrity as a good worker by doing a lackluster job.

So, what I want to really know, is...if these places can get 200 applicants and hire only a handful, why do some stores, restaurants, and doctors' offices hire, what seems to be, the worst 50?

And, how come I still can't get a job in this town? Is it because I'm too old? My lack of a college degree? I think I'm a nice person - I still look (somewhat) pretty when I put on make-up and I have a fabulous wardrobe. I'm definitely a quick learner (except for politics...yeah, political bloggers, I put that one in to see if you are reading)...and other than cleaning restrooms and changing light bulbs in their 50-foot high signs outside, I'm willing to do most things; the more challenging, the better.

Seriously, do I have to just come in with an "I don't give a flying fig" attitude in order to land that elusive job? I'm beginning to really think so.

Lastly, taking me totally out the equation, when ARE things around here going to change for the "better"? If there's such a glut of people looking for jobs, you'd figure it would be a hiring market...you'd figure they would hire the best people, right? Or are they hiring the most inept people to camouflage their OWN inadequacies and incompetence?

Face it -- next to the worst person in the room, everyone else looks so much better in comparison, right?


  1. I currently work for barely above minimum wage at a fast-food restaurant and I am ALWAYS courteous and friendly and don't act like the customer is inconveniencing me (unless the customer is being an asshole...). It's not hard! Smiling and greeting someone nicely is just something that everyone should do, yet many of the workers at the place I work at don't do it. It's really irritating.

    Also, I'm trying to find a second job right now (because of the being paid barely above minimum wage status) and I haven't been able to, and I feel you on wondering why I can't get one. I want to go into a place like Wal-Mart, go up to the management and say, "See that crappy worker over there that didn't so much as *look* at me while she was ringing up my groceries? Could you please fire her and hire me and I PROMISE you I will be ten times better? Thanks." The problem is, we can't really convey with a simple application how much better of a worker we are than a lot of other people.

  2. First time reading and I agree whole heartly with you. I also have a feeling that bible beater owner of Chick-Fil-A brainwashes his employees to be nice. Either that or they just love the chicken. All I know judging from your background, I would hire you if I was remotely important.

  3. You're so tremendously spot-on here. I refuse to fork over my money, in any store, until the cashier actually speaks to me. It's amazing how many of them will drag my items across the scanner and then just stand there waiting for me to habd them money, nary a word passing their surly lips. Nope. No cash from me until you acknowledge my humanity.

    (At which point, I'll break out a smile and give them a "Thank you!", letting them know I appreciate their humanity, but not before.)

  4. SD - I actually did that once! I called up the manager of Dillards to tell them that a certain "cosmetic selling person" there was a real jerk and had been each time I came in...and if I had her job, I could do it a LOT better. She asked me if I was serious and I told her "YES!" Went the next day to meet with her and she was majorly impressed - I did the little online test there and I waited and waited for her to answer a question mid-stream (she wasn't in the office) and I think the thing timed out on me. Consequently I didn't make the cut and when I told my "eventually-to-be-ex-husband" he'd have to watch our daughter on some weekends and nights, he told me not to work at a place like that. His freedom, you know...what an ass.

  5. Walt - You could be right with the brainwashing...but still, their chicken sandwiches are darned tasty.

    And my suggestion to you is to hurry up and get important so you can give me a job. :)

  6. Sully - I tried your method today and didn't say anything until the cashier acknowledged my presence. It took the entire time to empty my carriage before she said anything.

    I have to pay more attention now whether it's me who initiates the "hello" process or whether it's them. It just might be me each time...which isn't right.

  7. I complain. A lot. I fire off e-mails and letters and make phone calls and ask to speak the manager and everything. Once, I ratted out a pregnant woman at the Macaroni Grill for being horrible at her job, and they fired her. I felt bad about that for roughly 10 seconds, then realized that I was not only doing her a favor, but also doing somebody else who wanted a job and wanted to do it well a favor.

    I hope you find a job soon, Mariann, preferably as a highly paid novelist. :-)

  8. Ha! I wish. At this point I'd take getting the job as a low-paid novelist. At least I'd have an excuse for my alcohol consumption. ;)

  9. How right you are on this Mariann! I complained once to a Walmart manager about a cashier that was non-verbal to me every single time I went there...BUT would speak to the Spanish person behind me. Well she DID speak English and the manager did recognize who it was just by my explanation of her "work", but she is still there!!! I even go as far as to get in a line that is sooooooooo long just so I can avoid her.

    And when these employees do get fired, they wanna know "WHY??"

  10. There's a few problems here. 1) not enough customers take the TIME to complain so they don't have a "reason" to complain.
    2) Fire someone & you may have to pay unemployment (They SHOULDN'T - I was denied unemployment the only time I was fired & I was pregnant at the time & my mistake was in part due to a lack of training - Clerical Error); but maybe that's why the don't more often, it's a cash issue
    3) Firing & hiring required paperwork & balls & most employers can't be bothered.

    In a similar vein, not enough people pay employees COMPLIMENTS to the MANAGER when they get great treatment. I can't tell you the number of compliments I got working fast food - dozens a day; but less than a dozen customers (in two years) asked for the manager to tell them.

    As for Chic Fil A, what is their catch phrase, whenever you say "Thanks" they never say "Your Welcome" they say, "It's my pleasure" or something like that. I LOVE that; but it can be a bit much since I usually say Thanks a LOT. They give me my change, Thanks, they hand me my drinks, Thanks, they hand me my food, Thanks, they say Have a great day, I say Thanks. ETC...

    I used to LOVE going to Wal-Mart because they were so personable & friendly. The one by my new home though is so bad the GREETERS barely say Hello. You can ask for help & be ignored, or wait 20 min to get help. It's insane. I won't even go there most of the time. I am SOOOOOO picky about good customer service. I get so ANGRY when I get bad service. I rant & rage for a long time. It puts me in a bad mood. Conversely I will be practically HIGH when I get good service. I walk on cloud nine. I WILL ask for a manager to compliment someone; & I am super shy & hate talking to strangers; but if they are they good they deserve some recognition. I STILL have the papers I got 10 years ago from managers complimenting my customer service skills. Cheers me up when I'm having a bad day.

    ~~ MoannaMonster

  11. EDITED: Reason 1) I meant the manager's don't have a "reason" to fire.