Thursday, December 16, 2010

the customer is always...

The first time I saw 'Clerks' I was in a Kent State dorm room with a guy I'd just met right after I transferred from a school where the only permitted R-rated movies were "Braveheart" and "The Passion of the Christ" and where if you were in a guy's dorm room you had to have the door open, feet on the floor, and the lights on during certain visiting hours. It's no wonder I didn't last long there in the middle of nowhere.

It felt weird knowing that such bizarre rules did not exist, moving from there into what was almost a condemned building (broken windows, destroyed bathroom fixtures) with bushes covered in cigarette butts and all sorts of general debauchery and substance abuse.

But there's a place in my heart for Kevin Smith's characters, because unlike most movie characters, they reminded me of real people in a real setting that didn't seem all that far removed from my own economically depressed suburban world, with its dead-end jobs, unluckiness in love, obsession with pop culture ephemera (classic rock in particular), and lack of interest in upward mobility with a preference for perfected slacking.

Having always worked in customer service as a zoo ticket taker, seasonal retail salesgirl for two dreadful weeks when I was 19, and public sector peon for most of my life, the maxim that 'the customer is always right' is often wrong.

Though certain individuals claim to have "adopted" some of my coworkers, at least they don't have the option to do this, though it would be entertaining. I understand the whole respecting other people and cultures and lifestyle choices, but sometimes this gets a little pretentious or assumes that we're more narrow-minded than we actually are.


Anonymous said...

clerks was a good flick but that seemed to be his one story worth telling, lots of novelists like that. any job with direct service to the public is a test of one's love of life. with the general demise of paternalism we seem to have a new organizational ethics of the customer is always right, from higher-ed, to churches, to our govt.

Randal Graves said...

Good thing we're peons. If admin ever finds out about that Human Library gig, I see a customer service training day extolling its merits in our future.

thatgirl said...

But don't you want to be a Living Librarian or be "being lent out for hours on end, to talk with complete strangers about important and sometimes very personal issues?"

After all, "It shows great character and demands respect and admiration."

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