Dear members of the public:
There are a range of emotional responses when dealing with
the walking wounded public service staff. You can be anything from friendly, to civil, to inattentive, to dismissive, to cantankerous, to downright rude.1 Friendly is always good, and you can't fail with friendly. But if you're feeling low and can't summon friendly, then go with civil and inattentive. That's fine by me. We are not, after all, bosom buddies. And I'm more interested in getting on with my work than chatting about your dog, anyway.
But for those who choose the nasty end of the spectrum, please to remember this: If we treated you in the same manner you routinely treat us, you would complain. Loud and long.
Me, I'm pretty tolerant. And I know what side my bread is buttered. So if you're rude, I will not be rude back. If you get some power kick out of watching me hold in my temper because I can't afford to lose my low-paying job, good for you. Enjoy that while you can.
But in that case please to remember this: Postal workers are not the only service staff capable of a sudden snap. I've quit higher-paying jobs for an ideal, so I'm fully capable of being irrational. Pull your head in. Before I climb over this desk and smack you down. I have staplers, heavy implements like telephones and computer monitors, and sharp scissors on this side of the bench. You have a table full of tatty magazines not even capable of delivering a paper cut.
ETA: See, I go and publish my rant, and what is the quote which greets me when I'm done? Seneca. Be silent as to services you have rendered, but speak of favours you have received. *chastised (but only a bit)*
- Yes, this list is heavily skewed toward the nasty end of the spectrum. Funny, that. [↩]