Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Personal Pet Peeve: Rudeness

The other day at work, we received a fax that was meant for somebody else. This has been a fairly common occurrence in my working life, and I always try to be polite and call the sender to let them know that their fax had gone astray. It just seems like the right thing to do.

So I call up the sender. I identify myself and where I'm caling from. Click. She hangs up on me. Now, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I told myself she disconnected me by accident, although I don't really believe that. So I call her back. I re-identify myself. She doesn't apologize that we were disconnected. I explain to her that her fax came to us by mistake. Before I can explain which fax it is (in case she sends many) or what her mistake was (one digit off on the number), she says, "Okay, thanks," and hangs up.

I found myself irked by her rudeness for much of the rest of the morning. Later in the day, when I received the same fax twice - erroneously once again - from a different organization, I never called them up to tell them.

It reminded me of an incident that happened last week. Our subsitute mailman brought back a packet that I had sent. Before I go further, two things: 1. According to my scale, the packet weighed under 13 oz. and 2. I was unaware that you have to take envelopes over 13 oz. into the post office; you can't put them in mailboxes.

So, this mailman - not our regular - brings me back this packet because, he says, it's over 13 oz. Then he says to me, "I guess you tried to sneak it in, but we do weigh the packets at the station." I was so stunned that I could hardly speak. I mean, really, does he think I had some grand conspiracy to cheat the post office out of 17 cents? Give me a freaking break. What on earth possessed him to say something like that?

I was steamed about his comment for much of the day. By the way, I took that packet in to the post office and was told by the lady at the counter that it was not, in fact, over 13 oz. However, she said, since it wasn't "flexible" (it contained several manila folders), I had to send it at the "parcel" rate. Whatever. That's a new one to me. I've sent "non-flexible" packets in the mail at non-parcel rates before. So they got their extra 17 cents after all. Exactly who is attempting to cheat whom?

I know that I let these incidents get to me far more than I should. But there's something about professional rudeness that really bugs me. It just doesn't make any sense. Why be rude to people who are trying to do you a favor? Why be rude to someone that you have to see on a regular basis?

I don't understand why cooperation and consideration wouldn't be your first priorities on the job. Do most people hate their jobs that much? I hate my job, but I don't see it as an excuse to be an asshole to everyone who crosses my path. I try to be polite and professional all the time when I'm on the job, and usually in my personal life as well. I don't always succdeed, but when I do slip up, I apologize.

Sometimes I feel like I don't even belong in this world. I feel like I have all of these ideals and standards that other people just don't seem to share. I don't even know where these ideals came from. I don't think my parents modeled them for me. It's like I came into this world this way. I've felt this way about myself for most of my life. I used to think that it was teenaged angst, but now I'm not so sure.

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