Alright, as I'm typing the first few words of this post I'm trying to figure out the best way possible to word this so that I do not come off as a total psychopath... So let's put it this way, I've worked in multiple retail jobs dealing with people from all walks of life, beliefs, demographics, economic statuses, you-name-it. From an upscale Dallas bakery to Neiman Marcus to a small-town AT&T brick and mortar. And I've learned one thing... if as a consumer you are nice to a retail employee, you will get a lot further. A LOT. Trust me.
Well... about six weeks ago I learned that I needed to cancel a flight I had booked to NYC for the Del Close Marathon/to visit one of my long-lost college BFFs, D. Posner, as I had two scheduled showcases at the DCH during the same weekend. I had a Kim Kardashian ugly cry moment because I had scored such a good deal on the flight, needed some NYC time (mentally I'm always in NYC, physically I'm stuck in TX), and improv is the love of my life. But, commitments are commitments so I called Expedia and negotiated out of my flight hassle-free. Sort of.
Basically, I didn't cancel my flight completely because a part of me said, "Don't do it!" and after two hours of negotiating on my iPhone smeared with sweat and makeup (sorry, just trying to paint the picture), the customer service rep said I could cancel fee-free up to the twenty-four hour mark prior to departure, as she was more than likely ready for lunch break and sick of hearing me gab. But here's the thing... when I initially called to cancel I was as nice as I could be (I simply don't understand loud people obnoxiously demanding from the get-go) and for the first ten minutes said nothing but, "Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am," and "How is your day, ma'am?"... That got me nowhere. She didn't care to hear my Texas mannerisms. She wasn't buying my faux story of "my boss is making me cancel due to shift changes. Whomp. Whomp." Maybe she had had a bad day. Maybe her supervisor ruined her morning. Or maybe she just didn't want to help a 24-year-old dripping with white girl problems and disgusting charm. Can't blame her but who knows. So after forty minutes or so I did a little switcharoo...
I morphed into the repulsive b*tch that any retail worker dreads as A) I have never done that in my life and as a half-assed actress I wanted to try something new, and B) I've worked in the toughest of retail industries and have witnessed the meanest dragon humans get what they want from being Cal Hockleys times a hundred. TIMES A HUNDRED, I TELL YOU. So, yeah, it was awful and took me b*tching out of my comfort zone for an hour to get what I wanted the first time. Sort of. But what did that get either of us? My flight certainly wasn't canceled, my blood pressure had skyrocketed to what my Dr. Young would deem "rehabilitation level," and I probably had just made that girl's day even worse. Who wants any of that? I sure as hell don't.
So today when I had to call to ultimately cancel my flight I decided to be so disgustingly sweet to "Jane" that her moral compass would allow nothing but a fee-free cancellation within the first ten minutes. And I was right. Being nice always wins. Or so I believe. It didn't take five minutes of me charming her thickly-accented pants off via asking about her day, how her shift was going, how the weather was, and how she was going to celebrate July 4th. *PSA: make sure your Expedia agent lives in the USA before asking of Independence Day plans. #awkward. But, she was more than willing to help me in an instant without charging an arm or a leg because I was nice, and that's what retail workers love. Most of 'em at least. And as a former retail employee I would sincerely thank the Lord above whenever I was blessed with a nice customer. Seriously. That's how mean the world can be.
So take your pick... The next time you speak to any employee working with the public decide if you want to spend two hours b*tching and ruining the day of everyone involved, or fifteen minutes being delightful (whether it's fake or not) to get what you want. And is your want a life or death matter? If not, then just be nice. If so, cautiously consider your Regina George antics.
*Disclaimer- I obviously tried to pick the most stereotypical/wrong image of a customer service rep.