I am a full time student, and like most students, I work part time in a bid to boost my income. Unlike most of them, however, I thought I had hit the jackpot when I came across a job that offered short shifts and uncompromisingly flexible hours. And I had. The job is great, except for one small problem… the people.
I am the PR girl for a well-known high street restaurant, which means I stand in the street and hand out flyers to passers-by. Think this sounds easy? Ha. Think again.
On top of standing in one place for a minimum of three hours per shift, and aside from having to work in all weathers, PR staff have to deal with an onslaught of bad attitudes, worse manners, and an abundance of blatant ignorance.
Let’s break it down. The majority of people I encounter are pleasant enough. They will smile politely, take a flyer, and carry on their way. Sometimes they will stop and engage in conversation, or will make a friendly quip about my keep-warm dance. To these people, I say thank you. You make my job enjoyable.
Next are the no-thank-you-ers . While this can get frustrating after a while – because let’s face it, most PR staff are commission based, and their wage is determined by how many fliers they can give out – at least these people have the decency to address me.
Which leads me seamlessly in to the main subject of today’s rant. The ignorant, self-serving snobs who think it is acceptable to blatantly ignore me. The people who think they are too good to even acknowledge my existence, or the ones who will physically turn away from me without even so much as uttering a word, like I carry some awful, contagious disease.
If you are one of these people, might I suggest you stop it immediately? I am not a leper. I am a person, with very real feelings, simply trying to earn a living, and I am deserving of a little more respect.
I don’t know about you, but I was brought up to be courteous and well mannered. When somebody offers me something I don’t want, I say “no thank you”, like a civilised human being. Perhaps you should try this some time.
Or, even better still, just take the damned piece of paper; it won’t hurt you. I can assure you, I don’t really mind what you do with it. Don’t get me wrong, I would very much like for you to come in and buy something, but it’s not obligatory.
If you would prefer to put it in the bottom of your bag for later use, I’m cool with that. If you would rather throw it into the recycling bin along with the plethora of household waste you will be disposing of later, that’s ok too. Heck, you can even eat it if that’s what suits you. Or you can simply put it in one of the numerous bins that line the streets of our fair city… they aren’t exactly in short supply, after all.
What I am not so accepting of, however, is being made to feel less than rubbish by your degrading sneer, as you look down on me with your misguided sense of self-importance – because God forbid I should inconvenience you with my presence.
Under no circumstances is it okay to treat someone with such an abhorrent attitude, and, quite frankly, it says more about your character than mine.
So the next time you are offered a flyer, spare a thought for the poor soul that has probably been stood there for hours, in the pouring rain, desperately trying to hand out enough to make minimum wage.
And maybe try a smile. You’d be surprised how much of a difference a small gesture such as that can make to our day.