Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hissy Fit or How I Ruined Myself in Food World

I am a fit thrower from way back. I used to be worse than I am now. After I reached the point where no one could spank me or send me to my room, I embraced the freedom of fit throwing on a regular basis. Oldest Friend throws fits too. We have, in the past, referred to this as "ruining ourselves", as in "Pantster, I don't care if they did put sour cream on your plate after you told them not to, don't you ruin us in this place. We are running out of places to have lunch."

But I decided a few years ago that fit throwing didn't really make me feel that good (except sometimes) and it didn't do anything to improve the world so I cut way back. I became the kinder and gentler Pantster—at least outwardly.

But today I—as the Baptists say—backslid. The scene of the crime was Food World. I'm not proud of it but I'm not that ashamed of it either. It's been coming for years. First off, let me go ahead and own up to the fact that Food World is not my first choice for grocery shopping. Publix is my first choice, but it's across town. Lucky's, which is five blocks from my house, is my second choice but it's small and doesn't always have everything I want. Food World is the bad step sister for many reasons, but it will do if I need more than Lucky's has to offer and I don't have time to drive across town.

I don't know why it happened today. They've never been friendly so I wasn't expecting them to be. I wasn't having a bad day and I'm not an unhappy person. (You know that's what people who work with the public claim about those who find fault with inferior service.) I was just sick and tired of having a cashier who would not speak to me, would not look and me, and continued to visit with a fellow employee while he scanned my groceries. The first words he mumbled under his breath to me were, "Debit or Credit?" Then, "What kind of card?" When I did not press the right button, he reached over and did it, still without a word or a look. When my groceries were in my cart, he mumbled by rote and, again, under his breath, "Haveaniceday."

I began to roll my cart away; I did not get far. I turned to this young man and said, "I don't think you really mean that or you would have greeted me when I approached you."

"Huh?" he said.

"You never said hello. You never looked at me. Your life will go better if you will learn to be nice."

"I am nice," he said.

"No you are not," I told him. "All you do is visit with each other."

And I left Food World for the last time. When I got home I pulled up Food World's website and found the section where I could "tell them about my experience". I was unable to really do that, since they only allowed me 1000 characters but I did the best I could. True, I could write them a letter and mail it but I refuse to expend the energy. I'm not going there anymore so I don't want anything from them and it isn't my job to improve their customer service.

I realize there are people in the world who are starving to death. I realize that in days- gone-by-Russia, those people would have been euphoric to have a Food World, with or without a surly clerk. But I'm not in Ethiopia and I'm not in days-gone-by-Russia , so from hence forth, if I cannot make the time to go to Publix, where all is light and happy, or those sweet, sweet people at Lucky's don't have the brie, or the capers, or whatever other ridiculous thing I have a hankering for, I'll do without it.

Have you thrown any fits in public? Do you care

Addendum--After I wrote this I got a very nice call from the manager at Food World. He said he was new and to please come back, to give him a chance to straighten things out.


  1. Wow, what a horrible experience! Whenever I'm in the store and someone is hurtful to a cashier, I always try to lighten the mood when I interact with that salesperson. Maybe that young man had something horrible going on in his life. Or maybe he was just being ignorant and unpleasant.

    I used to be a cashier in a Drug store so I know what its like to be on both sides. But you're so very right. That cashier was wrong in how he dealt with you and probably everyone else that day, no matter his reasons. A salesperson is the face of the store and therefore reflects the 'mood' at that store to everyone who walks through the door.

    Doesn't this make anyone want to sing the song Smile? Or, dare I say it, the song from Annie.

    The sun will come out tomorrow
    Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
    They'll be sun.


  2. That wasn't a full-out hissy fit (no foot stomping, grocery bag slinging). I'm glad that you went back and confronted the young man. Maybe he will be more aware of himself in the future. It isn't my first choice in shopping either... the cashiers do always seem to have a scowl on their face. dayna

  3. Kathy--I am usually nice to clerks. Even if they aren't all I want them to be, I remind myself, I'm not having to do it. If they just aren't smart, they can't help it. If they are quiet or seem sad and tired, I'm fine with that. This young man was having a great time with his friend and not paying attention to his job or his customer.

    Dayna--No not a full blown Hissy. I've done that too, but it's bee a long time! Maybe this new manager will instill a better attitude. I can't think that Plublix just lucked into happier people.

  4. Ahhhh, the hissy fit! I have been on the recieving end of the "Don't you ruin us in this place" or most recently "If you don't settle your a@* down they aren't going to let us onto the plane."

    As you can tell from this I HAVE thown a hissy fit in public. The one I am probably most famous for was in Hattiesburg, MS where a waiter made the mistake of trying to tell me that a pickle spear was really a pickle-O. I may not know much math but I do know a line from a circle! The next time we went through that town the resturant was no longer open so I would say I probably wasn't the only hissy fit thrown there but certainly might have been the loudest!

    Like Pantster, my fit throwing days are mostly over but sometimes they just sneak up on you. I guess that is why they call them "fits."

  5. Ah,yes. The Hattiesburg incident--which cannot equal my behavior at that sushi restaurant in Birmingham because I was wrong. I did apologize but I have no immediate or distant plans to apologize to Food World. And Plotter was certainly correct in the pickle incident.

  6. Perhaps you'll be pleased to hear that the newly opened Hometown Market (nearly as far away as FW) was friendly and happy at early-drunk-thirty last night, and they even shared their bathroom. Which was clean. And very yellow.

  7. Sarah
    Yea! I'll check it out!

  8. I despise confrontation, so the public hissy fit I threw some 17 years ago remains epic.

    I bought a used Ford Escort to replace the beloved but dead VW Minibus. I did a decent job of checking it over, including looking at the tires, and all the obvious stuff was sound and in order. I forget why, but I had to go back the next day to pick it up.

    A couple of months later, as I was leaving my parents' home in KY to come back to TN after a visit, I discovered one of my tires was flat. In the process of changing it, I discovered that 4 of the 5 tires associated with my car were worn to the steel belts.

    Unbeknownst to me, from the time I purchased the vehicle to the time I picked it up the next day, they had switched the perfectly sound tires for completely bald and vastly dangerous tires.

    The last coherent thought I remember from that day was, "well, no wonder I've been hydroplaning every time it rained."

    When I visited the dealer that afternoon, dressed very nicely in a dress AND heels, I proceeded to:
    -- throw 2 of said tires entirely across the showroom floor,
    -- loudly accuse the entire sales force of depraved indifference to all the drivers who shared the road,
    -- castigate the general manager who tried to play paternalistic power games with me,
    -- run off every single customer on the entire lot (when I choose to be heard, I am HEARD),
    -- utterly & totally demoralize the poor sacrificial salesman who was assigned to keep me from resorting to any firearms that might be secreted in my purse,
    -- threaten action by attorneys
    -- and made them pay me back for the four tires I had to buy that morning so I could operate the vehicle safely.

    I'm not exactly proud of it, because it was bad behavior, but I think it was very much deserved, so I'm not exactly ashamed of it either.

    Several of my friends, however, have expressed regret at not getting to see me in full temper tantrum mode.


  9. As you have already pointed out, I do throw fits from time to time and ruin myself somewhere. But I, too, am not as bad as I used to be. No, I don't really care because when I do throw a fit I feel that it is warranted and have already made a decision that said establishment doesn't really need my business.
    Plotter, I had forgotten about Hattiesburg, but I have to say it was epic. Really epic.

  10. I don't consider letting people know they aren't providing good service a hissy fit. I consider that 'feedback." Now I have always tried to provide this in a level-headed manner because if the management isn't aware of the poor service, then they could lose future customers and in these economic times, that would hurt their business. I consider this feedback a FAVOR to the manager. Statistics show that for every 1 person who does complain to the manager, there are 9 others who just complain to their friends. I think that's more damaging.

    So I've given feedback. At times it is scorned (as it was at a local cheeseburger chain in a cute little village near where I live) and lo and behold--a year later-- they are OUT OF BUSINESS. Well deserved, I might add, given the lousy service.

    There's a flip side to all this as well: I give POSITIVE feedback to the managers of restaurants, stores and principals (fabulous teachers deserve a letter that states the fact -- they are the unsung heroes!) when I LOVE the service. I give generous tips, I talk to the cashiers and people who bag my groceries. I listen to their stories about their grandchildren, children, jobs.

    You got feedback from the manager -- he was GLAD you emailed him. Now it's up to him to put action behind his words.

    Disclaimer: I'm a transplanted Dutch girl who was raised in the wilds of Northern Canada so I'm genetically and environmentally wired to be opinionated and outspoken. Or, as my BFF in The Netherlands says, be a "fierce personality."

    You might want become an honorary Dutch girl, pantser. I think you'd love it. :-)

  11. Shawn, I would have paid good money to see that. And you've got a belated box of chocolates coming your way. See blog tomorrow.

    OF, Let's try not to throw any fits at the beach. I don't have the energy.

    Christine, I just need some wooden shoes. What your friend calls "fierch personality" Beverly Barton and I call "high strung".
    And I, too, have given positive feedback. I written an Airline, asked for managers, and, just today, told the young man working in the Starbucks in Target that I was sorry I wasn't allowed to tip there because he was doing a good job. He seemed to appreciated it.

  12. Well, I had a mini fit at a wedding yesterday so maybe it is out of my system. A boy behind me was talking on a cell phone right before the ceremony started and I told him that he had to hang up. His mother didn't like it and shushed the world's greatest baby. I had to explain things to her.

  13. Oldest Friend: cell phone rudeness REALLY bugs me; especially at performances. The very fact that we have to tell people to turn them off and they still use them irritates me.

  14. I'm late in joining in but I too throw hissy fits of such magnitude that my New Yorker husband is impressed. My pet peeve is checking out just as Pantster related - if you don't want to work in a local chain store and be a human being about it, get an education and do something else with your life - I don't really care for your surly attitude. As it is, my husband points out repeatedly: that's why they work here - they can't do anything else ( he says there is no vaccine for stupid!)
    My small town only has two small grocery stores (devoid of all the things you can find at Publix or even Food World). We make shopping forays into Huntsville to find those items you all take for granted; like oil that isn't mostly animal fat...lard is a local staple. Anyway, sometimes I get stuck going to Wal-Mart: usually a not so pleasant shopping experience. At check out, after unloading all those groceries onto the conveyor, the thing that irritates me is having to grab those bags from the carousel as the usually sullen check-out associate spins it around and around, searching for an empty bag. One day, after having my hand caught in the spin, I grabbed the carousel and though I am not usually a violent person gave it a spin back. The fat, gum-popping associate gave me a surprised glare and say she could have been injured. Imagine my surprise! I proceeded to tell her I too could have been injured and, being an attorney, I would proceed to sue the s#*! out of the big Wal-Mart. I pitched a major hissy fit while my husband edged toward the front door (he didn't know that woman). It didn't change anything but I felt better.

    I too have mellowed in my old age but sometimes you just need to let off some steam...

  15. You win Anonymous! Good Lawd! I wish every double dealing, lying, inconsiderate, dangerously greedy or completely indifferent sales transaction would get the business end of that Jackie Chan action! Owww! Go Girl!