Friday, March 11, 2005

Rude encounter of the day

We went to the mall tonight, first time in months. Had dinner at the Red Robin. Usually, it's fine, but because Haley didn't take a nap and Riley's only 6 months, it was a bit of a challenge. Factor in Marci's new "diet" and we've got tons o' fun.

Anyway, after dinner, I had to run an errand at T-Mobile, so off we went. I talked to the rep and he had to use the phone to call H.Q. In the meantime, I noticed this guy come in, walk straight to the counter (cutting in front of another customer), and ask for help. He got rebuffed, then went to look at phones while the other customer got helped.

As I waited, Haley goofed around as Haley will goof around. Climbing on chairs. Looking at phones. Being 2.11 years old. No big deal to us. Finally, this other customer made it to the counter. I guess he was returning a phone or something. Being a little rude about it.

"I read that this phone has lots of recalls," he said.

T-Mobile rep, Heather, said, "Hmm. I haven't heard about that. They seem to be fine."

"No. They have lousy firmware." Stated as fact by said customer.

Anyway, not a big deal. He seemed a bit snooty, but what can you do? Having done some retail in the past, I try to cut the people on the other side with some respect and compassion unless they really screw it up. Heather did fine and this guy was giving her the business.

So, as I waited for my rep to finish up, the other guy finished and walked up to Marci and said, "Kids are tough to control, huh?"

Marci figured he was making small talk. Empathizing with her. She smiled and nodded.

Then he said, "If you can't control them now, how do you expect to control them as teenagers?"

Now, I was a bit out of earshot, so I figured he was saying that with a nudge, nudge, wink, wink. As in, I know how you feel. But I saw the smug-ass look on his pie-eating face and realized it was not meant in jest.

Remember Newman from Seinfeld? That's how this guy looked. Kind of a tidy fat guy. He was clean cut, shirt tucked in, pants pulled up around his belly button and big glasses. And for a big man (to put it nicely), he moved quick. When I got out of the store, he was a ways away, so I hollered to him, made him think he forgot his phone. Like a dummy, he came back, so I confronted him. When he realized that he didn't forget his phone, he turned and just started walking. But I had him where I wanted him. Without going into detail, I laid into him (verbally, of course). He just kept going, as if I wasn't there. After I said my piece, I stopped and turned around, half expecting a push from behind, but there was none, and the confrontation was over.

Looking back on it, I wish I'd said something wittier, or meaner, but, in the heat of the moment, I did what I could. I called him a fat ass. Somehow, I feel unresolved. Oh well, what're you gonna do? Next time, I'll be wittier.