I just had a disturbing interaction on the phone a little while ago and it’s bugging me.
With things starting to open up again, I managed to get myself an appointment with Social Security to go back to my maiden name – finally. I can’t tell you how relieved I am and how much not being able to go back to my maiden name during this whole house buying process and the move has been such a major pain in my ass.
So with that done, I decided it was high time I got my happy ass to the DOL, etc, and did the rest: get my new Driver’s License and get my Jeep registered in the state of TN.
I ran into a little problem at the DOL – a missing piece of documentation and I had a little LOL at it because it really seemed silly, but the clerk at the door was kind, understanding, and said “Look it’s a 2-3hr wait, go home, get your piece of documentation, and go to this website here and make an appointment. It will be so much easier for you.”
I thanked her kindly, went home, and did just that but yikes! The first available appointment was for the 22nd! That’s okay, I am honestly in no hurry. I booked it and then I started thinking and doing a little exploring on what I needed to do to get the Jeep registered and found out that I needed to go to the county clerk’s office for that.
I decided rather than go down there and waste everybody’s time with the whole name hassle that I would call ahead and here’s where things went a little south – and by went a little south I mean I got a healthy reality check.
I called and asked, saying “Look, I have ALL the documentation here, but what would be easier for both myself and you guys? Coming down with all the things and getting this done now? Or just waiting until after the 22nd when I have my new license with my ‘new’ name etc on it?”
“When do your tags expire?”
“Oh! Then it would be much easier to just wait until you have your TN license.”
“Okay great! Thanks so much, you’ve been incredibly helpful!”
“Thank so much for calling and…” and legit people, the nice lady on the phone hesitated and then she said the thing that made my stomach drop out. “…and than you so much for being so kind.”
Me: “Oh, my god. I’m so sorry that you’ve been getting so much abuse that even needed to be a thing that you felt like you had to say.”
Her: “Well, people just aren’t as kind as they used to be.”
We talked for half a second more, I told her again that I was sorry she’s been getting flak and that I hoped moving forward that we could all get back to a place where we were all just a little bit kinder to each other.
Here’s the rub. I get it. The lvl of bureaucracy we have to put up with on any given day is goddamn annoying but the people we encounter that enforce the obnoxious rules in place? They aren’t the people that make the rules and there’s no need to treat them badly. Believe me, they’re probably just as frustrated as you are with the situation. Maybe even more so. They’re the ones that have to explain this shit day in and day out and get yelled, screamed, and cursed at for it.
So, if you can be anything when you encounter these kinds of situations – be kind. I really hate the thought that I of all people may have been the highlight of that woman’s day. That’s not okay to me.
So hopefully this blog post hits and maybe one or more of you have to deal with that insurance adjuster, or that DOL lady, or that postal worker, or county clerk, or even that Comcast representative today and hopefully, as angry and as frustrated as you get with the situation this will remind you to grit your teeth, keep your cool, thank the person you’re talking to, and maybe just maybe it will make them move that mountain just a little easier for you or at least you won’t be that caller where they hang up and take five to go and cry.
I’m thinking about that a lot right now… I almost want to do something a little more grandiose for that county clerk’s office. Like, buy the ladies and gentlemen working there some flowers at the grocery store or bake some cookies or some shit. Just something to let them know kind people do still exist because damn…
Be the change you want to see… right?