How May I Help You?

Or The Day the Information Booth Exploded

Written by Samantha

Warning: The following article contains a disgruntled employee griping about work--do not read if you don't want to put up with complaining!

So, this issue is on "people who are too nice". Well, living in a small town, and working at the local mall, I encounter this every day. In fact, I AM, ashamedly, one of those people. I have to be in order to keep my job. Sometimes I hear my own sugarcoated voice and want to vomit. But, the yuppies around here seem to appreciate it. Working on the days when I have gotten two hours sleep, and am loaded up on coffee, my job is especially hard. Someone asks me where the washrooms are, and I want to tell them that "we have no fucking facilities here-go pee in a bush". But instead, I smile sweetly and point them the right way. They then turn and walk in a completely different direction. In my fantasy world, I lunge across my desk, grab them by the neck, throw them to the floor and say "didn't you fucking hear me? I said they are that way! Here, I go out of my way to prevent your bladder from bursting, and you dismiss my advice and walk in an alternative direction? Are you a complete moron? What the hell is your problem?" I then beat them senseless and walk back to my desk as though nothing out of the ordinary has occurred. But this never happens of course, because I need the money. So I just sigh and sit back at my computer.

Of course, then there are the people who REALLY try my patience. They walk up to my desk, with its big sign proclaiming "INFORMATION BOOTH", and ask: "excuse me dear, is this the information desk?" Well, what the hell do you think that sign says, lady? Can you read, or do you have the brain equivalent to that of a two year old? "Yes ma'am, we are". I pause, eagerly anticipating her next question. (Well, not really eagerly, I just have to look that way). She then looks at me and says, "Oh, I just wondered." As she turns and walks away, I have to restrain myself from charging at her with my letter opener. Seeing her blood splatter all over the over-shined marble floor, however, would be of little compensation.

Next come the strollers, which are my favourite. As a free service (promotion time-come to my mall!), we provide shoppers with strollers. They come up to our desk, leave a piece of identification (which I quickly make copies of-just kidding all you paranoid parents out there!), and we give them a key for their stroller. It is locked up about ten or twenty feet from my desk. Now this is where people get confused. Would one not assume that they unlock the stroller themselves, therefore they must lock it back up before returning the key? You would think so. But no, the lazy asses leave the stroller in front of my desk-they can't walk ten feet-and hand me the key. When I inform them they must lock up the stroller, they give me a confused look. Now, maybe it's just me-after all, I have graduated from kindergarten- but I don't find this a hard concept to grasp. But for some reason, these people do. Sigh! Sometimes I think they are the ones who need the strollers, and I would like to bash their skull in with one until the cheap yellow plastic breaks (which wouldn't be very long, come to think of it.).

And then there are the people on the phone. Now, it's a lot simpler to sound sweet than to look it, so I have an easier time answering the phone than speaking to people in person. Also, I can put people on hold. Now there's an incredible power to have over someone."I'm sorry, sir, but I don't feel like dealing with your shit right now, can I put you on hold?" They then get to sit and listen to cheesy easy listening music for as long as I'd like to torture them. As their ears bleed to Michael Bolton's highest pitch in "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You", and Kenny G holding notes only dogs can hear for 50 minutes at a time, I surf the net or flip through a magazine, enjoying every moment. When I am ready, I can pick up the phone and say, "sir, I'm SOOOOOOOOO sorry about the wait. What was your question?" Too bad that can't be done to the hundreds of fools who come up to my desk each day and ask where the information desk is.

So, people, I implore you: Be nice to the information desks in your local mall. We deal with idiots all day, and the last thing we need is another idiot coming up to our booth. If you are pretty sure you already know the answer to your question, keep it to yourself. If you ask the question out loud and realize just how stupid it sounds, then do not take it to that lone person trapped behind the desk. Lock up the strollers when you are finished with them. And if you just want to know if we ARE an information desk, go with your gut feeling, and just assume that we are. Otherwise, "welcome to our mall, how may I help you?"