Saturday, June 30, 2007

Embracing My Inner Asshole

Ask anyone who knows me pretty well -- Can Paully be an asshole? And they will probably laugh at your naivety. I don't think people who don't know me (or had never seen me behave in normal day-to-day activities) would have the same opinion, because I'm generally a lot more quiet, reserved, and 'neutral' with people I don't really know/have just met.

Oddly enough, even when I rally ought to be acting like an asshole to people I don't know well (i,e. rude service, poor work ethic, failure to do their job), I usually don't, because I can't be bothered, especially when it comes to my housing and furniture, which is provided by my employer. Before, if something was wrong with a furniture item or service was really shitty, if it didn't put me out or didn't bother me, I didn't make an issue out of it. I didn't care. For instance, at my old place, the light in the bathroom flickered and never worked correctly. I never mentioned anything about it, because pooping under dim conditions just didn't motivate me enough to make a phone call.

This may have to do with me generally being treated poorly by whoever/whatever I've been working for for the last, oh, 8 years. My wife would probably agree with the following assessment -- my expectations of costumer service and general living standards are pretty low.

Me not gettin'er done using my willingness to leverage, use colorful (not foul) language, and generally say what's on my mind when dealing with customer service people and/or strangers has always seemed a little strange to me. Sure, there are times where someone I don't know catches me in a bad moment and I lay it on thick, but like I said, I reserve such behavior for friends and loved ones (yeah, it's shitty isn't it?) In any case, having a wife has changed that in a few ways, because substandard customer service leads to the Wrath of Wife, which trumps any feelings of hesitation I have when dealing with these people and unleashes the military might ...which being a meanie.

So dropped by housing (you remember, the housing mafia) and asked for another chair for our dining room set and a carpet for one of our rooms. They said they'd be by sometime between 8:30 and 11:30 (yeah thanks) but that was OK, because I was taking some time off to recover from my friends' new bar opening in Shibuya. Long story short, i got home at about 7am and they showed up at about 9:30. While I didn't go overboard with the drinks, I was still tired, and when they unrolled the carpet it had a stain that only a large 4 legged animal (or a 2 legged animal with dysentery) could have produced. The three dudes rolled it out, and I immediately knew my wife would flip if she saw it. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: No.
Guy: What?
Me: Look at that stain.
Guy: *pause, looks confused* Yeah, but the description on the inventory sheet is that it's in 'good condition'.
Me: Really? Cuz the rug looks like something went to the toilet on it.
Guy: *pauses again* Does it smell?
Me: I didn't say it smells like something went to the toilet on it, I said it looks like something did. Can you not see that stain?
Guy: *considers stain for a moment*
Me: *Getting irritated* Get it outta here.
So the guy did what I knew he'd do, and called up his supervisor. This always happens in Japan, as opposed to what I'm used to, which would be a supervisor telling someone to 'figure it out' and not bother them with bullshit. I go through a pattern of initially feeling sorry for the supervisor I'm talking to (because I can tell it's some tiny Japanese woman) and then getting pissed off them 2 or 3 minutes into the conversation. Here's how the conversation went:

Her: What's the problem?
Me: There's a huge stain on the carpet and I don't want it in my house.
Her: Is it bad?
Me: It looks like something went to the bathroom on the carpet. It's big.
Her: What?
Me: It looks like something went to the toilet on the carpet.
Her: What do you mean?
Me: (this is the transition from feeling bad to anger) It. Looks. Like. Something. Took. A. Shit. On. The. Carpet. Maybe. An. Animal. Or. A. Human.
Her: Does it smell?
Me: Whether it smells is neither here nor there. I don't want it here because it looks bad.
Her: All of our carpets have stains on them.
Me: The one in my living room is the exact same and it doesn't.
Her: OK, we can bring another carpet by sometime in the afternoon.
Me: Sometime in the afternoon?
Her: Yes, sometime after 12:30.

This is anger time. In order to get a carpet without a huge shit stain on it, I have to potentially hang out at my place all day, which was a no-go, cuz my wife had to go to the dentist.

Her: Why don't you come by and make another appointment for next week.

I did something now that I usually don't do, in fact I don't think I've ever actually said it, because it's usually invoked under such obnoxious circumstances:

Me: Who's the customer here? Why does it seem like I'm servicing you guys or that I'm working at your pleasure or convenience?

I was about to go on a full blown tirade, but she interrupted me and asked me to give the workman the phone. They chatted, he left, and they were back 10 minutes later with a new damn carpet. 10 minutes!!!! That's it, lickity split!

Instead of just going and getting a different carpet, or woe hold on, just not giving me a shitstained carpet to begin with, they took a perfectly good ruined morning and made it even worse. They wanted me to wait a couple days, or sacrifice an entire day to accommodate their shitty customer service.

A lot of people say stuff like, "Well, what can you do? They're in charge." If it weren't for the fact that my wife's expectation levels are much higher than my own, I'd probably say the same thing. But in holding these people accountable for providing good service, I've discovered that they're in charge and call the shots because they're empowered by people who are intimidated by them or don't care enough to ask them difficult questions.

So yeah. Join me in finding the fine line between getting the service you rate but still not be a complete asswipe. Make it humorous for those around you, or if nothing else, make it bloggable, unlike this piece of tripe of a post. Sheeit.


Blogger cyberninja said...

Ha ha. That's pretty funny, and true. Once you're married your "Aw fuck it, I don't care" resistance-to-raising-a-fuss threshold drops considerably, and you actually start holding folks accountable for their idiocy because you know The Wife will hold you accountable for their idiocy as well.

Just watch out if you have kids. That's when a man's resistance meter can drop below 0 and they complain about every little thing in the world:

"Little Billy didn't get as big a scoop of ice cream as the previous kid! I demand more ice cream for my screaming child!"

"Coach, Little Billy should be a starting forward on the soccer team. I don't care if he can't run 10 yards without gasping for air. He's big-boned! Don't discriminate against us!"

"You apologize for yelling at little Billy! He doesn't deserve that just for stealing your wallet! You probably don't have any money anyway!"

4:48 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

yeah, i was thinking that it's funny how holding people accountable for things that they may or may not have control over (and your overlord not being particularly concerned either way) is something that a man finds in the military and in married life. you even start noticing things that wouldnt normally bother you and proactively solving problems with a sense of urgency even it doesn't particularly bother you at all. yipes.

and yeah, im gonna be a mess when i have a kid. "Oh, did that kid pull your hair? Where's his dad. This ends here." (make a scene at the school sports day)

11:35 AM  
Blogger Hammer said...

Nicely handled, good sir. Poopstain is poopstain, no matter how much Febreze you spray on it.

2:43 PM  
Blogger cyberninja said...

(make a scene at the school sports day)

That reminds me of that South Park episode about the Little League tournament, where Stan's dad only goes to get in fights with the other dads and get thrown out. That episode is really funny.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Hammer said...

Yeah, that was a good episode. Too bad you can't pull the "Oh, I'm sorry! I thought this was America!" line in Japan.

3:47 AM  
Blogger A Unique Alias said...

Yes, Paully, but how did it smell? Did you press your nose into the fibers? Please, we'll wait. No, really, have a whiff of the poostain. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...

I'm glad you're embracing your inner asshole, Paul. Maybe now you can stop publicly fondling your outer one.

2:26 AM  

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