Columns

The Customer is Always Right

Rule cust

A lot of my associates and friends graduated this year, and I am still a struggling Law student dying to finally graduate; partially also because I work for a retail company, where even when a customer is very wrong – and sometimes idiotic and perhaps purposefully silly – he is presumed to be right and the contrary is not to be proven.

“Sorry, sir.  You can only get a coupon for six items, not ten.”
“O’Why?”
“Because it’s…”
“I’ve been a client for more than ten years!  You can’t tell me that!” He exclaimed before I could answer him.
“Uhm”
“Go get me the manager!”

It feels like a nightmare – or is it perhaps a day-mare? – That my first official job would be so vexing and more than often make me wish I was jobless.  I deal with retail customers which means I have to smirk at everything they say; funny or not, and sometimes I am compelled to agree and understand things that I, on any normal day, would find utterly nonsensical.

I don’t know if all this is Karma, or perhaps an eye-opener, but what frets me more is whether I have been an unwise customer myself and the retailers have never told me so  because of the old clichéd adage; ‘The Customer is Always Right.’  But even I (in my capacity as a customer) don’t like this maxim.  It feels more like what Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma would say after buying wrong items; like taking a size 9 instead of a size 6, or a recipe book instead of bed time stories.  Believe me, it happens sometimes.

They say God works in mysterious ways. And maybe he really does.  I was almost certain that I want to tell the customers that; no they are not right, and that their jokes are really not funny and that I do not appreciate their small talk, and that I don’t mind being taught, but I do mind being belittled and patronised.  But then I received a phone call from Mr. Beks.  He reminded me of appreciation and how we all have to start somewhere, and how lucky I am to be earning an income, which is much more than what I did not earn; and right then, I realised I needed these customers, for without them I would be jobless.  So yes, I will laugh at their unwitty jokes.  I will yield to the demeaning talks, and I will accept the injudicious orders; like getting separate checkout trolleys, one brought specifically for food and another one for toiletries.  Anyhoo, you know what they say; the customer is always right.

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Happiness is a Feeling, not an Option

normal_ink-typographic-art-print-because-i-m-happyBefore I get to this, let me start by saying ‘no offence’ to those who might think I’m being too harsh or, better yet, too real.  I’m bona fide writing this to spark some truth, not to defy any else theory.

“I choose to be happy”…  surely no one would choose the contrary.  In my life I have felt; happiness, normality and sadness.  Sadness has been dominant that’s for sure.  I may choose to be happy, but happiness is a feeling, it’s not an option.

When something is felt, it is not invited to be felt.  Feelings go deep; they permeate the most confined spaces, they sometimes determine your heart-beat.  Through experience, I’ve learned that you can’t force a feeling.  Feelings are like time, you can’t control them.  Life controls them.  The different plights that you find yourself in control them.

I’m scarred and wounded inside; I will never heal, well not anytime soon.  It feels like the world has spat on me and banned me from happiness: all the dirt, the sorrows and fears?  They are too much.  I did not choose this foul feeling, it chose me.   You can analyse this the way you want, you can wear my sneakers and walk on them: you still wouldn’t feel how I feel.  You still wouldn’t feel the anguish in me because of all the suicidal thoughts, you still wouldn’t look at people and make an almost accurate assessment of them, you still wouldn’t look into someone’s eyes and see their pain, which like flu ends up being contagious and spill on me.  You still wouldn’t smell the scent of despair in this most filthy air that we breathe.

How do I choose happiness if I’m not even close to being happy?  Do I seek counselling? ‘BUT WAIT UP!’ How will it help? By telling me to stay positive and that, things will work out fine?  Tell that to the mentally retarded, tell that to those who are less motivated and gave up on life, tell that to those who are emotionally beyond repair…. those who have disfigured hearts, which bleed out and beat to an off tune heartbeat.  Yes tell that to those people and then weigh out your success in thus doing.

Therapy won’t work on me.  Just like rehabs don’t completely work on heavy addicts.  To regain happiness, I would have to be happy for more than I was anguished, I would have to be overwhelmed by complete joy.   To conclude my point: being happy and choosing to be happy, it’s two different things, they vary.  If I choose to be happy, it would only be pretence, deep down?  I wouldn’t be happy.   The pretence would be to convince and console myself that things are on track and that this is just a minor hiccup… tell me now, who would be fooling who?

This was inspired by those whose eyes show me raw torment…  They chose to be happy, but they aren’t.  Don’t choose happiness, seek for happiness, don’t pretend to be happy, it makes it worse.   It’s like a hidden wound that unbearably itches and you constantly scratch it with your finger nails and lie to yourself that it will heal if you keep on scratching it.  NO! It will only bleed and it will not heal until you start acknowledging its existence and treating it like a wound. If being happy was an option, which sane person would be sad?

The Tainted soul of “Jack the Ripper” in me!

6887781269_a93dfa9a7a_zI was thinking of Joan Grant and others today. All about how they have purported to have been alive before and how they actually remember their past lives, it was fascinating to read about them. At that point I also tried to rewind back to my ‘before life’, but the tape was blank.

I couldn’t remember who I could have possibly been, but I created what I thought would be the perfect ‘bygone’ for me anyway, “Perhaps a president?” I said. “Yes maybe I was a president or a king, anything but a good leader that was assassinated for being good.” I convincingly thought, “Getting killed for being good has to be an honour.”

But No! Not at this precise moment! That’s not the reason why I thought of the before life mystery. A different sensation had triggered this unsolicited thought this time. My brains seemed to have been in an argument, with no side willing to listen to the other: It was like the time I found myself in the cacophony of different genres of music, one side was banging Swedish House music and the other was banging and preaching Gospel music, it was weird. I could hear both sides, but both sides couldn’t hear each other. I thought maybe that’s what happens when arguments burst; one wants their opinions to supersede others’ without listening to them. My brain’s left hemisphere was protesting that I was a Good leader, while the right was objecting, saying; “No dice! You sir, you were a terrible guy.”

The right hemisphere won the quarrel: the façade of my neat image was going to hell in a hand-basket,  I was not a martyr this time. I thought maybe I was alive as a vicious guy, that was convicted of committing multiple murders and sentenced to death and while awaiting my execution, I committed suicide in my cell; after having served half a week and now it was time to account for my sadistic conduct that had tormented dozens of people. “Oh yeah it’s probable! This is my sentence” I muttered to myself with a deep sense of fret “I must serve it; my soul is as tainted as of any serial killer: It is my turn to suffer.”

I thus focused my attention on the bad guys, only murderers though. I for some reason find serial killers fascinating, apart from their imprudent blunders.   I don’t know why, but I find them fascinating; one of the reasons that made me think I may have been one. Not just a murderer, a serial killer.

I managed to come up with a few bad guys, but ‘The Zodiac Killer’ and ‘Jack the Ripper’ caught my attention. I however chose the Ripper. I like the Ripper. I tried to provide circumstantial evidence that would back up my allegation that I may have been him:

  1. I like England
  2. I think Jack Ripper was the best Serial killer
  3. I know he was never punished for his crimes and
  4. I sometimes feel as if I know him personally.

“Maybe I’m the Ripper” I said, whilst reminiscing about how life punishes me sometimes, “I’m the one supposed to serve his Life Sentence: his soul had chosen me.”

My Friendly Natter-Mate

spongebob-and-pat-patrick-star-spongebob-25227997-500-653I saw someone who looked like my high school friend Jack (Not his real name) today.  I was riding in a bus and he was walking towards the opposite direction.  I had not seen him ever since we graduated high school.  On our last day: Back then there was a popular custom that only  12th Graders practised; They would have their school shirts written with ‘Good luck’ words by their fellow mates and sometimes teachers as a form of a farewell (I don’t know if learners still do that), that was the last time I saw Jack.  It has been five long years since I last saw him; you can imagine the excitement I was feeling seeing my old friend.  We met in 8th Grade after I was harshly commanded by my class teacher to sit in front and share the same desk with her, because I was apparently a noise maker.  After a few weeks however, I began to think that the reason I was summoned to the teacher’s desk was to help with her business: selling her chocolate biscuits.  “Or maybe she likes me; maybe I look like her son.” I’d mutter to Jack and we’d both laugh.

Jack sat near the teacher’s desk, so it was easier to chat to him more than anyone else in the classroom; we became regular chat mates.  He was almost a year younger than I was, but he was taller and had a bold voice, I think given five years, his voice would have resembled Barry White’s.  We were both keen on chatting to each other, he was as talkative as I was, he in fact had tons of fascinating stories about where he was from; some of which I secretly declared to be lies in my cranium.  But I thought some were true.

He was a gamer.  A vigorous gamer, and he was better at board games than I were, thus our conversations were almost always about games.  I actually didn’t play much of games.  I would just listen as he told me all about his favourite games and game characters, how he had outplayed all of his challengers and how he had successfully reached the final stage of all the games he had played.  I on the other hand, was into rap music, so we would occasionally switch lanes to rap, he probably called me ‘Stan’ in his head: I always had a new thing to say about Eminem.  I told him I had listened to every song by Slim, I doubt he believed me: At some instances he would just furrow his forehead and open his eyes wide, -like Chris Rock does in his stand up comedy shows- while nodding unconvincingly. I thought perhaps that’s how I also looked like when he was telling me about some of his tales.

I was about to reach out with enthusiasm and call out his name, but then right before I could, it hit me that he had passed-on, ‘remember?’ a voice in my head reminded me.  My jaw hit hard on the concrete floor.  My day instantly became gloomy, just like it does in horror movies when the tornado suddenly approaches in wrath.  It was not Jack!  Jack breathed his last breath the previous year in a rather gruesome way, he was stabbed to death.

I felt ashamed that I had mistook him for someone else, I felt as if he was watching me from high above and shaking his head in disbelief that I forgot about him. “How could I have forgotten” I obliviously whispered, or so I thought I did until the old lady beside me spoke back at me:

“did you say something?” she said moving her head towards me “I am a little deaf you see.”
“oh sorry, I was probably just thinking out loud” I told her.
“Hey, you ought to speak up louder” she said, using hand gestures to emphasize what she was saying this time.
“I said …”
“Yea, yea I heard you.  You’re too young to think out loud.”
I shrugged my shoulders as if saying “oh well, maybe”
“Want to talk about it?” she asked.
I shook my head, lest my voice wouldn’t be loud enough and then I pretended to be receiving a phone call, all the while hoping that my phone wouldn’t actually ring.  It wasn’t long, the old lady got to her destination and I removed the phone off my ear.

I watched her closely as she was getting off, “oh these knees can’t take it any longer” she complained whilst fighting to keep her balance, it took her a bit longer than it would take a normal person to get off, but she finally got off and bid me goodbye: “stay well son” she waved and I waved back with a relief smile.  Maybe Jack was speaking to me through her a thought crossed my mind, ‘or maybe not’ I chose to believe: No more chat-mates for me.

I mused-over about all the mirthful times I had with Jack for the rest of the day.   He was a great kid whose life had been taken too soon.  I never got to attend my natter mate’s funeral and pay my last respects, but I hope he is resting in peace.

I still don’t know the details of his untimely death on what really ensued.  Different tales were told and I haven’t heard of any progress ever since.
With great anticipation and melancholy: I hope we will have a chat about it in the afterlife.
So long mate.

Letter to the God

Religious-Symbols-II1Dear God;

Before you put this aside, note this is not one of the melancholy letters/prayers you receive every day.

It is very difficult to contact you. I have been trying for so many years with no success. I don’t know what to ask for. It seems everyone who asks from you asks for the same thing. Thus I will try to avoid those requests. lest I become too corny and too monotonous; this is a randomly different and probably weird letter. The getting to know you kind of letter, but it is sad that even after this letter, I will still know you only through diverse religious references. Oh! And speaking of references, which ones are true and which ones are not? They really conflict and contravene each other’s principles.

As a young man who was born more than centuries AD, it is mind baffling to decide; which reference is more real than the other. They are all convincing. They all make sense somehow, but the problem…the problem is the God they lead you to: Different Gods, Many Gods.   Please show yourself upon us

I have one request, however. Only one: could you please convey happiness, yes completely pure blithe to everyone on earth? The agony of this world scars me. I don’t know why, but it hurts me. I am willing to sacrifice my happiness if it means having everyone in the world happy.  With all the wars and the killings of innocent people around the world, only you can save us and bring us to peace.

I know I will be bombarded. I will be judged and tortured and perhaps sombrely abhorred by some of those who might come across this letter. The most dreadful and disheartening censures will inundate my restricted brain and heart.
Anyhow, with great awe, I hope you will reply, God of all. Looking forward to hearing from you.

OH And! Where do I post this to? Remember those references?   Which one do I choose? I Guess I will send it to all those references’ address, and patiently await your reply.

Sincerely yours: Your bewildered and lost soul.

 

Okay, Okay, now this is just a friendly letter. I really don’t have a say when it comes to religion, thus, with all due respect, this letter is not trying to cause any conflict or is it projected to cause harm to a certain group. No offence intended whatsoever. Feel free to base your opinion, who knows? You might send me the right address.

People Desensitise You

love_and_hate_by_elzecho-d5yfb2jThe different people we meet and stay with desensitise us! I am quite convinced that we were all born loving. But where does the hatred and bitterness come from? Surely it’s the people around us; They bend us whilst we are still green and fail to make us straight when we have already turned brown: it all takes just one mistake and then we break and never again able to mend the broken pieces, we are forever broken. It’s a vicious cycle, my generation will pass on the baton to the next, as human beings, we are stuck with this odium.

They say a priest doesn’t give birth to a priest: this is clear indication that you don’t become a thug because your parent is a thug, our parents’ state doesn’t align our brains, except what aligns our brains and actions is the way we were all raised, the way they spoke to us and their attitudes towards raising us.

I once read about Hitler, the villain. Apparently he was a dedicated kid growing up and his dad had a managerial position at work and he was always blowing his own trumpet about it, he was pompous, even to his son, Adolph Hitler. He applied pressure on young Hitler, he subliminally made him a monster and broke his heart until he was heartless. Guard how you talk and what you say to your young ones. Children’s hearts and brains are fragile and they easily adapt to a habit.

You may think you are making them quit bad habits or improve by comparing them to someone they know. Let me tell you this: you are actually breaking them. You are making them hostile. You are making them suicidal. I think a number of suicides committed are because of parents who never praise, but belittle their children, parents who paint ‘failure’ as the dead-end. Your child will be beaten by depression and anxiety: What will they say of my failure? They’ll tell me I should have been like my cousin. They will compare me to every good character and break mine. No! they won’t encourage me and console me that, things will be fine. They will thrash me internally, my emotions are already bleeding, and right now I would prefer rather a physical hiding than a verbal whip.   I know someone and I once read about teenagers whom committed suicide because they failed the 12th grade.

Be careful what you say, it might end a life or enhance the desire to end a life, whether figuratively or literally.

I’m Sorry, but it’s My First Day!

dog-memes-being-a-concreter-is-not-easy-work-for-a-labrador

The unfortunate shopping day of my first customers…

I started what I suppose is my first Job today at a retail shop as a packer, “Merchandiser” as they call it. And quite frankly, I have never felt so useless before, actually saying ‘useless’ is an understatement. I was beyond useless, utterly of no help. As though shopping had been left on the hands of a packer, everyone asked me where that was and how much that was and all I could do was to shrug my shoulders in shame and politely say “I’m sorry, but it’s my first day today”.

Surprisingly though, most customers, if not all, were kind to me and they welcomed me with warm smiles. “Oh welcome son!” beamingly said a man that was shopping with his daughter, for some odd reason I’m glad she was also smiling and laughing as I helplessly stood in front of them.

“Hahaha so we’re basically the same, No problem buddy” said another, an old couple this time, I was almost sad I couldn’t help them. In fact I was sad I couldn’t help anyone that had been on my aisle. “How sad and disappointing” I muttered to myself, “They come here looking for something and if they can’t find it, they look around and to their relief they see me: Hey look! A super-hero! Except I am no hero to them” Ahhh, but alas, I’m part of them, we are going down the same drain!

As I was busy working; I wondered if the supervisor was occasionally stealing a look at me. Seeing me being unable to help these poor shoppers and shaking his head. “This is not good for business” I imagined him saying to other experienced workers, who were sometimes mean on me and pompous in showing me how the job was done. I felt like a “Fresh man” again, this time at the workplace.

However though, on the lighter note: no matter how my day had gone through, there’s actually a few that I helped, but not as many as those I couldn’t help, no matter how hard I tried. God knows I tried. Hopefully my second day will not be as viciously attacking. So here, cheers to my first day of real time job…. “CHEERS!”