I recently took a part-time job with a corporate-managed retail store. This is my first foray into the retail environment. The pay is low, staffing is sparse and the hours fluctuate weekly depending on the bottom line, but I knew that going in so that was not a major problem for me.

What I was appalled to learn was the way some customers treat the service employees who work so hard to help with multiple, consecutive and sometimes complicated inquires and requests.

I have learned that there is a small, but very vocal, sector of consumers I call the “entitled” customers. These entitled customers forget the importance of civility in human interactions. They believe that their needs come first in every situation. The entitled customers, like misbehaving children, have angry tantrums in public if they perceive that they are not be catered to exclusively; they threaten and belittle. They tend to scapegoat the powerless with their hostility. In my opinion, the entitled behavior is actually abuse couched in consumer indignation.

I believe that people are capable of enlightenment and change. My hope is that these entitled people may have a moment of clarity and realize that by treating other human beings in such an undignified way, they contribute to a culture of hostility.

One place to start positive change is to practice cultivating kindness, especially toward the service workers who endeavor to assist you every day.

Ann Longley

Waterville


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