Two brats get an education in manners

  • Written by Bob Rakow


I always know when my wife has had a bad day at work. It’s all in her body language.




Such was the case last week when she came home after working an evening shift.




I asked about her day and expected to hear her complain about an especially busy shift or the store being understaffed, forcing her to take on more work than usual.




Maybe a supervisor pushed a little too hard or got especially demanding, leaving my wife a tad bit annoyed.




As it turned out, the bad night had nothing to do with bosses, co-workers workload or any of the myriad reasons that lead all of us to grumble about the job at one time or another.




No, Annette was upset—hurt is a more apt description—because of an interaction with two customers.




It doesn’t happen often, but when’s she’s mistreated for no reason by a customer, it really throws her for a loop.




The incident occurred when two high school girls came into the clothing department and moved from one display table to the next, tossing clothing every which way after looking at the merchandise.




These are displays Annette spent half the night organizing—folding one shirt after another and neatly arranging them. It’s not her favorite task, but it comes with the territory in retail.




She asked politely that they not to mess up the displays while they shopped. It soon became evident to her that they were going out of their way to do just that.




The response from one of the entitled brats: “It’s your job to straighten the displays.”




She followed that up with, “If you had a college degree, you wouldn’t have to be here.”




That, of course, was the line that sunk Annette. She’s typically more thick skinned than I. But when a perfect stranger throws down such a nasty comment, it stings a bit.




My wife does not have a college degree—a decision she regrets at times. But she’s worked incredibly hard all her life and raised three children.




Mindful that she can’t respond to a customer’s remarks or complaints no matter how nasty or unfair, she did the next best thing. She called security, and the girls were kicked out of the store.




I guess there’s some satisfaction in that.




As they walked out, they unloaded on Annette with some profanity more commonly heard from the boys in the "Sons of Anarchy" television series, including a term that’s widely known as the worst word to call a woman.




All class.




Sort of makes you wonder who modeled the behavior for them. Who told them that people who work in retail, food and other service industries are essentially “the help” and should be treated accordingly?




Who filled their heads with the mush that says that folks should be measured by the level of education they’ve achieved?




These girls were, of course, were embarrassed and, by extension angry. They pushed the “uneducated” retail worker a little too hard, and she responded without saying a word. She got the last word, though.




SUBHEAD -- A nice crowd, by George




I attended the Chicago Ridge Worth Chamber of Commerce lunch last week and the happiest guy in the room was undoubtedly Chicago Ridge Clerk George Schleyer.




The purpose of the luncheon was to hear Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar and Worth Mayor Mary Werner talk about the progress that occurred in their communities over the past year.




The thing is, the two mayors could have been speaking to a very sparse crowd were it not for Schleyer, who deserves much of the credit for re-energizing the chamber.




Schleyer surveyed the banquet room at Jenny’s Steakhouse last week, quite pleased with number of businesspeople and community leaders in attendance.




The chamber went through some tough times a few years ago when the recession hit. Folks were singularly focused on keeping their businesses above water and didn’t have time for chamber events, much less associated costs, Schleyer said. Before long, membership was suffering.




Not long after he was elected clerk, Schleyer joined Worth Village Clerk Bonnie Price and a handful of others to get the chamber back on its feet. The results of their efforts were evident at the recent luncheon as well as the candidate forums the organization sponsored this week.




Mayors give the speeches, cut the ribbons and are the faces of their communities. But clerks do much of the heavy lifting, usually behind the scenes. What George Schleyer did to help rebuild the chamber is just one example.