Contributed by Kira Seabolt, July 11, 2016
I stopped into Whole Foods, as I do most days, to pick up a few items for dinner. Recently, due to their much-needed renovations, it’s been more of an adventure: figuring out through which door to enter and exit and every day things are not where they were yesterday. Yes, it’s a hot mess there right now, but when all is done, all will be well again.
As I walked passed the customer service desk, this 40-ish year old man in tennis whites is berating the young woman working the cashier. Loudly and rudely, “You shouldn’t be working customer service if you can’t figure out the cash register!” This is just one of the comments he made. I am shocked. I do not like confrontation and believe I am genuinely a nice person, so I am at a loss as what to do. I circle around in an attempt to somehow intervene and protect her. I wanted to say, “Don’t you speak to this girl that way!” and then whisk her away from this horrible man. He would have probably spewed his vitriol at me as well, since at the end of the day, a bully is a bully.
As he demands to see the manager, “Manager, get me the manager!” she, in tears, goes to look for him or her. I followed her instead to make sure she was ok, but all day yesterday and today, I wish I had the courage to step up and do the right thing.
Why do people feel they can treat other people this way? Those who help us every day; they get up, go to work, happily make our coffee, bag our groceries, or help us find us find our organic, gluten-free, mango chips imported from New Zealand, or whatever, and do so with grace and a smile. Not once have I ever seen an employee at Whole Foods ever be anything but kind and helpful.
We complain about our youth, that they are spoiled and entitled. Many are bullies. This is learned behavior from those closest to them.
Next time, I will have the courage to step up and say something. It costs nothing to be kind: a simple smile, a “Hello”, “Have a nice day”, or a “Thank You”. Basic civilities can make someone’s day brighter.
This man ruined that girl’s day, he ruined mine. Maybe the renovations were too overwhelming for him, or maybe he just lost a big tennis match. Whatever is going on in his life, there is no excuse for his behavior. A bully is a bully, even in tennis whites.