Having been in a career that has consisted of mostly customer service, I have had the opportunity (actually, misfortune) of working with (and serving) people from all kinds of backgrounds. I have always been shy, and events in my teen years gave me a rather bleak outlook on life when it came to other people (I begun to see that most are not good, but are instead self serving, no matter the cost).
But though I went out with low expectations, I can say that peoples ignorance and nastiness not only lived up to my “expectations”, but surpassed them. Anyone who has worked with the public for any length of time, can probably share a hundred similar (or worse) stories as mine.Whether its ignorance, laziness or flat out stupidity (or a combination of any of the 3), you come across a lot when you work with the public. The unthinkable to most, is just another part of the job (the part that is conveniently never in the job ad, on the application or mentioned in the interview).
Our society is filled with miserable, unreasonable, ignorant and clueless consumers, so engrossed in the saying “the customer is always right”, that now even abuses are now seemingly excusable. And for the most part, the service industry players do not condemn this behavior. And in some cases, the industry even punishes the victims of service sector abuse, often for simply standing up for themselves.
But this piece is not about the service industry’s treatment of its own workforce, nor is it really about abusive consumers. Its more about the arrogance enmass, that has become a fixture of life in all urbanized environments.
Almost anyone who lives in, or regularly visits (or for that matter EVER visits) a city, likely has a story of getting in the way of someone elses busy schedule, or crossing their giant ago. Whether it happened on a road way, in a store or where ever, it seems that a great many are engrossed in personal lives. Now we all have a personal life of our own that we lead. But there is a difference between just living your life, and feeling that your life is more important than all others around you, and/or living in a personal “bubble”.
When looking at the vast majority minor urban conflicts, it all boils down to this.
This is not really surprising to me though. Our society has been conditioning people to focus more on the self (then on the community) for many years, and modern reality is but a symptom of this. The fact that it is so predominant in urbanized environments is also not surprising, being the predominance of excess, and the easy lifestyles for all within the urban environment
With grids bringing in unlimited supplies of power and fresh water (and removing sewage), entities removing our solid waste, and establishments fulfilling our every want, need and desire, it leaves a glut of empty time. Time of which could be used for good things, like the advancement of sciences, education and other positive endeavorers not otherwise possible with the chores of subsistence.
But unfortunately, in modern times, this time has been used more and more, for the enrichment of self, while the true “community” aspect falls apart. It is all about ones career, ones personal bubble. We often live unsatisfactory lives of excess, surrounding ourselves with more and more “stuff”, yet never “feeling” any better. We are content to throw the majority of local businesses under the bus, so we can drive to the nearest big box retail giant and get the best deals. We do not mind if our streets are lined with corporate fast food chains, because the drive-thru fits right into our busy existences.
When a new big box shopping plaza moves to an area near you, all you hear about is the jobs. Between Big Box 1, 2 and 3 as well as spin off corporate fast food chains 1,2,3, and 4, the project will bring in 800 jobs.
A total of 800 jobs, in a community of thousands, tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of residents. Not taking into account that most of these businesses run the places with the BARE minimum required to do so, which is likely to cut into that 800. Not taking into account the millions, if not billions, that is funneled out of the communities by these predatory entities, with very little (if any) going back into the communities.
And then there is the trash footprint. From the single cups, food boxes and plastic shopping bags littered around the community, to the tens of thousands of tons of solid waste disposed of by the businesses and the residents themselves, the cost is ALL on the communities. All the trash is imported into the communities by the businesses, but the moment it leaves the restaurant counter, drive thru window or the big box parking lot, the problem is not theres.
The proceeds of these huge corporate money vacuums, go to a select few at the top of the economical and monetary food chain. They are then hoarded, or invested in ways that guarantee there continuing enrichment, even if its at the expense of us.
Meanwhile the environment gets the shit end of the equation, at every turn. And even if the ecological aspect is easy to ignore and shut out in an urban environment now (besides when mother natures decides to give a certain city the meteorological equivalent of a bitch-slap), over time, the problem will be on our, your, MY doorstep.
Living in a bubble of arrogance is not just detrimental to a community, a region. Its consequences are not just the unforeseen social problems (like bullying, racism and others). Its detrimental to mankind as a whole.