“Oh…may I?”

When I was a kid, I never understood this scene from The Muppet Movie.  I never understood why the waiter (Steve Martin) was being so mean to Kermit, why the scene was supposed to be funny, or really why it existed at all.

Eventually, of course, I grew up.  I entered the workforce and have had several jobs which involve customer service in some capacity…

…And now I understand.  

I recently took a second job that once again requires me to interact directly with other human beings, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to bite my tongue to avoid imitating Steve Martin’s sarcastic, “Oh…may I?” when customers (or managers) ask/tell me to do something in a tone of voice that implies that they think they’re bestowing a great boon upon me.

I have one particular pet peeve in this regard: when customers arrive at the front register with merchandise in hand, only to hand me some of the merchandise and say, “I don’t want this; you can put it back.” 

Okay…but why did you pick it up if you don’t want it, and why have you been carrying it around the store if you were only going to put it back?

But I suppose that’s better than the people who decide they don’t want something and just leave it lying randomly about the store, without even trying to put it approximately back where they found it.

Just venting; don’t mind me.

3 thoughts on ““Oh…may I?”

    • Today a customer walked up to my register and as she was putting her purchases down she told me, “You are a brave woman,” for working retail. What I should have said–though I didn’t think of it until after she had long gone–was, “No, I am a desperate woman.”

      Though I suppose it’s possible to be both.


    • Oh, Anne Terri…today I had the rudest customers ever, and I don’t think their problem was holiday stress; I think they were just terrible people at baseline. It was a man and a woman; apparently the woman had picked up a jacket that cost $40. The man was upset at the amount of money owed and insisted that nothing they’d bought was that expensive and I must have made a mistake, and they made me go through all their bags of purchases until I found whatever it was that cost $40. Faced with irrefutable evidence that I hadn’t made a mistake, neither of them apologized to me.

      There’s more, but it would take too much explaining, and I don’t want to get into it.


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