I’m a bit of a customer service freak. I'm not after obsequious behavior, I just want a little friendliness. Or basically, do the fucking job you’re paid to do. Is that too much to ask?
I’m especially peeved by the people in service industries who are too busy to bother with you. They act as though taking care of you is SUCH a bother and a total intrusion on their time.
Lately I’ve been noticing this particular trait among a specific segment of the working populace—airport screeners. Now, I understand that we’re talking about HOMELAND SECURITY (say that outloud in a big announcer voice), but would it kill you to pay attention, at the very least.
Yesterday, we’re traveling through one of the busiest airports in the world, LAX. This is an airport that, according the Bush administration, is on all the terrorist hit lists. So, if the TSA folk were being all gruff and fugly so that they could ward off terrorists, that would be one thing. I could forgive them their brusqueness, figuring they were just rehearsing for some future role anyway.
But this was not the case. Take for example the young woman who was working baggage screening. Her specific job was to take the piece of luggage from the customer and walk it over to the screening machine. Had genetics been slightly more kind, she might be working on Deal or No Deal instead. But today, and for now, her job is simply to hand the luggage over to a higher paid union worker. She might even have a line. Something such as, “Is your bag unlocked?”
But I was not prepared to be ignored while she stood, face-to-face with me, my luggage in between us, and flirtingly chastised her co-worker for going on break and not bringing her anything back. Seriously? Uh . . . I have a plane to catch.
She takes the luggage and drags it away, the psychological weight far exceeding the baggage allowance.
I shrug it off. Unless traveling with too many pairs of shoes is a threat, I’m in the clear.
Then I arrive at the security checkpoint. I choose what appears to be the shortest, fastest-moving line. Of course, airport security is the toll booth, or bank drive-through of the new millennium, so the moment I step into the line, every other line begins moving at the speed of sound.
Finally, I’m at the x-ray machine, only to find that the conveyor has stopped. Normally this means that someone’s carry-on is undergoing a closer inspection. In this case, however, the only person in front of me was my Beloved and his bag was still on my side.
So what could have my screener so transfixed? I followed his intent stare and landed on . . . booty. That’s right, he was checking out some skank chick’s ass like she was smuggling explosives. Should I clear my throat. Ululate? Before I could decide on a course of action, he shook his head, as if shaking off her booty spell and pushed the button, whisking my things on their journey.
I couldn’t help but think, if this is our best defense, the terrorists must be some stupid motherfuckers.