I work as a CSR for a grocery chain, dealing with problem in the company branded products. Your peanut butter runny? Call me. Do you want to know if there is gluten in your 100% whole wheat bread? Call me.
Yesterday, due to Thanksgiving here in the states, work was stupidly busy. Most calls were about lifespan of food, how to cook something, can you defrost a 22 pound turkey in 24 hours. Normal stuff.
Then Random Lady calls in. She bought some yogurt that was accidentally frozen at the store. She kept laughing about how absurd it was. Then she told me that the container somehow fell/hit her causing her to have a black eye.
RL then says that she goes to the hospital a lot and they asked her if she was being abused. She tells them no and that her black eye was from yogurt.
At this point, my mood had steadily grown blacker because RL was not giving me the info I needed to help her. I was also dealing with stomach cramps due to eating cream in my dinner the night before that I didn’t realize was there (I’m lactose intolerant).
After getting a random bit of info out of her, she tells me she is anorexic.
After some more general conversation, she tells me she’s dying.
By this point, I had already helped her and was just mostly listening to her prattle on. I was now paying attention. She then asks me if I want to hear a joke.
RL: What’s Smokey the Bear’s middle name?
Me: I don’t know.
RL: It’s “the”.
After that, we laughed and she got off the phone. I sat at my desk and cried. Her casualness about dying had just struck me as amazing. It helped me not be in my head for a moment and be grateful for my life.
I hate this time of year. I did 15 years in retail and now 3 years in call centers. People are crass, attention seeking, petty, selfish, and assholes this time of year. Every year, I struggle just getting through the holidays.
This woman helped me in ways she will never know.
Happy holidays folks.