I recently signed up with a temp agency. My goals were twofold:
- To make money (obviously).
- To expose myself to different situations that I would never find myself in regularly (which I could then use as fodder for my writing).
I succeeded wildly on both accounts.
This past week, I worked 9-5 for a telecommunications company. They had a booth set up at my local university. My job was to hand out magnets and try to convince people to sign up for internet. First of all, let me say that, despite the fact that my legs felt like they were going to fall off each night, I had a really great time. The two girls I worked with were bubbly and super friendly, and my manager was just a genuinely awesome human being. Despite the fact that all three of us magnet-pushers were temp workers, he treated us like valued employees, and gave us a great little bonus at the end of the week.
As for the magnet-pushing itself … talk about fascinating. I got to come into close contact with every range of the human spectrum. It’s really interesting to see how different people reacted when offered the free magnets. The coolest part was that the people I expected to react a certain way often did the total opposite.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the reactions I got when I extended a magnet, smiled, and said, “Would you like a magnet?”
- No, thanks.
- I already have one.
- I don’t need one.
- Sweet! I’ll put this on my fridge.
- I have about 20. Sure, I’ll take more.
- **totally ignores my existence**
- Uh … what is it? No, no, I don’t need that.
- **politely declines in foreign language**
- **shies away from me, travelling a meter in the wrong direction and nearly crashing into other passersby**
- I already have internet.
- **pretends to take out cell phone to avoid eye contact**
- **polite wave of hand to indicate no**
- No, but I’ll take one of those pens.
- Sorry, I have no hands. (or “Sorry, my hands are full”)
- **glares and stalks off**
- **glances up, then ignores me and walks away**
- **stops mid-stride, stares at the magnet, then backs away, nearly crashing into other passersby**
That’s just a small sampling, of course. It astonished me how many ways people could come up with to say “No”. The most fun for me was when they went out of their way to skirt around me, and nearly crashed into other people as a result. What did they think I would do, jump at them if they came too close? Bite at their nose? Grab them and force them to sign-up at magnet-point? Is a magnet even a viable weapon?
I also had a fun encounter with an older lady. When I offered her a magnet, she took one look at the company name, then flipped her proverbial s**t. She started shouting about how the company was useless, and how they screwed her and her son over, and how she’ll never buy from them again, etc. My co-worker came over to help me deal with her, and had to ask the woman to stop shouting and leave several times before the woman stormed off. I’ve worked in customer service a few times before, but fortunately I’ve never encountered the bats**t insane customer type before. It was annoying at the time, but I find it really amusing in retrospect. And it taught me a valuable lesson, which I will now impart to you all below:
If you want to rant at someone, check first to see if they’re a minimum wage employee. If they are, ask for a manager. The minimum wage employee can do absolutely nothing to help you, other than have their day ruined by you. And remember that, when complaining, the manager will go out of their way to be unhelpful if you’re acting like a raving psychopath.
Since my WordPress friends are all intelligent, rational individuals, I’m sure this lesson doesn’t apply to you. Still, I feel it had to be said, even if just to remind us all that minimum wage employees have to put up with a lot of unpleasant things for very little compensation.
To wrap things up, my first stint as a temp employee went really well. I met some fascinating characters who will undoubtedly be showing up in my future books. And I have a nice paycheck from the telecommunications company that will mostly go to paying my telecommunications bill. Would that be considered ironic? I can never tell.
Thought-provoking link of the day:
Random Internet Awesomeness of the day:
This one takes me back. Ahh, good times. Warning: the F-word is used in this video.