(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Rickter Scale: ‘Twas the night before mayhem

The Rickter Scale is a regular column

It’s that loving, warm and fuzzy festive time of the year where folks in the service industry prepare to have a new one torn by clients, customers and curiosity seekers.

For many normally polite shoppers, the level of vitriol they unleash on store staff for not having the right size, colour or quirky request available is directly linked to the length of the lineup in front of them.

While that person ahead of you who has no idea what they want to purchase for that annoying niece or nephew is often the cause of your ire, it’s the poor soul serving you who winds up getting both barrels in the face.

So, on behalf of every bleary-eyed clerk, sales associate and cashier in every mall or store tasked with serving John and Joanne Q. Public, here are a few suggestions for the paying customer that may make the experience more palatable for all parties.

While you’re going from a slow simmer to full boil cursing the sound system for inflicting Jingle Bells on you for the umpteenth time that day, remind yourself that the people who work there have to endure those nausea-inducing holiday favourites on an endless loop they can’t control for eight hours a day minimum.

Think about that for a moment before you go postal on someone because the online purchase you’re picking up got lost in the Amazon jungle shuffle, or wound up walking out the door with someone else.

READ MORE: Rickter Scale

Show a little courtesy to other shoppers as well, even if you’re wound up tighter than a 10-pound turkey trying to hold 12 pounds of stuffing.

And have that credit card or cash ready when you finally sidle up to the register instead of making those behind you wait while you conduct a full body search.

Sure, this sounds easier to suggest than actually put into practice during the holiday crush.

And I’ve had my share of memorable meltdowns when another example of why customer service is going the way of the dodo bird reared its ugly head in aisle three.

A personal favourite Christmas story has its origin in the time I spent doing follow-ups on mischief files for the West Shore RCMP.

Someone on a quiet cul de sac happened to look out their window at two in the morning just in time to see a pickup slam on the brakes outside a neighbour’s house.

The driver jumped out and proceeded to attack a giant inflatable Santa and two snowmen with a hammer until their lifeless forms lay limp across the lawn.

When you find yourself on the brink, try to remember that we’re all in this together.

Maybe if we extend a little compassion and grace to those around us, we just might manage to get through the shopping season intact and unscathed.

And perhaps, in the process, avoid the added burden of having to hire a lawyer for a court appearance. Like the one you could have avoided if you hadn’t autographed the hood of the car that cut you off in the parking lot with a U and an F, but not in that order.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Esquimalt arsonist sentenced to two years in jail, thanks police, defence lawyer and taxpayers

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

West Shore parenting program tackles stigmas around raising teenagers

‘Many teens don’t feel like their parents have confidence in them,” says program coordinator

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Strong winds expected in Greater Victoria Friday evening

Winds are expected to ease Saturday morning

Three Saanich councillors ask for $2-M investment into District road safety

‘I don’t want roads to be safer in 30 years, I want them safer now,’ says Coun. Ned Taylor

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

SOOKE HISTORY: Remembering Salvatore (Sam) Pasta

Salvatore (Sam) Pasta lived life to the fullest

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Most Read