posted Fri, 29 Dec 2006
How well do you have to know someone to feel comfortable nudging her out of the way without saying “excuse me?” You know what I mean – when someone – say me – is standing in front of a drawer and someone else – let’s call her “Margaret” – wants to open that drawer and merely slaps the back of her right hand against my hip, much as one would do to a horse, to get me to move, all without saying a word.
Is this something one does only with one’s family and closest friends? Or can the silent nudge be done with relative strangers?
I have been trying to think of how I do this, for I, of course, am the paragon of all virtue and the way I do things is the model of perfection.
I think I say “excuse me,” even to my family and friends. I don’t think I do the silent nudge. I know I say “excuse me” to SH. Actually, I say, “excuse me, sweetie,” to him, but I say “excuse me” to everyone else.
Why this concern, you ask? Well, I was nudged today. And it bugged me.
I had to work in Dresses (you don’t want to work in Dresses two days before New Year’s Eve – trust me on this) because The Store is short staffed because a bunch of the seasonal help has decided that working at The Store is not for them so they have stopped showing up for work without as much as a go to heck, which really, is good for me because I can get more hours, but it means I have to leave Ralph Lauren, Anne Klein, Jones New York and Tahari to go to nasty departments where people pee in the dressing rooms. (Although why this happens in a department where you would spend a couple hundred dollars on a dress I do not know and maybe it happens in the other dressing rooms, too, and I just didn’t know about it.)
So I was stuck in Dresses today. For the first four hours, I was all by myself, which means I didn’t get to put away any of the clothes that were piling up because I was too busy ringing up customers and taking their returns. (Hello! Return news! 1. Once you cut the tags off an evening gown, you can’t return it! 2. If you want to return a $49 blouse that reeks of cigarette smoke, that’s bad enough, but when you try to return a $975 fur stole – Dresses is next to Furs – that smells like it spent a week on the floor of a pool hall, that’s just tacky.)
Then Margaret showed up. Margaret is the regular Dresses (and Suits and Dana Buchman, Calvin Klein and Kenneth Cole) person. Whew! What a relief! Someone who knows where things go and how things work in the department. I was ringing up a customer when she appeared, but as soon as I had a chance, I found her – she was putting away an armful of Dana Buchman – and introduced myself.
“Hi! I’m Class Factotum,” I said as I stuck out my hand. “They asked me to work over here today. I usually work in Lauren.”
She just looked at me as I waited for the traditional response of, “I’m Margaret. Glad to have the help” or something like that. Nothing. She said nothing. Ohh kayyyy.
Oh. Did I mention she reeked of smelly perfume? I’m not liking this lady.
So then we are both ringing customers and it’s busy and I’m in front of my register and I feel something hit my hip and I realize it’s her hand and I step aside because I know what she wants – she wants me to move – but even as I am moving I am thinking, “I cannot believe she just did that! She didn’t even say, ‘excuse me!’ This lady is pure-D rude! I can’t believe I moved for her. How pathetic am I to enable her bad manners!”
So. Is it me or is it rude to hit someone you don’t know to get her to move? I think it’s rude but I’d like some perspective.
The end of the line
11 months ago