My own humanity kills me sometimes.
Case in point: the Target gift card hotline. Now you’d think that if I’d been given a faulty gift card for Christmas, that my attitude toward the customer service reps would one of pure mercy – after all, it’s their call or not whether I’ll get a replacement card in the mail.
But instead, there’s this evil thing that sometimes happens to me when I call a 1-800 number: I go corporate on them.
“Let me speak to your manager.”
“No, listen to me: this is what I want, and I want it now.”
“Are you even listening to what I’m saying?”
And I begin to talk over their scripted answer, wrestling my way into dominating the conversation until I get my way. Seriously, am I three?
It happened again last week: I’d attempted to use a Target gift card over New Year’s, but it was rejected. Come to find out, the checker at Safeway (where the card was purchased) lifted the number and redeemed it the day after purchase – I mean, it’s brilliant if you want 50 free dollars at your local Target, but lousy if you’re the recipient of said gift card. Nonetheless, I was determined to redeem the gift I’d been given.
I kindly explained to the rep on the phone my situation, and he kindly gave me hope that $50 might still come my way, though I still had to be transferred to his supervisor. And that’s when all hell broke loose: she told me I had to have an activation code receipt and I asked her to be gentle.
“You’re yelling at me!”
“Ma’am, I’m not yelling at you, I’m explaining to you-”
“Please! Be gentle to me!”
Gentle? That’s what I say to Canon when he’s pulling my hair, and the kid’s not even 6-months old yet.
I huffily hung up, proceeded to call Safeway and find what I needed, only to call again, and eventually be connected to the same supervisor again.
By this point 20 minutes had passed, and I was beginning to realize that maybe – just maybe – I’d overreacted a little bit. Maybe – just maybe – she wasn’t actually yelling, but had raised her voice a squidge to make a point, and I’d shot off like Ralphie’s Red Rider BB gun, cracking eyeglasses left and right.
“Um, did I speak to you just a few minutes ago about being, uh, [^%&$^%^#] …gentle?”
“Yes ma’am you did.”
“Uh, I just wanted to apologize. It’s my first week not having a job, and I’m just, well, I’m in transition. I’m sorry.”
“Well, …thank you.”
I’m mailing her a BFF necklace next week.
But seriously now: there exists within me a love-hate relationship with saying, “I’m sorry,” but when my heart’s beating like a big, bad drum, and I know that I was the one wrong in this situation, I have no choice but to utter the most powerful and freeing of words.
When I react against Target 1-800 number customer service reps, I have to ask myself what’s behind that reaction: am I really mad at them, or is there something deeper going on inside of me? And usually it’s the latter.
So, grace. Heaps and heaps of grace. Grace upon you and grace upon me. Here’s to the new year: to responding instead of reacting, to knowing and learning and dealing with our insides, and to learning how to say the most powerful and freeing of words. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
And might we be gentle with each other in the process of growth.0