Monday, February 07, 2005

Oh No She Didn’t!

I pride myself on knowing how to conduct myself in public. But sometimes, depending on where I am, I act in ways that would only make the devil proud.

Like the day I was leaving for Los Angeles. I had just gotten back from a funeral in Missouri the day before, so I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for this trip. My plan was to get to work early and finish out some things, leave at lunch, run by the shopping center to get some last minute items, stop by the dry cleaners to pick up most of the clothes I needed, and then run home to pack. My flight left at 8:45pm that evening.

Everything was going great at first, except for the fact that I had the flu. I got everything taken care of at work, got what I needed from the shopping center, and only needed to pick up my dry cleaning before going home to pack. I was actually ahead of schedule when I arrived at the dry cleaners.

I walked in the door, pulled out my slip, and proceeded to write out a check to pay for the cleaning.

“We don’t take checks here.”

“Can you take a credit card?”

“No, we don’t take those either.”

Okay, it would have been nice if there was a sign posted as such. My only choice was to head to the nearest ATM to get some cash.

When I got back to the dry cleaners, the attendant—a woman about 10 years my senior with a face that screamed, “I need a lip wax!”—came up to grab my ticket and retrieve my clothes. She started to ring up the order while I was investigating their handiwork. Just as she asked me for $18.75, I noticed the huge coffee stain on the seat of my ivory-colored pants (yes, I actually sat in a puddle of spilled coffee the last time I had them on).

“These pants aren’t clean,” I said. “And I really need to take them with me on my business trip this evening. Is there any way you can get this stain out?”

“There ain’t nothin’ we can do until tomorrow,” Mustache Sally replies like she couldn’t care less.

“Well, I have to take the pants with me this evening. Are you sure there is nothing that can be done today?”

“Like I said…we can’t do nothin’ ‘til tomorrow.” Her attitude was really starting to piss me off.

“Well, I’ll tell you what. I’ll deal with the stain myself, because I have to have them today. You can just take the cost of them off the bill, and I’ll pay for everything else.”

“You ain’t takin’ these pants out of here unless you pay for them.”

“I’m not going to pay you for pants that haven’t been cleaned. Can I talk to a manager?”

“There ain’t no manager here. I told you we would clean them tomorrow,” she says like she’s talking to some chick on the street. My patience was out the door at this point, and if this woman wasn’t careful, it was about to be on and poppin’.

“And I told you I couldn’t wait until tomorrow. I’ll pay for the rest of the things, but I’m not paying for these pants. Can you ring up my total and take the pants off?” My pitch was getting higher and more irate by the minute.

“AND I TOLD YOU THAT YOU WEREN’T GETTING THESE PANTS UNLESS YOU PAY FOR THEM!”

Oh no this bitch did not just yell at me! Without even thinking about it, I reached across the counter and snatched my pants out of the woman’s hands.

“Bitch, have you lost your fuckin’ mind?” I screamed. “You are not keeping my pants. And you damned sure aren’t going to force me into doing more business with this sorry-ass dry cleaners.”

“Well, we’ll just take down your license plate and…”

“The number is 9-1-1,” I screamed. “And I’ll help you dial it if three numbers are more than your dumb-ass mind can comprehend. You do whatever the hell you think you need to, lady. I hope the cops really do show up here, so I can tell ‘em how your trifling ass is trying to rob me!”

She picked up the phone, but instead of dialing the police, she called the manager who was apparently chillin’ at home.

“She wants to talk to you,” Mustache Sally said and handed the phone to me. I snatched it out of her hand the same way I snatched the pants.

“Don’t snatch nothin’ else out of my hands,” she shouts like she was about to do something about it.

“Why don’t you come from around that counter and show me what in the hell you plan on doing about it! As much as you’ve pissed me off today, it would be my pleasure to whoop your ass all up and down that damned parking lot. Don’t say shit else to me or I’ll knock that mustache off your face!”

And with that, I put the phone to my ear to see what “the manager” had to say about all of this.

“Ma’am, what seems to be the problem?” the manager asked.

I proceeded to explain the particulars. I told her I was willing to pay for the items that had been cleaned, but I was not going to pay for the pants with the stain. I also explained that I wasn’t going to give them the opportunity to clean the pants again, because they couldn’t do it the same day, and I needed them that evening.

Of course, the manager agreed with me, and asked to speak back to Mustache Sally. Once Mustache Sally wrapped up her conversation with the manager, she handed my ticket to her co-worker to finalize the transaction, and then she went back into the back somewhere.

I paid for all items, less the cost of the pants, and left.

At the time of my argument, it felt almost relieving to scream indecencies at this customer-service-averse woman. I truly had a bad case of the flu, which meant body aches, congestion and all sorts of other discomforts. Puttin’ my foot up her ass seemed like an ideal stress reducer at the time.

But in reality, I can only hope there wasn’t anyone around who knew me or my family. Because I gave them enough bad attitude and bad language to embarrass my folks for decades. I am so NOT proud.

The next time, I’ll try to take the “I Have A Dream” approach and keep things more diplomatic. But that was one “bidnass in da hood” experience that caught me on the wrong day, at the wrong time.

Sorry, Mustache Sally, for threatening you and pointing out your Sasquatch-like facial flaws. But you really pissed me off that day. From now on, though, I won’t let people like you get the best of me and turn me into someone I strive not to be…a ghettofabulous diva who will drop-kick your ass at will.

Here’s to becoming a more mature ME…

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