Thursday, December 18, 2008

...Too Nice?

Today I had an interesting experience, which made me think: How can I tell when I am supposed to be upset, as opposed to when I should be happy?

When I woke up, I was presented with a wonderful surprise: an early winter break! What better way to celebrate than to go shopping? 

So shopping is exactly what I did: I've been dying for a cute, versatile pair of boots for a while, but unfortunately I'm broke. So I checked out this upscale consignment shop near my school, found a pair, and was about to go try them on when an employee approached me and said "...I'm sorry, but I was going buy those boots! They've been here for a few weeks but we were banned from buying anything until tomorrow night."

I thought, okay, whatever, I'm extremely picky anyway, and I wasn't exactly attached to those boots. It's no big deal if she gets them. Besides, she promised me a huge discount, so it was okay. This girl kept going on about how I was such a nice person, and how this was my "good Christmas deed".  We talked for a little bit (she was about my age, and had a roommate who went to the same school as me) - casual conversation, it was fine.

She brought out a similar pair of boots for me to try on, in the same size. I decided to try them on - they weren't as cute, but they were still in the range of what I was looking for, so it couldn't hurt. When I tried them on, though, I noticed that they were too tight in the calves, and a seam on the side had ripped. I wasn't disappointed, but I brought them to the girl to show her. She was trying to be nice about it, suggesting I bring them to a cobbler, but I didn't like them enough anyway. 

I could tell that the other employees felt bad, because they began looking for boots that I might like ("you should check out these riding boots here...", but frankly, I didn't really like any of them. I took a peek around the rest of the store and walked out, but before leaving, I very kindly and enthusiastically thanked one of those employees for helping me, which she seemed taken aback by. Uncomfortably, she said " problem!" and I said goodbye and left...

Afterwards, I was thinking, why was she surprised by me being so nice to her? Aren't you supposed to be courteous and polite to others unless they really upset you? I mean, I was upset, but it wasn't the end of the world for me, I'll probably be able to find another pair of boots somewhere else. 

I think I have trouble expressing anger. Ever since I was little, I've been taught to be polite, courteous and generally nice to everybody.  I know these are good traits for a person to have, but I feel like it was drilled into my brain so much that I am now unable to recognize when I shouldn't act this way - it's like I'm a robot and this is the default setting I'm stuck on. I worry sometimes that my kindness is a cold sort of kindness as well - I can't really tell if I mean it or not anymore. I'll do nice things for people, because I'm expected to, and I really do mean well, but I can never tell if my intentions are coming across well enough.

Either way, I don't understand why people don't take kindness that well - do they expect me to be a bitch? I probably should have been angry in that situation, but frankly, I just didn't care, and I've learned that anger just isn't worth it. You can say the exact same thing more constructively without getting angry. 

Maybe I should learn when it is appropriate to get angry. I need to pay better attention in the future.

Well, I have no idea whether what I was trying to say came across well, so let me know... I'm pretty tired now, time to rest. until then, goodnight!


Fleecy said...

I have to wonder, what good does it do to ban employees from buying the items if the employees tell off customers from buying things the employees want anyway, saving the item until the employee can buy it? Somehow I think the employee really shouldn't have been doing that (telling you not to buy the shoes because she was saving them for herself).

I also am very non-confrontational and will pretty much just go away without saying anything, even if someone does something to really make me mad. I end up stewing over things for hours or days but never doing anything about it, because I don't like to deal with other people being angry at me. I will usually only confront someone about something, in a pretty well controlled manner (Not in a "HEY YOU" but more like a "Hey, uh, about that..." sort of way) if I think it'll actually do any good.

electricpepsi said...

oh my god we are so same! completely agrees to most of your posts. glad to find your blog.

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