Dear Patrons

Getting a summer internship (ideally paid) is the dream for every college student, right? You get to do something that you or that helps you in figuring out your potential career paths or that simply looks really good on your resume. Well, some of us are not so fortunate, having often been forced to give up the hunt and settle for a simple part-time job. I got lucky compared to a lot of people and stumbled across a well-paid gig as a cashier whose primary concern is customer service.

I say I got lucky because I make more than I have at any other job, I get to sit in an air conditioned room, and my two main tasks are to take care of patron payments and enforce rules. I'm lucky and my position is incredibly straight-forward, but that does not mean it is easy by any means. I could tell story upon story about how terribly negative some of my experiences have been with customers who take their frustration out on me when their day doesn't go exactly how they'd hoped. I could complain and curse the world, but I won't, because what good what that do? No, I won't complain because, at the end of the day, I do enjoy my job and, as I've said, I'm one of the lucky ones.

I don't want to complain but I do want to address those who have had a less-than-desirable experience at a local restaurant or pool or movie theater:

Dear patrons,

I am truly sorry that your experience has been negative. No, really. I wish you were satisfied right now so that I could have avoided the angry glare, the eye rolling, the cursing, the complaints, and so on and so forth. I'm sorry you're having such a horrible day. Maybe I really was the one who disrupted it, or maybe you were wanting a fight no matter what and I just happened to be within the line of fire. I'm sorry that my endless patience, courtesy, and respect were not enough, but I am not willing to risk losing my job to either bend the rules for you or feed into this conflict.

I am sorry you're so upset, but to all the patrons who have poor experiences in a public place, please be kind. Your yelling and frustration and blame are hurtful. Yes, you are simply one of a hundred people I'll help today, but your words and tone have the ability to shake me at my core. Maybe that makes me "too sensitive," but I am simply a college kid trying to make a little bit of money by doing my job. Sure, sometimes I mess up, but that does not mean my intent was to make your life harder. Half the time, the things you yell at me for simply aren't things I can control. Remember that, although I am an employee, I am a person with feelings and your negative attitude does nothing but make my day and the situation worse.

So, everyone, please be kind courteous to those working at your local pool or movie theater or restaurant. We don't make the rules, we just have to enforce them and you have no idea how stressful your negative attitude can be.

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