The old adage "If it walks like a duck..." has been on my mind lately. Within a short span of a few weeks I've encountered more circumstances of making people angry with me then I feel my flesh is comfortable with. I've been assessing, examining, questioning, and measuring this behavior against the Scriptures and what the Christian example is to entail. It's seeming to be a slight irony that I've been studying I Peter this month. What I've experienced pales in comparison to the Saints Peter was addressing, but the principle sure is transferable.
Being in a customer service environment during a high-pace and short handed lunch rush is not one of my favorite situations to endure as a Manager. But, this happens more often than not and does not seem to have any end in sight. During these situations one can become stretched thin and unable to provide every single individual with the service they (entitled?) to. When customers don't obtain their expected level of service they become hostile and very angry with management.Often, I find that management is me. Oh for joy!
Let me get to my point here, before I go off into a tangent and miss my purpose. These particular situations have seemed to result in more than just an average angry customer experience. I've managed to be physically threatened twice inside of a week. These are not your average threats either. Without disclosing the colorful language shared by the angry customers it could be said that they desired to, "Wipe the floor clean with me."
I'd like to justify their reactions based on their personal dispositions, unregenerate states, or drug addictions (a demographic we get often), or own faults; But, I am inclined to examine myself and the reactions I give them that may provoke them to anger (James 1:19-22). This first and usual initial reaction to respond negatively is a consistent and daily struggle. This struggle is not within conformation of my managerial responsibilities, nor my conduct as a Christian and disciple of Christ's Words. This is something I strive to work on daily and pray to crucify it with all other sin.
So here's I Peter again, telling me what to do in situations where my behavior is ultimately a reflection of God's glory. If I fail to assume my duty and practice the precepts of my Lord, then i fail to participate in this reflection of truth for those who in the end will see what they've rejected.
Whilst attempting to practice patience, virtue, and a loving manner with customers/people who have become expectant of a "serve me first" attitude, I need to keep in mind that they are ignorant of what is going on behind the scenes. The personal, self-righteous, self-absorbed, and total depravity of human nature plays a major role in this matter. It blinds the individuals who often scream tolerance in the defense of others being offended, while they fail to see the offense they cause in their treatment of those who do not cater to their whims on their terms. While I very well may work for the conglomerate who has helped propagate the "My Way" attitude of our fast-food nation, I surely don't see how that excuses people in their treatment of the workers who provide that service. After all, how can you expect an unskilled profession to be flawless in all that it provides?