Sunday, October 30, 2011

On Being a Hardass in a Management Position

As I may have mentioned, I supervise a gate at the big football stadium. Some days, I struggle to remember that the cantankerous few are greatly outnumbered by the cheerful, polite, and sometimes even grateful many. I was called "my guardian angel" by a woman who had traveled 600 miles with her two kids to attend the game. They arrived during halftime, and the "visiting team will call" window had already closed, leaving them unable to pick up their tickets. I let the three of them in anyway, and later, when they were leaving, I told them where they could find their team's bus. Earlier in the day, helping someone find their wheelchair-accessible seating, I was told, "thank you so much; last game no one could tell us how to get to our seats and it took us almost 2 hours to find them."

But, then again, I was also called an "asshole."

One man, who was told by the bag checkers that he could not bring in an item that's clearly listed on the "prohibited items" sign, called me over, harangued me for over 5 minutes, and berated me for "coming up with ridiculous and arbitrary rules," for "failing miserably to inform the public about those rules," and for being "in a management position and not willing to make an exception" for him.

Then he asked me for a favor.

I chuckled about the "in a management position" comment. I make a whopping $2/hour more for being the guy who gets yelled at, so for yesterday, I earned about $15 more than the usher who simply calls me over whenever the going gets tough. I was polite; I was apologetic; I stood firm on the prohibited item. And then I did him the favor, finding him a clean, empty plastic bag that he could use. He snatched it out of my hand. He definitely did not say, "thank you."

Not 10 minutes later, an usher waved me over because he didn't know what the "Invalid Date" message on his ticket scanner meant. I pointed out that the ticket he had scanned was for next week's game. The following conversation took place, not with the student who had brought the wrong ticket, but with her drunk, belligerent friend:

"This is ridiculous! She has all the tickets! Why can't you just let her in?"

"Because she didn't bring the ticket for this game."

"But she bought the whole season! You're being a hardass!"

"If you went to the Taylor Swift concert and tried to get in with a ticket for the WWE show, you wouldn't be able to get in, either."

"What the hell is a WWE?"

"I'm just saying for any event, you need the right ticket to get in. She can go to that student box office right over there and have them reprint her ticket for a $10 fee, or she can go to the library and print it herself for free. Or she can stand here with you while you continue to argue with me about it, but that's still not going to get her into the game."

"You're an asshole!"

"Thank you very much. My supervisors are right over there in that office; you're welcome to go tell them all about me."

"I will!"

It's amazing to me how many people think that insulting me and calling me names is going to convince me to bend the rules for them. Being nice is almost always a more effective strategy.

I love this job.


Mike said...

At the last game I got a sunburn. Jerk.

I, Rodius said...

Mwah! Ha! Ha! Ha!

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