Don’t Call It A Meltdown
I work in the service industry. So does Dave Chappelle. I mean, not on the same scale, obviously in that Dave can hie off to Africa and still have a career while I incessantly check my schedule even on my days off because I am terrified that I’ll get my work days confused or be late for something. But the basic premise is the same, you pay us, we do or make something in return and as a part of that process, we have to interact.
It’s in that interaction where the problems arise. Sometimes it’s hecklers, sometimes it’s people screaming about ketchup, sometimes it’s people throwing steaming hot coffee at their barista. That hasn’t happened to me since I moved to Minnesota. The people here are almost unnaturally nice, even when you give them the wrong drink. But still, it’s a valid example and it’s happened to me.
For some reason, people think that that act of paying for a drink or a hamburger or a show, gives them the right to abuse the person making their food or performing. I’m not sure where the rational disconnect between, paying your 99¢ to $2.00 for food or $50.00 to $100 for tickets and acting like decent human being is, but it happens.
If your brain just dredged up the phrase “The customer is always right,” you are probably a part of the problem. Also, you’ve clearly never worked customer service in any form.
Being “right,” which cannot happen if you’re asking for a Big Mac at Burger King, or alcohol at most coffee shops, or demanding a skit from a now defunct television show at a live performance, is a state of acting right. As a general rule, if you are screaming at someone who is trying to give you something, you are not acting right. If you’re not acting right, the service you are receiving? It isn’t the problem. Your giant sense of entitlement? Most likely the problem.
Further, the service provider, whether they be a wage slave or a multimillionaire performer, expressing a perfectly calm, rational refusal to help you act not right does not constitute a “meltdown,” of any kind. No one, not even Dave Chappelle gets paid enough to take abuse for a living. And according to people who were there and don’t have a vested interest in writing a sensationalist story about him, abuse is exactly what was happening. He was being heckled and screamed at and generally treated with no respect and he decided he was done with that and left. The end.
This shouldn’t even be a story, except it is so incredibly rare for a person who provides a service for a living to simply refuse to accept the crap behavior of some customers, especially in so large and public an arena, that is boggles most people’s minds.
If your mind is not boggled, congratulations, you’re a decent human being.