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Okay, most of you know that I am a retail zombie working for one of the big B book stores (and it’s not the Noble one).  I’ve been there over 3 and a half years, and still love my job.  I honestly get to meet some people with awesome opinions on books, and have a crew of coworkers that make life there fun.  Putting aside the corporate crap that anyone can read about on the net (you know, what policies are screwing whom, terror tactics, all that crap), I have to write about something that is really pissing me off.

I call it Special Snowflake Syndrome.

Every goddamn customer out there thinks that just because they come in once in a grand while, buy a bargain book off the rack for ¼ the price it usually is, they are granted special privileges because they are “one of your best customers”.

Kiss my ass.

Return policies are printed right on the slips in our store, and in most stores I go to.  If you come in with a receipt dated for March 4th, and it clearly states on the bottom that there will be no accepted returns without a receipt, and/or more than 30 days past the date of purchase, and you come in on May 4th, you lose.  Period.  No return.  If you come in with a gift receipt dated NOVEMBER GODDAMN 15TH on May 4th, and in clear as day bold print it says “No Returns After 60 Days”, YOU LOSE!

But not in today’s world.  If you even look like you are slightly pissy that you didn’t get your Special Snowflake treatment, you get what you want.  To hell with the rules and policies.  You are a Special Snowflake, and you get what  you want from any manager.  This is crap.

It’s a perfect example of how two things have gone the way of the dodo in our world: Personal Culpability and Following the Rules.

Personal Culpability is out the door.  People literally think that just because they bought something at a store, they can bring it back, jacked open and messed up, a month and a half later, and get their money back.  Or, and I kid you not, that they “didn’t like the book/movie/album.  I shouldn’t have to pay for it if I don’t like it.”  Kiss my ass.  That is the gamble of consumerism.  I have a stack of books that I really didn’t care for.  You know what I do?  I wait till I go somewhere I can hawk em, and get back what I can.  Because it was MY OWN GODDAMN FAULT I bought it.

People do not want to take personal responsibility for their actions.  Any actions.  It doesn’t even just come down to fricking retail sales.  Got caught DUI?  “Oh, I have a drinking problem”  You shit do, you just got your ass wasted, and thought you could get away with it.  Got nailed speeding?  “Oh, well I just have to get to work now officer, they need me really bad, and traffic has been hell..” Bullshit, you thought you could get away with it until you got caught, now you try to parley your way out of it.  What the hell  happened to manning up and taking your licks in this country?  Jesus.

Following the Rules.  Okay, now as an aside, I am a game player.  I like games, roleplaying, board or otherwise.  And they have rules.  And you follow the rules.  The rules are what make the game work.  But not in America.  The rules are there for you to step over and say “I’m a Special Snowflake, and the rules don’t apply to me.”  Get real.  The rules apply to everyone.  And when the rules are in plain sight, and you try to ignore them, you should lose.

Yet again, it comes down to the fact that everyone thinks they are entitled to special treatment.  You know what entitles you to special treatment?  Being a war veteran, being truly handicapped by way of birth defect, disease or wound.  That’s about it in my book.  You were a war veteran and got shot in the damn face in battle?  You get free coffee on Wednesdays.  Hell, I may even buy you a donut for preserving my right to live here.  You got born with only one lung?  You get a special sticker that lets you park closer to the store, so you don’t have to belabor that lung too much.  Please cover up your mouth in the cold, so you don’t get sick.
But you come in and buy a goddamn paperback book for 7.99, take it home for two months, and decide  you don’t want it because you aren’t into espionage novels anymore?  You aren’t special.   You’re just an asshole.  Plain and simple.  It has been pointed out to you that you have 30 days to bring it back with the receipt, in saleable condition, and we will gladly refund your money.

What’s that?  You forgot about it on your shelf?  It’s not fair you be penalized for forgetting it? YES IT IS!  If it was that important, you WOULDN’T HAVE FORGOT!  Yes, I realize you may need that eight dollars so you can afford the wrestling Pay-per-view on Sunday, but tough shit.  You screwed up and thought you had a loophole out, a chance to get what you wanted.

I was taught that when YOU screw up and forget stuff, and it means YOU can no longer do what you wanted, YOU are the sole person responsible for that happening.  It wasn’t the clerk that refused your return at the store, it wasn’t the fault of your friend who moved it two feet down the shelf when he was looking at something else.  It was your OWN DAMN FAULT.  Grow up and accept it.  I was once told that the difference between a boy and a man is that the man takes responsibility for his actions, positive or negative.

This is what is plaguing our country.  No one wants to either be held accountable, or teach their kids that they are accountable for their actions.  “Got that D in English?  Your own fault, son.  Now, you are going to spend more time every night working on studying instead of playing World of Warcraft until that grade comes up, understand?”  “You lost the Perkins account because you didn’t get the number right by a column?  You just lost the chance at the promotion, Johnson.  Do better next time, and maybe you will have a chance again.”

I understand that times are tough, I work hourly retail.  I know what it is to get to those last three days before payday and realize that your friends are going out for dinner, and you have 5 dollars to your name.  You know what that means?  You either ask a friend to spot you until payday (thereby taking responsibility for your own actions that drained your account) and accept if he says  no, or you just don’t go.  That’s right, I said don’t go.  Your evening spent at home alone will teach you that maybe you didn’t need that new album, or to buy lunch for the office on Friday.

No one is a special snowflake.  We are snowflakes.  We are individuals.  But being an individual does not entitle you to special treatment.  Our politicians and public figures refuse to take responsibility for their screw-ups in judgment.  Our CEOs refuse to take responsibility for squandering their companies monies on executive trips and horrendously massive bonuses for executives.  Our parents refuse to take responsibility for not paying attention to their children, and noticing violent or aberrant behavior.  Oh no, it was the video games, the TV, the music, not lack of parenting.  Our children are taught not to take responsibility for their failures.  “Didn’t make the team?  That bastard coach, come on son!  We are going to go threaten to press charges until you get on that team!”

Grow up, people.  You learn more from failure than you do success.  Some of the most amazing minds and personas in our history were grandiose failures at some point.  They learned, the persevered, they worked, and they went on to become something great.  They owned up to their failures, took responsibility for fixing those flaws in their lives, and went on to greatness.

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One Comment

  1. “but I am a special snowflake!”
    “go melt yourself.”


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