I grow tired of dealing with 50 Cent-wannabe employees in business establishments that are attempting to portray an upscale image. When I go into a Starbucks, for example, there is a culture there that I enjoy. The ambiance is based around intellectualism, civility, and an overall concept of bettering oneself through education, business, and conversation.
As such, I don’t want to talk to someone behind the counter who has their hat to the side, pants too low, refuses to smile, and speaks in mumbled single-syllables because that’s how “ganstas” talk. These people convey one message with every action:
I don’t like this place, I don’t like this job, and I don’t like you. I tolerate you because I need money in order to pretend to be something I’m not. I’m not playing your stupid “act nice” game. I don’t jump through hoops for nobody. I’m a (gangster|player) and I’m proud of it.
Well, from now on my answer to that is going to be to ask for the manager and see if I can get the person disciplined. If I get an adverse reaction from the manager, I’ll call corporate and let them know that they’ve got a branch that’s not supporting their image.
Culture, Not Race
And before someone goes off on some race tangent, let me assure you — this is about behavior, not skin color. A good example of “Starbucks culture”, in my view, would be a recent experience I had. I came up and ordered a ” ‘medium’ …er….grande mocha.” The guy behind the counter (Mexican, according to a conversation I heard him having earlier) jumped on the opportunity in a typical geek fashion.
Him: Ah, yeah…we don’t have “mediums” here… (beaming a large playful smile) Me: Oh, damn…I’m probably going to get put on some kind of list now… Him: Actually, you’re already on the list; I’m just going to move your name closer to the top now…
This is the type of banter you expect from a place that caters to students and business people. And I don’t expect that from everyone, of course, but that same branch has multiple people there (of many races) that consistently smile and laugh and generally have a good time. Race is a non-issue.
This is what I expect — no, demand from a business trying to impart a positive experience onto me. I don’t want to see Eminem or R’Kelly trying to be players or gangsters while in a customer service role. It’s incongruent. It’s the same reason I wouldn’t buy rap albums from Erkel.
Bottom line: If you don’t subscribe to the culture of the place you’re working, and it’s a place that requires a public-facing role —don’t work there. And I ask you to join me in calling these people out when you see them instead of just getting pissed about it.: