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Working for the public is nuts

October 10, 2012
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Any of us who have ever worked for the public have learned a few things about human nature. By working for the public, we mean having a job whereby anyone can walk in off the street and solicit your goods or services. Assembly line workers, back office workers, pole-climbing linemen and farmers are some of the exemptions from this category of workers and may therefore be surprised by the following revelations.

Firstly, 47 percent of people are totally nuts. Thirty eight percent of people are demanding, overbearing and impatient; 56 percent are too timid to say what they really want; 71 percent have no idea what they want; and 16 percent are just looking for someone to listen. You might notice that this adds up to more than one hundred percent. There are some overlaps. There may also be some slight variation allowed for accuracy, as in surveys, but every hospitality worker, every department store clerk and, every car mechanic not protected by a service manager and a sign that keeps you out of the service area, will assure you that these truths are self evident. The amazing thing is that there are people working for the public who love to meet new people and enjoy the interaction.

These people make up about 13 percent of workers in those industries, but they are easy to spot. They look up and greet you when you enter their establishments, even when they are busy with other customers. They smile, sometimes maddeningly as they deal with your problem, and thank you for sharing your burden with them. I think they pull these people from the 47 percenters who are nuts to start with, but I'm glad they're there to wait on me. There is evidence to back up the statistics about the 47percent being nuts. For the other groups, not so much.

First, I will give a definition: "Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results." For instance, complaining about a leaking tire rather than getting it fixed. Maybe it will heal? Repeatedly cutting off the end of an island when dredging a channel. Maybe Mother Nature will change her mind about filling it back in. Better yet, add a rock groin that speeds up the filling process.

Another is calling every garage in the county to see who will give you the lowest estimate for a repair job, while expecting a trouble free experience. Maybe the shop with the least mark-up will spend the most on the repair job. Campaign for a casino in the area to bring in money. Transferring money from losers to winners may someday bring money into a community. Buy the cheapest car you can find on the market because you can't afford repairs on your old car. Out of the frying pan, into the fire. Ordering a 2,000-calorie taco salad with a diet drink because you want to lose weight. Right. On second thought, maybe those poor souls who like working with the public don't come from the nuts crowd. Maybe they're just masochists. Maybe we should treat them better. A large percentage of us could easily do that.



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