Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Obligatory civil service

NY kiosk
Originally uploaded by plumstead_girl.
I used to work in a kiosk the first two years of my studies to finance all that barhopping - and to pay the rents.

I am immensely grateful for that experience. When you have been on the other side of the counter, you remember forever what is the impact of someone smiling to you or just being polite. Based on those two years in one of the poshiest districts in Helsinki I can tell you that drunken teenagers are nothing compared to middle-aged men in suits. Some of them treat the waiters and kiosk workers like these people wouldn't have brains. It is unbelievable how arrogant and rude people can be.

I remembered those times when I was flying today back to Amsterdam with SAS. I could not help overhearing the discussion between the man behind my back and the steward.

SAS has a policy that one has to pay for all drinks in economy class (that shitty policy is a subject for another post). When the man behind me (Swedish) heard this, he went ballistic saying that he had paid for a meal and so on. The steward was very polite in explaining that this has been the policy in economy class as a difference to Economy Flex since 2004. The man told him extremely loudly that this is outrageous and he will stop flying with SAS because in his reservation he was promised a meal. The steward asked to see the reservation and the boarding pass. Result: the man was sitting in the wrong seat.

The worst thing was that after all this he got up, walked up to his seat and waited for them to come and serve him. And with no apologies at any stage for his behaviour. I would like to speak to his parents and check how he was raised.

At times like this I feel that instead of military service everyone should be forced to work in a bar or a kiosk for a year.


Tommi Laitio said...

Not to sound too negative after a brilliant Labour Day, must share a reason for happiness: witty journalism. Today's Dagens Nyheter had next to each other a picture of King Carl Gustav during his 60th birthday and a picture of Prime Minister Göran Persson holding his Labour Day speech at a trade union event. Superb comparison. Persson seemed to be so happy with himself and having a Ego Day where as the king was the man of the people. Great, great. And this combined with a critical overview of the prime minister.

I want more of this.

Anonymous said...


I _so_ agree with you! Middleaged women can be bad, too. While I was working in a shoe store some "fine ladies" tried to switch languages so I wouldn´t have understood the ugly remarks they were making. Every time they started talking in a different language, I followed up and changed the service accordingly, smiling nicely , ofcourse. Luckily they only knew languages I could recognize ;) I could see they were both annoyed and confused, as if they had expected the sales people be somehow their inferior.

PS:"eläköön kouluruokailu"-linkki vie kotihousukirjoitukseen, fix it! ;)