No excuse for rudeness

My dream, should I become rich and not have to answer to anyone, would be to walk around with a cattle prod in stores and restaurants and jab people who are rude to clerks and waitresses.

Some of you who are of a litigious breed may mutter something about this so-called “aggravated assault.” But I would wear a long cloak and eye mask as a disguise and no one would ever know that it was me. I would be like Zorro.

Also, I would never get caught because I would quickly hide the cattle prod and walk by in a jaunty manner, whistling casually to prove that I had nothing to do with it. “I don’t know who it was,” the rude person would say to police, “but I know it can’t be the masked woman in the cloak who whistles!” So my plan is foolproof.

The only problem I see is that I don’t have an actual eye-mask, and may have to substitute a sleeping mask instead. This could severely impair my vision and cause me to prod the wrong person, which would be tragic. Perhaps one of those blue or green gel-masks is the way to go, at least until I can fashion a proper one out of black cloth.

At any rate, it is not the details I am concerned with — it is the idea. I worked at a mall for two years in Wisconsin Rapids and at a store in Eau Claire for one long summer, and there were times when I wished for someone to come along and sedate the person who was hyperventilating because she couldn’t use an expired coupon for 5 percent off of the clearance merchandise.

My manager at JC Penney’s told me one day that a woman with a baby had come in wanting to return some merchandise. She didn’t have a receipt and so, per store policy, my manager could not give her the full cash refund. Any normal, well-balanced person would have taken this in stride. This woman, however, took her baby’s dirty diaper and smeared it all over the full-length display windows and then left. Now, I am generally not in favor of the death penalty, but for people like that, I would make an exception.

Or how about the couple seated behind me at a busy restaurant this summer? Their food was late due to a mix-up in the kitchen, but instead of understanding that a restaurant does not always run like a well-oiled machine, they blamed their waitress entirely and spent the entire half hour there complaining to her and about her to other diners seated nearby.

The waitress was very professional and very nice in her apology and explanation, and at no point poured maple syrup on their heads. Still, I overheard the woman hiss to her husband, “If you leave her a tip, I’m going to be very disappointed in you.”

For cases such as these, I don’t think that simple physical retribution is enough (no, I wouldn’t actually kill The Diaper Avenger, even if I did have a cattle prod). A re-education program is in order. It would be taught by employees who own nametags that say things like, “Joyce: Happily Serving You For 87 Years,” and would involve at least six months forced labor as a Burger King cashier or a retail clerk at one of those middle-aged women’s stores with names like, “Elda Furry’s Fashion Boutique” or “Cardigan Hut.” They would have to put up with wet hens, like themselves, and pretend to act chagrined when a customer self-importantly proclaims that he/she is never shopping there again. Personally, I never understood why they always thought this was such an awful fate to befall the employees; I was always glad to see them go.

They also would experience the impatient sighs, the tossed money or credit card, the messy dressing rooms, the personal insults, the low tips, and so on. It all would be captured on video then distributed on the Internet and in break rooms for employee morale purposes.

On the flip side, I do not wish to forget about the people who are nice to store and restaurant employees. It is true I have met some of the nastiest and most petty people through working retail, but I also have come across some truly kind and wonderful people. They would receive free movie passes and a villa in the south of France.

I believe that takes care of everything. Once I go vigilante and start making obnoxious people accountable for their actions, the world will become a better place. Everyone will be nicer to everyone else because they know full well that at any point I could freelance to bad behavior elsewhere, such as on roads or in politics.

Goodwill shall flourish, and peace will reign.

Now, all I have to do is find my sleep mask.