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Friday, December 12, 2014

Class Consciousness at the Thrift Store: Was I Out of Line with the Chevron Peeps?

Between end of the semester stress (still have much grading to do) and the constant temptations of holiday shopping, I needed---surprise--a trip to the thrift store. As is my new wont, I went to the Food Bank Thrift because it is only about a 3 minute drive from my house. It is also the thrift store that attracts the poorest demographic and, indeed, many customers have vouchers from the Food Bank across the street.

The overworked and harried workers! They are understaffed and the donations are piling up inside, outside, everywhere.

Today the workload was--presumably--eased by the presence of three youngish volunteers. They were in the back. As far as I could tell (the door was open), they were engaged in a gab fest and not doing anything else. The subject of the gabfest was how much money they made working for Chevron, how great their retirement  and other benefits were, how it was good to look for romance within the company because women who learned you worked for Chevron would be after your money, and on and on.  Their entitled voices carried through the small store.

How nice of Chevron to let them volunteer at the thrift store during their paid work hours! What wonderful community relations!

Two of the fellows emerged from the back and entered the store. And--I JUST HAD TO SAY SOMETHING. So I put on my teacher voice and said "I think it's really nice that Chevron is sending you here to do volunteer work for the community. But it is insensitive and hurtful to discuss your fabulous salaries and benefits in loud voices that are heard by the customers, many of whom do not shop here by choice."

The two Mr Chevrons looked chastened. I said I wasn't trying to be mean, but to alert them to the fact that they may have been inadvertently insensitive. (Perhaps I was trying to be a LITTLE MEAN.)

Then I left. I wonder what they said after I was out the door.

Was I out of line? What would you do?


une femme said...

No, you weren't mean. I think what you said was entirely appropriate. People need to be more sensitive to those in different circumstances.

Sharon said...

Bravo! That's the kind of thing I would have wanted to say but wouldn't find the nerve or the right words to say it. I would expect to overhear that kind of bragging/one up-ing in an upscale locale but doing so in a thrift shop is just tacky and lacking in awareness/sensitivity.

tess said...

Those younguns needed to be schooled into having some manners, good for for teaching them.

The Frugal Shrink said...

I think it's wonderful that you said something. They needed to be made aware that their behavior was inappropriate (and that their privilege was showing!).

Anonymous said...

Good for you!