Freaky Folk

I have had a few incidents recently that freaked me out a little.

The most recent was Saturday evening. I nipped into a little organic supermarket on the way back from work. While I was there a guy crashed into a stack of fruit crates knocking figs and cantaloupe melons in ever direction. He was trying to make a quick escape with a large bag stuffed full of expensive produce. This was a shoplifter with great taste. It was mostly cured meats from the deli fridges, and some expensive tinned tuna and pate.

Well a shop assistant grabbed the bag, leading to a raucous tug-of-war, at which point the duty manager jumped on the bag and started lifting the packets of fine meats out of the bag. In the end the guy left empty-handed and the staff had to tidy up the pandemonium left in his trail.

Anyway…there has been other stuff going on. A young woman pounced on me the moment I left work begging me to go into the supermarket with her and buy her shopping. I was willing to go in until she grabbed my bag and tried to pull it from my arm. At that point my will to keep hold of my handbag was stronger than her determination to prise it away from me.

What else has happened? Well, I think more than anything it is the aggression from patients at work that is getting to me. We have been told we are stupid, thick, liars, cheaters, money making, uncaring, immoral – yes, working for the NHS is not all about national applause and getting discounts at Costa Coffee. Recently I have seen patients have extreme tantrums and become very verbally abusive.

I choose to think that our customers are extremely stressed and their outbursts are unusual for them. But it is intimidating going to work when you don’t know what will happen. We are trying to do our job, when a patient who is in their older years is screaming and accusing us of terrible things, and refusing to leave the practice and telling every patient who walks in that we are demons.

It makes a long day even longer!!!

22 thoughts on “Freaky Folk

    1. Yeah, it freaked me out a little. The thing is, it was still fairly light, and she did it in a busy part of the high street. I think she was desperate. If she had not done that, I would have gone into the supermarket with her and bought her some food. But she frightened me Sadje.

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  1. Wow! No wonder you’re freaked out. Do you think there are more people getting desperate as a result of the pandemic or have you just been unfortunate to meet a few recently?

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    1. I have noticed a considerable change in the attitude and behavior from customers for at least the past month. I think stress levels are high and it takes the tiniest push for some to explode.
      Everyday at work we have least one difficult situation that costs us a lot of time, causing further delays for our other patients.

      The shoplifting I mentioned, normally it’s rare for me to see anything like that. But I have seen several scenes in shops with customers stealing the past two months.

      The girl who grabbed my bag…well, I hope that is not going to become common. But now it is darker earlier, I am nervous on the walk home.

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        1. Absolutely, and I think it would have been frustrating for her. My bag is full of junk! But losing my keys and my basic Nokia would be annoying, and my facemask. My debit card was in my inner coat pocket so she would have got away without anything she could spend.

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    1. It’s tiring! Really tiring. One patient can cause so much trouble for us. It’s really hard to carry on when we have that kind of scene to deal with. All our other patients are watching how we handle things. We can’t tell them anything because of confidentiality. Ugh! I wish we could do our work without big dramas like that.

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  2. People are crazy. I mean they were all a little loony before but since March it has gotten so much worse. I am not entirely sure how yelling and screaming makes someone feel better. Why does making someone else feel like crap make so many people feel better? And all we are doing is our jobs. We do no make policies. We do not make changes. We implement them as they are a part of our jobs. I say we because as a cashier I understand exactly where you are coming from about people throwing temper tantrums. 🙂

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        1. For my part, I put it down to stress (and some already negative traits). But I think there is no sign of a letup where stress is concerned. So I think stress is going to magnify negative attitudes and behaviors.
          I am watching the world, stress is very very present. I am concerned because stress is not all that far away from anguish. I am hoping that people are aware of their emotional patterns and reactions to stress, and that they know how to step back from doing terrible things when they are pushed to breaking point.

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  3. The patients? Don’t internalize that any more than you can help. Remember it’s THEIR problem, not yours, because anyone with a grain of sense knows that you (Mel) are the kindest and most compassionate woman on the planet possibly. I’m in the ‘grouchy old fart’ club, and have acted out most shamefully at people who are trying to help me (especially at doctor’s visits or hospital visits). I’m over-stressed is my only explanation. Usually someone listening to me will calm me down and help me re-gain my lost perspective. I suspect your patients are the same. I do hope you have security guards available in the instance of someone under care being truly unbalanced though. Those people you encountered in your personal life (especially that young woman) deserve nothing. No compassion, no understanding. She’s lucky that she tried attacking YOU actually, because many others would have assaulted her for trying to steal their purse or wallet. That shoplifter? Idiot. I hope he learnt his lesson about stealing things that aren’t his, but who knows. At least he didn’t get arrested, which is the logical and deserved punishment. I’m glad you weren’t harmed by either of those unsavory people. Take care dear. The people you encounter at your job NEED you.

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    1. Thank you Melanie!
      I think that young woman was desperate. I would have bought some food for her. It was daylight and we were in a busy part of the High street. But when she grabbed my bag, she freaked me out.
      The guy who tried to steal all that posh meat – well…I just found it kinda bizarre that he thought he tried. The aisles are so cramped in that place. He caused havoc when the fruit was flying everywhere.
      Work – sigh! I feel for people so much. I have tried everything i can to calm some of our patients. But my manager has mentioned I can’t devote all my time to one patient when there is lot of other patients waiting for me. It makes things very stressful when we have that kind of situation to deal with. I hate to see someone that distressed, it breaks my heart, but there comes a point when they may have to call the police to deal with someone who is becoming more and more wild. That is the last thing we want to do. But when they are making it unsafe for other patients and staff, we are left with no choice. The thing is, so far it has mostly been very much older patients who we think may be struggling with dementia. So, often the way we communicate with them can have very positive results. I have worked with a lot of dementia patients so I would love be able to intervene, but sometimes I am busy with other patients, so it might be another member of staff who does not realize that they need to significantly adjust their manner and language.

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