Do you know who Eddie Jones is? Well – he is my new hero!
I am only vaguely aware of his career in rugby – I think he is head coach or manager or something important for England’s rugby team But that is not why he is my new hero.
The reason I am loving him at the moment is that he took what has been a grievous issue to me for years and made it seem so small with his analogy.
He basically compared social medial abuse online (which robbed me of joy for years) is the modern day equivalent of the writing on toilet walls. He added that the people who used to write on toilet walls are now writing on social media. Why or why would we pay attention to their opinion? I think he was effectively saying: DON’T TAKE ANY NOTICE OF IT!!!
I still think it was only because somewhere someone or maybe several people were jealous because their celebrity crush was linked with a caramel blonde that they began to troll me and use terms that belong in the gutter about me. They used insidious insults about me.
I know it might sound simple – but Eddy Jones just helped me put into perspective the barrage of online bullying, trolling, abuse – whatever you want to call it….and although I don’t really have much interest in rugby – I am so grateful to him for an insightful metaphor.
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.
Have you ever had to work in retail? I always knew that one of the biggest challenges for retailers is shoplifting.
I know of a recent incident where teenage girls were shoplifting herbal supplements (health conscious shoplifters?) and when a member of staff from a distance made it clear they were observing and offered the girls a shopping basket the result was appalling behavior. Swearing, spitting, the teenagers accusing the member of staff being racist (even though the member of staff was black), and then to leave things on a sweet note, one of the teenagers decided it was time to throw the fizzy drink she had been sipping all over the two member of staff who were now present.
Charming young ladies, I am sure they must be the pride and joy of their families!
I was watching the BBC Breakfast News this morning while listening to the sound of the pouring rain outside. I saw something shocking. They had a report on retailers facing an increase in abusive behaviour from shoppers, particularly since the start of the…you know. The report was not focused on shoplifting at all, it was more to do with incidents of aggression that retailers seen a significant increase in this year.
They played a video, and I must warn you, it is quite disturbing to watch. Well, it shook me up.
Apparently the store assistants had reminded the customer of social distancing requirements. I imagine that like every other shop they would have had visual aids displayed to bring this to the attention of shoppers. (Most people have been careful and considerate about social distancing requirements, but others have been casual or just careless about the clear instructions we have been asked to follow.)
Frustration, prolonged stress and anxiety – a lot of people have been shaken up by the events of 2020. I think some people are like a bottle of fizzy pop…ready to explode. I think we are going to see more explosive behaviour over future weeks and months.