Why I am a hypocrite.

Because I obsessively check all my favorite blogs and if they’re not updated every other day, I’m pissed. Meanwhile, here’s my very own blog, which is so less than fresh that it needs some gentle guidance on blog hygiene, perhaps from an understanding counselor it looks up to.

That’s why!

Changing the subject:

My friend F. -- who, despite years of my undoubtedly creepy pleading for him and his wife J. to move to NYC, actually did so, packing up their San Francisco lives and settling down smack dab in Brooklyn, much to my unfettered delight—what was I saying? Wait! Yes! So F., a native Californian, has insisted since he moved here that New Yorkers are rude.

Rude! Us! Have you ever!

Specifically (and I don’t want to put words in his mouth although that’s exactly what I’m doing) he takes issue with the curtness of NYC service people—the cashiers and salespeople and waitstaff whose brusqueness and lack of cheer wear away at one’s soul.

When he first brought this up, my response was one of hysterical denial—“We’re so not rude you just have to get to know the way we are and then you’ll love it here because WE LOVE YOU DON’T LEAVE US”—but then once I calmed down and realized F. and J. were not about to pack up and scamper off in the night because a cashier didn’t say “Good morning,” I gave his complaints some serious thought.

And now, damn him, I keep noticing the horrible service I’m met with at every point of purchase. While occasionally you’ll find a chatty salesperson (like the cashier at the Container Store who was so damn sunny, someone in front of me demanded to know what they were giving her, to which she replied, “A fantastic workplace!” and every one else on line threw up), by and large when you purchase something in New York, you’ll be helped by Muttery McSullenhead or Sneery O’talksonhercellphone. (Yes—the rude salespeople are always Irish. )

I always assumed that salespeople were cruel because the territory on the other side of a cash register is a terrible, terrible place to be. I’ve done it. I was the worst sales associate ever in the history of Saks Fifth Avenue; I was a bank teller who routinely doled out the wrong amount of money to unsuspecting money-takers; as a waitress, I poured scalding-hot coffee on someone’s hand (accidentally) and a mixed drink on someone else’s head (also accidentally).

On the other hand. Wasn’t I always the friendliest incompetent? Wasn’t I grasping for some human connection across the gulf separating customer from employee? You can’t answer this, so I will: yes! I was so damn likeable! My customers seemed to regret it when they asked if I was disabled! My employers always apologized when they fired me!

So the misery is no excuse. Okay. But is it true that New Yorkers are necessarily ruder than people in other parts of the country? I can’t say I’ve noticed any dramatic difference in service in, say, Oklahoma. But I’ve never been to Oklahoma. So I need your help. Are sales staff in Boise kinder? Do tellers in Tallahassee mean it when they order you to have a nice day? Or, if you work with the public in NYC (and if you do, I am so sorry): why you gotta be like that?

Thank you. And have a nice day.