Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ugly people

Today I volunteered to direct traffic for an event sponsored in part by my employers. We had 1,000 80-gallon compost bins (the Earth Machine) to distribute to the public at a greatly reduced cost. We had ordered them through Norseman Plastics. They drove a truckload to Alaska for this sale.

Normally these bins sell for $100 to $150 I'm told. We were selling them for $50. We wondered if we would be able to sell them all. Having never done an event like this before we were unprepared for the enthusiastic turnout. The deal was "open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm or until they're gone. Supplies limited." We had people in line at 9:30. We had at least a hundred vehicles stacked up when we opened early. Just an hour into the event we had at least 300 vehicles in line backing up traffic onto the highway and creating problems a block away at an intersection. That's when the cops were called.

I was doing my best to flag an intersection, keeping it open for commercial haulers to get by and letting would-be compsters in. 98% of them were super nice, thanked me for my help, told us we were doing a great job, and were enthusiastic about the event. The other 2% were UGLY.

Finally the police arrived and helped take over managing the traffic. We closed the road to oncoming traffice and combined one l-o-n-g line into three shorter lines to get everyone off the highway. I had a man yell repeatedly in my face - he was angry that some other people might get in front of him. I ignored him as best I could but the traffic wasn't moving. Another lady was yelling out from her vehicle. I went to talk to her and she calmed down and even apologized. Another man called me a STUPID IDIOT! I was really surprized and wasn't quick enough in my comeback. I should have said "NO Bin for you!" But instead I said, "I'm a volunteer trying to help you get in. We are doing the best we can."

One of the officers later told me that a lady got out of her car and confronted him and told him that he better let her go next. He told her he could arrest her to which she replied, "I'm willing to go to jail to get in next." DUH! If she goes to jail she would totally miss out on her $50 compost bin.

Several people informed me sarcastically that this was "really great for the environment, all this exhaust going into the air." I wanted to tell them to go home. They are the ones in line creating the problem. Why is that my fault? Or the city's fault? Or the kind people who brought this opportunity?

In hindsight we weren't prepared for the turnout. We pre-sold another truckload of 1,000 compost bins. I left wondering if it was worth it. I am ALWAYS nice to people. I don't understand the anger and selfishness out there. Why? Is it really worth it to give up your dignity and act sub-human to make sure you get that bin?

Then I was told after the event that one man paid ahead for a lady three cars behind him because she had been nice. He restored my faith in humanity.


Aunt Krissy said...

It boggles the mind what people will do for 50 bucks! I'm sorry that people were mean to you. Want me to go beat them up? Bust a cap in their knee?

A Lady's Life said...

Yes it is painful especially when you volunteer, for people to be so mean and nasty and there are so many of them. I don't know about Alaska but here I forgive them because life is hard and people are under a lot of pressure most of the time.
So many misbehave and people are generally in a foul mood.
So you think positive and don't take it personal. :)

crochet lady said...

Well i guess it's nice people are so eager to be composting. But it seems that where ever there is a crowd of people waiting and saving money to boot, you know there will be something messy too. Yikes.

I'm sorry you had to be the recipient of someones hasty, mean words. You got the better of him by responding nicely to his insults.