Monday, October 8, 2012

The day I bitched out a food co op volunteer

I must seem really evil since my last post was about knifing children's balloons and now I'm yelling at people doing volunteer work.  But please, let me explain!

I told you about Bountiful Baskets, the food co op that I've been participating in and how awesome it is.  Well one little part of it isn't so awesome.   That part is the lady who runs the site that we pick up from.  Every week starts with her addressing the line of waiting produce lovers about the all the issues she has with us. Usually it's about how everyone needs to take a box with them when they leave so there aren't boxes left for her to have to deal with.  "It is NOT fair to me to have to use MY gas to make multiple trips up here to get rid of boxes!"  It doesn't make anyone mad that we have to take boxes.  It's all part of the group effort that makes a co op work.  For the past month, at least, I've been at the very back of the line to get my basket and  by the time I reach the front there are no boxes or very little of them left to take.  Yet, every week an entire line of people is geting yelled at like school kids who just dropped trou and took a shit on the merry go round. 3 weeks ago, we got a new lashing in addition to the usual "take a box" complaint.  She walked out to the line holding in the air two baskets that were green and dirty in the bottom.  "What does this look like people?!  What does this look like to you?!" Once again, it was not fair to her that her garage now stinks because of the little bit of produce (probably a lettuce leaf or two) that was left in the bottom of those baskets that turned rotten and moldy.  My daughter actually acts this scene out almost every time she hears me say the words Bountiful Basket.  So we need to make sure all the stuff is out of the bottom before we put our basket on the stack.  Again, it's not what she's asking us to do, it's how she addresses everyone.  She also complained about not having enough volunteers to help sort the produce.  My friend Lindee and I have shown up early to do that work no less than four times.  It is not fun or enjoyable.  It is very tense and amounts to getting in a little extra yelling for your time.  So, yeah.  That's why you're having trouble getting people to help.  Her attitude is one of resentment and I wonder why she does this job at all.

You now have the back story, here is what happened yesterday.

For a few weeks we got Lindee's basket when she wasn't able and this week she was repaying the favor.  We do this a lot.  The fam and I had just ordered breakfast and were looking for a table at the Cottin Gin when my phone rang.  It was the produce Nazi at our basket pick up site.  "Mrs Taylor, this is (whatever the f her stupid name is).  When are you coming to pick up your basket?"  Pick is usually at 10:45 and it was only 10 so I was really confused.  "Pick up time has changed to 9:30.  It said this on the website."  I said, I didn't know that, my friend was getting my basket, I didn't know when she was going to be there.  "The time change was stated on the website and I'm not waiting here until 10:45."  This was a bit of a threat because if you don't get your basket, it gets donated.  AGAIN!  I take responsibility for not seeing the time change, although neither did Lindee and a bunch of other people who had still not picked up their back baskets when I arrived.  It was her attitude that put me over the edge and caused cartoon steam to shoot from my ears.  I was fuming.  I snatched the keys from my husband and headed out, ready to unload every frustrating thought that I've had for the last four months.

I got there and hastily started filling my bags with the designated produce.  She was notably agitated.  I assume her entire morning was filled with people who had no idea they were about to lose their basket.  I would also be willing to bet that she didn't have a single volunteer to help unload the trucks.  She said "You should pay attention to the website because a lot of pick up times will be changing."  It is rarely what she says but how she says it.  "I'll probably just not use this site anymore" I say.  It all just kind of unraveled from there.  The rest is kind of hazy so I'll do my best to hit the high points below.

Things I said

1) It's the way to talk to people!
2) Every week you bitch us out!
3) Do you know what my daughter does every time I mention Bountiful Baskets?!...(demonstration)...  Because that's what YOU did!
4) You obviously hate this!
5) Every week you complain about how this and that is not fair to YOU!
6) No!  I'm not doing shit!
7) I won't!  (universally known sign language)

Things she said

1) How do I talk to people?!
2) I do not!
3) (She actually didn't have much of a response here)
4) I don't hate this!  I LOVE doing this!  (Have you ever seen that movie 'Saved' where Mandi Moore's character gets really mad and throws her Bible at her friends face and shouts "I am filled with Christ's love!!!")
5) Well, it's NOT fair to me!
6) Please tap out your basket!
7) Yes! Please!  Don't come back to this site again!

About an hour after all this took place I received this text message....

"I'm sorry you feel the way you do.  You are right though, since so many people you say hate me maybe it's time for me to close the site.  After being yelled at by so many people who didn't notice the time change and having to be inconvenienced to come to pick up I will be arranging to have the site closed as I don't want people to hate this group.  I appreciate you pointing this out to me.  Have a great day and best of luck at the other site."

Guilt trip?  I think so.

I hate that I lost my temper but honestly I don't regret anything that I said to her.  Being a volunteer and being charitable does not grant you authority or power to talk down to others.  It is also possible for your attitude and demeanor to take all the good out of your deed.  At least now she is completely (hopefully) aware of how she comes across.

Today, the site she runs was indeed still an available option as I suspected it would be.  What was unavailable, however, was my email as a log in option.  Sabotage?  I am very suspicious.  No biggie, I just re registered as if it were my first time and chose the other site closest to me.  I'll go there on Saturday, early so I can volunteer, and possibly even inquire about opening my own pick up site here in Celina.  After all, I can't bitch about how she does a job unless I am willing to do it myself.  We'll see what happens.

-Hugh Jass

1 comment:

  1. The hell?
    The truck was an hour and a half late this week in Denton, and it ended up being "hang out in a parking lot with 50 strangers and tell dog stories." If there was going to be screaming, I would have figured that to be the time, but everyone was incredibly patient.

    Also, thank you--I found out about BB from your blog, and it is indeed awesome, screaming and late trucks notwithstanding.