First impressions aren’t always right. Or are they?

“Never judge by first impressions.”
– American proverb

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Besides my full-time job I have a part-time job. I just work for rarely more than 4 or 5 days a month there. It’s a handicraft and souvenir shop and I usually just cover the owner on Saturday or Sundays, so she can have some quality time with her family. I do customer service, and I enjoy it. Customer service can be the worst job in the world. Dealing with people can be very challenging, but it can also be very rewarding.

I’ve worked on several similar jobs before and I think that what makes the difference between being easier or super hard depends on the field of work of the place. I tend to prefer casual work environments, since it is way easier to create a connection to the customer, and vice-versa.

Restaurants and by-the-sea shops like the one I work now can be easier than a supermarket, for instance. The reason why people go to those places are different, and, with some luck, their mood is also different. At restaurants there can also be cranky and rude people, but many just go out to have dinner and have a bit of fun. At supermarkets people get frustrated very easily. They have to buy things that they rather not have to spend their money on, or they had to go get something for dinner after a crappy day at work, or something else. Sometimes people go to the supermarket for fun, but from my experience, that’s not the usual motif.

That being said, I like to do this kind of work because I get to interact with people. I consider myself a bit of a introvert. Off work I used to get very nervous to talk to strangers, to interact with new people, to even ask for directions or the time. I still am like that a bit, depending on the day. Some days I feel so insecure that I feel that people don’t want to be approached by me, that they have no interest in have any interaction with me whatsoever, and that even happens regarding friends, or my partner. I don’t really know why I’m like that (but I suspect that childhood trauma is yet again to be blamed), but it is very constraining of who I feel like I would like to be.

Doing these made me grow a lot on that matter. I got much more comfortable interacting with humans, and once in a while there is an exchange of words that make me smile and feel really good and happy.

Today happened the opposite. It didn’t have anything to do with me, it was something I witnessed, and it made me really sad and frustrated.

A family got into the shop to buy some leather bracelets, of the kind everyone just uses mostly during Summer and then they either rupture, get lost, or are simply thrown away. First came in the father and two sons, one around 9, the other around 12, maybe 13. They were all choosing for themselves, and I noticed the water was trying to influence the kid’s choice, but not much, just making some on points how they would get bored of such and intricate bracelet. The mother, daughter and grandmother get in and immediately the mother gets over authoritarian, saying that off course they would not get the bracelets they chose and proceeds to choose for them.

It is something that maybe many people may consider super normal, parents choosing for their kids, but it broke my heart. The mother completely invalidated their choices, and manipulated them to accept bracelets that were way different than the ones they chose before. I’m not a mother, but I am a daughter, and never my father did that to me. I believe that a child must be free to make their own wrong (or not) choices (within reason, of course, I’m not talking about life changing subjects). To remove their power of choice seems to me that removes them the ability to learn from errors and the self confidence to stand by their choices and own them. It reduces their judgment capacities and makes them more prone to being manipulated and to have issues with decision making.

Gladly, the older son rebelled and went with the first bracelet, and the mother didn’t push any further. Which made me again feel bad because maybe I was making a judgement call on that mother that was unfair. If the son did stand by his first choice it’s because he previously knew that he could do that, so maybe she does after all give her kids space to be who they are.

So, here I am, full of bad feelings and a head full of considerations. Maybe my father should have restrained me a bit more after all.

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