Apr 2, 2008

Judy Attitudee


  • Me: This is Joan. [not my real name.] Can I help you?
  • Judy [actually, she never said her name]: Yes, hello, can you tell me--I'm trying to help someone with ______.
  • Me: Well, unfortunately we're unable to meet that need.
  • Judy: Well, what is this address on ____ road?
  • Me: We have nothing on that road, I'm sorry.
  • Judy: Your organization is everywhere! Why don't you have _____ here? What does your organization do, exactly, for people in this situation?
  • Me: We do what we can, when we can, but we don't exist primarily as an organization for that need. I'm sorry, ma'am.
  • Judy: Well, don't you have a phone number of other organizations?
  • Me: Yes, have you called ------?
  • Judy: Oh, I've never heard of them.
  • Me: Well, give them a call. You could also dial -------. An operator will ask you a few questions and then can scan an entire directory of local assistance, and with availability information that I wouldn't have.
  • Judy: No, I don't want to call that number. This is a small town and I'm a teacher and I'm only trying to help someone and I don't want to talk to them.
  • Me: Well, here's the number of the only place in town, but if you really want to help your friend, I don't understand your unwillingness to call the other central number...
  • Judy: You.are.making.an.assumption! I am NOT unwilling. I just do not want to call that number! Do NOT assume anything about me.

Right about here, I'm laughing softly because her tone has been mildly abusive from the get-go. I understand it but she is crossing a really funny line, getting all indignantly righteous on my ass! How can I help her if she's not gonna call the numbers I've given her? I don't know, and now I can't assume!

  • Me: Well, they won't ask who you are, in fact, I don't even know who you are...
  • Judy: Yes, but they won't be nice or helpful and you have been. You've been very helpful and I thank you.
  • Me: Yes, well, I'm sorry I couldn't do more than that. Good luck with helping your friend.

The above is an amalgam of many typical calls I field in my new job. It's not my primary duty, but it falls to everyone to answer such a call from time to time.

I've had years of experience in this, but far too many years away from it. Surprisingly, or maybe not, it's easier than it used to be.

That could be because it's so easy to tell the pro's from the poor ones who've been genuinely surprised and dismayed to find themselves in difficult circumstances.

What's hard is to realize is that even in a demographic area that is thin on resources, and thus does not attract huge numbers of supplicants, one out of five may be truly pitiable and in dire straits. The rest are system-gamers, and needy in a different way because by this time, gaming the system is the only lifestyle they can sustain. It's all they know how to do, and so are ever on the skids, but fairly happy, plump, driving a car, talking on their cell phone, fussing at their kids, and being seen by a doctor, either M.D. or Psych. And so private organizations step in when the government game runs a bit dry, or the safety net just doesn't hold.

I'm not saying it's easy for these folks, having to gather papers, information, and stand in long lines and put up with unmotivated government employees, but really, it's no more aggravating and humiliating that a cubicle job in a large corporation. I know whereof I speak.

Yeah, most should get a job, but the government handouts have ruined their ability to do for themselves, understand the world, understand business, or survive without help. I see it every day. There's a whole culture built around it, that expects help as a matter of course, and gets indignant when private organizations don't jump when they squeal-- because that's what government institutions have taught them to expect.

It angers me that Obama, Clinton, and the Left want to see many more people like these; hopelessly dependent on someone else to run every facet of their life. It's sad enough to see people who've messed up their lives with bad choices or bad luck, and it's very rewarding to help them back on their feet. I love that!

But it's downright maddening to see perfectly good human potential enervated by the government's provision of soft landings for continuously foolish choices.


pamibe said...

I was thinking about the people who live close to the bone while while walking around the grocery store this morning; when the price of fuel goes up, food prices naturally follow, and I, who can afford the prices, found them shocking.

Everyone has to eat, but what else falls by the wayside while people try to keep themselves alive and scurvy free?

And no, I'm not talking about the scam artists, either... I agree with you about government handouts creating a race of expectant panhandlers... it's just that so many people are being squeezed lately. ;)

Anonymous said...

Liberalism and libtards are insidious. The gub'mint(full of libtards)does one thing right - builds and funds a military that kicks down doors, kills bad guys and nation builds all with a minimum of collateral. Other than that they create problems for themselves to solve and generally make matters worse. Americans always find a way around every gub'mint roadblock AND carry the dead wood with as they move forward. Wait'll we start pumpin' our own oil outta the Dakotas, Mid-West, Gulf of Mexico, Pennsylvania and off the coast of California. In the mean time pressure your Congressperson and your State House folks for a one year suspension of fuel taxes. Ah yes, gas at $2.00 a gallon, things will look rosey in a hurry! HA! ;~)

Franklin Pierce said...

Not to appear _____, or anything but, while the socialists have been a driving force behind the nanny state, I think the Repugnicans have been just as complicit: witness all of us duped in 1994 by the Contract.

More to the source of the problem is the entrenched bureaucracy who are left to actually carry out the quasi-(and outright un-)constitutional garbage that flows like a delicious river of poisoned fudge from DC and our respective statehouses.

But you have hinted at the true problem: a people willing to accept handouts rather than going to the (often painful) trouble of saying, "No, I can handle this."

Teresa said...

There are always ways to "make do" and stretch dollars. Always. It's just that most people don't want to do it because it really isn't a nice way to live. I know, I've lived on $500 a month with 3 people to feed. (that includes paying rent and everything).

Even 29 years ago it was tough to do that - but we did. We had NOTHING... we couldn't even invite friends over because we couldn't serve snacks. We had only the bare minimum of furniture, clothes, and food was tricky. But we did it.

The people I hear complain today about not being able to pay for stuff - they also have cell phones, cable tv, internet... none of these are necessary for life - all can be cut back or cut out.

Yeah, life sucks when you can't buy goodies - that should make you work harder to get to an income where you CAN buy goodies again.

I have zero sympathy for about 99% of those whining about their straightened means... I've been there. If they aren't cut back to even half the stuff I never could afford when we were flat broke - I don't want to hear it.

As for food - they need to head to their local library and read up on how to cook meals on a budget. (libraries - free reading)

Joan of Argghh! said...

Yes, there's a bit of a pinch. I can't believe how much food costs, and how many pounds I have to lose.

FP, yep, the Pubbies have been complicit ever sing WJC started doing the job that Newt demanded of him, namely, reforming welfare. He did that, and some self-serving Republicans decided to step into the gap of discontent and drum up some easy support.

Teresa: exactly! Ask any junior college administrator how many students are struggling to pay their tuition, and yet have every gadget, toy, and fridge full of beer, while driving a hot car and having their Ipods and cell phones, etc. No matter, just apply for a funding grant for "underprivileged" kids.

Mad William Flint said...

all I could think of was
"Oh I'm making more assumptions than that."