Don’t get me wrong. I respect people who have finished college. I think it’s wonderful that they chose that pathway for themselves. I also respect people who learned through working. They probably chose the harder path, but they may have learned more through everyday experience than they could have sitting in a classroom.
I don’t really care whether you went to college or not, so I’m certainly not bashing those who did. People are people, no matter how they got their education. All people are smart in some way, and all people are dumb in some way. Having an education certainly doesn’t mean someone is smarter. It means they chose to expand their knowledge in that particular area of study.
What took me on this tangent? Well, it was listening to my husband on the phone with an angry shopper last night. You see, his job is to call shoppers and remind them of upcoming mystery shopping assignments. He calls and leaves a message that they have an assignment coming up and to be sure and let him know whether or not they can complete it. He leaves a deadline of noon the next day for them to respond, because you know and I know that people do not respond without a deadline. So, last night, he was just innocently doing his job, when he got a phone call. I heard him answer with his greeting, and then he began saying, “Uh huh. Uh huh. But I….. Uh huh.” I was intrigued to hear what was going on, so I, being the nosey wife that I am, went and sat by him. The woman on the phone was talking about a mile a minute, and I could tell she was angry.
While she was talking on and on and on to him, he took his headset off and started talking to me. Apparently, this woman was a professor of communications, as she told him six times over the course of the call. She was very educated, you know. She was angry that he had called and “threatened” her if she did not get the shop done. She said she was a good shopper, and she had shopped with the company for a long time and was one of our best shoppers. (Never mind all the notes in her file about late shops and having to reschedule her jobs.) She might have been a communications major, but she apparently could not hear that we were having a conversation without her.
About five minutes into the conversation, I was done. I had to walk away, because I was ready to take the phone and hang it up for him. This woman lectured him about how smart she was and how educated she was and how dare he call her to remind her of an assignment. (Some people really take themselves way too seriously.) As the call progressed, I would check on Mr. E periodically to make sure he was still breathing. Finally, about 20 minutes into it, I heard him start talking. He chatted with this woman about how the employees of our company work from home all over the country. He chatted with her about how different mystery shopping companies operate. He chatted with her about how I had been a mystery shopper for over 20 years and how he and I both worked as editors. He chatted and chatted. I’m pretty sure he is now invited to her family’s Thanksgiving.
As Mr. Everything chatted, I just shook my head in amazement. I like to think of myself as pretty patient (Don’t laugh at me.), but I could not have chatted with her. My response ten minutes into it would have been, “Exactly how can I help you?” Then, I would have gotten off the phone. Not the Mr. He chatted.
Forty five minutes after the call had begun, Mr. E wished her a nice evening (really?) and hung up. I just rolled my eyes. Finally, I said, “I hope you’re finished working, now that it’s midnight.” (Did I mention that I was in a snippy mood?) He said, “Oh, I am.” I asked him why in the world he chatted with the communications professor for so long. He chuckled and said, “Because she told me at the beginning of the call that she was not normally up that late and that she had to leave her house by 6:00 AM. She said that she really needed to get to bed because morning was going to come early. I figured I’d keep her on the phone as long as possible so she would regret calling me.” So now, who’s the smart one?
When we owned our paint your own pottery studio, we used to dread the words, “I was an art major.” Most of our customers were cordial. They usually wanted a few tips to make sure their pottery would turn out nicely. They would even ask for suggestions of how to paint pieces to get the best outcome. Then, there were the art majors.
We had an art major come in one day with her baby. She was going to make a handprint plate for her husband for Father’s Day. She picked out her plate and requested her colors. As always, we asked which color she would use for the plate and which she would use for the handprints, because we would give more of the paint for the plate. She had picked red for the handprints. Mr. E kindly said, “Can I make a suggestion?” The art major cut him off and said, “I was an art major.” Knowing what that meant, he said, “Okie dokie,” and got the paints.
The Goose walked through and saw the lady painting her child’s hand. She went over to Mr. E and whispered, “Daddy, you need to tell that lady….” Mr. E cut her off and said, “She was an art major.” Even the five year old knew what that meant.
The Beetle came by and said, “Mama, that lady…” I cut him off with, “Art major.” He nodded knowingly and went back to his video game.
The art major finished her pottery, paid and left. She, of course, did not tip us, because the art majors never did. A week later, when her plate was ready, she came to pick it up. Mr. E took it out and gave it to her. Her face dropped when she saw it. Her plate, with the red smeary hand prints, looked like it was part of a murder scene. Mr. Everything, with a straight face, looked at her and said, “I sure hope your husband likes it!”
See, we weren’t art majors, but we had seen enough bloody red hand print plates to know that red is not the right color to use. Our education may not have cost us thousands of dollars, but we had learned the lesson well. Sometimes, it’s not how you learn it but what you know that matters. -Al