Today was a new adventure here in Shkoder. As this is the first offence I will not disclose the location or office involved, unless it happens again, for the sake of the civilian’s position, which would most likely be in jeopardy if disclosed. I will say though it was a male civilian and the lobby was full of people.
I went to a government office today and after I approached the civilian in the specific office, I asked if it was the appropriate office for my inquiry. I asked if he spoke Italian and he replied he did a little. I struggled a bit with my Albanian, but he understood what I was asking since I also showed him some paperwork. I repeated the question just to be sure and then started to leave his office as he pointed me to the service desk. At this point he followed me out and what transpired is totally, totally unacceptable in any public service institution and, by the way, the conversation that ensued was in Italian. He spoke more than he led on:
Civilian: “Calm down. What is the matter with you? Calm down”
Me: “I am calm, I just want to know where I need to go for this application.”
Civilian: “You need to calm down. SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!”
Now, obviously this man has no idea who he’s talking to in terms of personality. All of those who know me, know full well that all I need is for someone to tell me to ‘shut up and sit down’.
Me: “Excuse me?”
Civilian: “Shut up and sit down over there. Sit down!”
Me: “Really? Did you just tell me to shut up?”
Civilian: “Yes, sit down and shut your mouth.”
Whoa! Now, I have to interject, because even though I took a small deep breath so to not go total postal on him, I just couldn’t let this mini-nazi tell me what to do, no way, no how.
Me: “How dare you speak to me like that? Who do you think you’re talking to? You need to show respect for women, do you understand? R E S P E C T!”
This pretty much shuts his big mouth as by now he feels emasculated, by a woman no less, in a very patriarchal society. God forbid a woman should answer back…let alone raise her voice to a man…let alone in public. Well buddy, you picked on the wrong woman. Let this be a first warning.
Employees in public government or private office have a responsibility to address and conduct manner with clients and citizens in a respectful and courteous manner. The attitude of this employee is by far the worst I have ever witnessed in Albania, a country where, for the most part, all civil service employees are very helpful and attentive to the customers’ needs.
This man is not in any way a representation of the service which one receives in Albania, but rather an anomaly, an exception to the rule, and one that has to be dealt with in the future. People need to be spoken to with respect and patience. If you don’t like the customer service industry then by all means go find another job where you don’t have to deal with the public and let someone more suited deal with them!