A brief primer for the dense

Let’s say I get hired to work at a store in the mall. We’ll say Waldenbooks, since they don’t exist anymore, and since I once applied and interviewed for a job at Waldenbooks which I did not get. Let’s say that, instead, my interview went really well, and the manager was quite impressed with my knowledge of and passion for books, and figured that would translate well to selling books. He didn’t think to see if I could work the register or had any customer service skills, but that’s what training’s for, right?

Well, let’s say that, on my first day at work, I show up dressed like a homeless street-preaching doomsayer. Let’s say that I spent the entirety of that day belittling the customers for their reading choices and loudly criticizing the way the store has chosen to organize its stock, and what books they’ve decided to order.

Let’s say that my manager decides to say something to me about my behavior. Let’s say that he first comes out to apologize publicly to the customers for my behavior, then takes me aside privately to admonish my actions.

Let’s say I then come in the next day and, in addition to repeating the previous day’s actions, loudly and rudely criticize my manager as well. Let’s say I also decide to avoid my manager when he seeks me out to talk to me, and screen my phone for his calls. Let’s say that, after a few days of this, he even comes out into the store while I’m working and says publicly that we need to have a private talk. I decline that talk.

When, on the following day, my manager meets me at the store entrance and takes my keys and hands me my first and last check, saying my services will no longer be needed, what my boss has done is fire me.

Firing means that I lose certain privileges. I am no longer allowed in the employees-only area of the store. I no longer get an employee discount, I no longer receive a paycheck. I can’t ring up my own books. But I am free to enter the shop, browse, and purchase books like any other customer. I am also free to enter any other store in the mall and browse and shop like any other customer. Because that’s what I am now: just another customer.

But, and apparently this needs to be clarified for some people out there, what my manager has explicitly not done is ban me. I am not banned from Waldenbooks or the mall.

Banning would be something else entirely. If, for instance, in my newfound customer status, I violated the rules and expectations of the Waldenbooks establishment, my manager might say that I was banned from patronizing the store. If I tried to enter the store again, the manager would call security to have me removed. I would not be able to enter even the public areas of the store, nor would I be able to make purchases and so forth. I would have lost the privileges associated with normal customer-hood.

Note that the manager of Waldenbooks is unlikely to have the power to ban me from the entire mall. There are dozens of other stores that I could easily patronize, should I so choose.

So you see, there is a world of difference between firing and banning. It pains me that this has to be spelled out for some people.

(And don’t even get me started on silencing.)

3 Responses to A brief primer for the dense

  1. Bronze Dog says:

    Well said!

    …I miss Waldenbooks.

  2. Derek says:

    So, call me dense, but I had no idea what you were referring to until the end. And even now I’m not so sure…

    … it’s the FreeThoughtBlogs thing, right?

  3. Doubting Tom says:

    I wouldn’t call you dense, Derek, especially if you haven’t been keeping up with the latest in the DEEEP RIIIIFTS. It’s specifically a response to Thunderf00t supporters who claim he’s been “banned from FreethoughtBlogs.” They are, in a word, mistaken.

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