Seven Reasons Why (Some) Security Guards Are so Irritable
A security guard in Orange County, Florida
My first knowledge of mall guards
My very first visit to a shopping mall was at the tender age of 15, the stupid, awkward, and no direction for my life age. I was just happy as could be at my parents agreeing to go with my sister and husband shopping in Florence, Ala., to take-in this “new” thing to our rural area: The mall.
When I set foot inside this “Mecca of Merchandise,” I felt the same thing that The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) felt in the Wizard of Oz upon realizing that he had a brain. Inside my young heart I was yelling, “Oh joy! Oh rapture!” That’s the neat thing about being able to converse with yourself at anytime of the day or night.
Since that ground-breaking event, I have visited malls of every design, shape, and location. I’ve visited malls alone, with my wife, with my wife and daughter or with a few friends when I was nearing adulthood and over the years I have kept in memory one thing that is common to all malls: Irritable mall guards.
This mall guard is sad due to the low pay
I respect the "Don't mess with me," look on guards' faces
Malls are not crime scenes
I kid you not. I only recall three out of many, many mall guards who did know how to smile and speak as they made their rounds. But the remainder were so serious-looking, stern, and wearing their “I mean business,” looks on their wrinkled faces. I used to believe that look was to send out vibes of intimidation to youngsters like me who are prone to get into trouble in malls, and to scare-off any gang member who was contemplating a meeting of him and his gang friends in front of the Orange Julius. Not a cool place for gangs.
The thought of these irritable and depressed-looking security guards working the malls never left me over the years and, funny how time has a way to remind you, I haven’t really took the time to understand the “why’s” of these good-hearted guys and girls who do such a great job and yet so unappreciated feeling the way they do.
"Why am I here?" might be what this security guard is asking
(Some) security guards only make minimum wage
I was scared for a moment
I share this example with you that I was privy to in the Regency Square Mall, Florence, AL. (Truth be told. I was sitting on a comfortable imitation wood bench).
Elderly customer: “Sir! Oh, sir!”
Guard: (irritated) “Yes, ma’am. What’s the problem?”
Elderly customer: “No problem, sir, I just . . .
Guard: “Well, what is it?”
Elderly customer: “I just wanted to know where the JC Penney store is located.”
Guard: “See that huge board down that way? The store is listed on that board.”
Guard walks away without asking if the elderly customer needed anything else. That one instance troubled me. Not much at first, but in the past few weeks, it has grown to be like a briar stuck in my foot and never removed—painful and makes my heart throb with pity toward the memory of the elderly woman.
"I know that I'm not a cop. That hurts."
I am only one person. Alone, I am helpless to do anything about this problem that is just below the vision of the owners and operators of these shopping malls.
Maybe there isn’t much even these people of power and riches can do about it. Maybe the problem is one that is unsolvable. All I know is that if that one guard got away with talking to that one elderly customer, he could get away with talking that way to more customers. And this is not a good representation of the mall.
So I am sharing some items below that might lead us all to some respectable amount of understanding of
“Seven Reasons Why (Some) Security Guards Are Irritable”
No wonder he hates his job
Did you know that these superstars used to work as security guards?
Eddie Vedder – Before touring the world as the lead singer of rock band Pearl Jam he held many odds and ends job to support himself while he perfected his music and established himself as the musician that he is today. He once worked as a contracted security guard at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, CA.
Joique Bell – The Detroit Lions running back actually gained the inspiration to pursue his NFL dream while he was a security guard. While working at Ford Field Joique ran into an NFL recruiter and asked if someone could go to the NFL if they played at Wayne State, the school he was currently attending. The recruiter responded, “If you’re good enough they’ll find you.” The rest is history.
Shad Gaspard – Before beginning his professional wrestling career Shad was actually a bodyguard to several rappers and celebrities including Puff Daddy, Brittany Spears, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Mike Tyson. Maybe his refined security skills helped him become “The Beast” for the WWE.
Rick Ross – The Hustlin’ star rhymes of a rough past and actually denied reports that he once was a prison guard in Miami before making it big time. Reports actually did link his social security number to a payroll at a prison. Nothing to be ashamed of Rick Ross!
Bruce Willis – The highly acclaimed actor grew to fame from a self-described blue collar family. After graduating from high school he reportedly took a job working as a security guard at the Salem Nuclear Power Plant in New Jersey.
Michael Clark Duncan –The recently deceased “gentle giant” best known for his role as the prison mate on The Green Mile started his Hollywood career as a celebrity security for stars like Martin Lawrence and Will Smith before being discovered and starting his own acting career. He joined a traveling show as a security guard and when the show landed in Los Angeles he decided to stay to pursue his dream of acting. Note: Duncan passed away, Sept. 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. He was 54.
Sheamus – Before his initial debut in the WWE Shemus was once a security guard. Now the reigning world heavyweight champion for the organization, he once did security for a nightclub. He occasionally did private security for Bono, Larry Mullen Jr. from U2 and Dennis van Oute
Steve Wilkos – He was once a police officer in Chicago. Then he went on to be a security guard on The Jerry Springer Show--to help keep order not back stage, but while the show was being filmed.
- See more at: http://www.guardnow.com/blog/celebrity-security-guards-did-you-know/#sthash.YuTQI97s.dpuf
These guards know in their hearts that they are NOT real police officers. This fact alone probably eats away at them every day.
Most mall security guards only make minimum wage and that can really make a person miserable for the amount of hours they work. Most shopping malls use contract security services and have their guards work for a set low price whereas the mall owners do not have to pay the high-prices for a professional security service. It’s all about business. What a shame.
Lack of respect by customers is evident. I have watched in anger as a gang of juvenile teens stood and made light of a couple of mall guards to their faces and the guards knew if they offended the teens, that they might get fired, so they just hung their heads and walked away from them.
Limited power is another reason for the guards’ depression. Example: A mall guard sees a shoplifter take a necklace from a jewelry store, but he can only use his walkie-walkie to summon the mall manager who in turn calls the “real” cops to make the arrest, but many times this takes so much time that the thief is long gone.
Guards having to do double-duty on the job really makes a security officer feel low. Some mall guards not only patrol the mall, but also picks up litter that some jerk has thrown on the floor. This is, to me, taking advantage of a person trained to spot lawbreakers. Now he or she has to double as a sanitation technician. And this is not a slam against sanitation tech’s.
Most of the security guards who work the malls have other jobs they have to do in order to make a decent living. I was talking to a mall security officer at the mall in Florence, AL., recently and I asked if being a security officer was his only job. He laughed and said that when he finished his shift at the mall, he was “the” only law enforcement officer (a real cop) that a nearby town (away from Florence), had to call on for patrolling their town at night. Working two jobs. I know that has to be wearisome.
Self-image counts for a lot of why these guards are mostly-depressed on the job. If this is the only job they have, the human ego must kick-in when they attend a school or family reunion and have to tell everyone, “I am a mall security guard.” And he tries to muster a smile. Then some jerk spouts off, “Oh, you are only a “rent-a-cop.”
I rest my case.
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The late Michael Clarke Duncan is only one of the many super-stars who once worked as security guards.
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