Babysitting demanding, fickle strangers.

10 Jun

As some of you may know, I work in hospitality. It’s a food franchise and while I don’t ask people whether they’d like fries with that, I do spend an awful lot of my time apologizing to customers for things that are utterly out of my control.

Today Yesterday was already not going well¹ when a customer raised his voice at me, as I was trying to explain that he could use some of his rewards on what he was ordering, because we dare charge him for (item). “It’s a disgrace!” he ranted and stalked off, mid-order. He came back a minute later, started to bark at me some more, so I had to raise my voice to ask whether or not he wanted to use his (fucking) rewards on what he was, in fact, ordering.

We deal with assholes like this all the time. Mind you, it’s thankfully not the majority of our customers, perhaps no more than a handful per shift–but being treated like a subhuman entity about once every hour and a half can seriously impact a person’s outlook on humanity.²

And then, just meandering around the internet, I found this comic by the one and only The Oatmeal (click on the image or title to read the full comic):

Tipping and Tooting

Tipping and tooting by The Oatmeal

Got it in one.

~ * ~

¹ I work for a company where a 20 year old who has had no training gets hired on salary because he got pregnant a girl who is the darling–I’m not sure how or why, and I don’t much care to know, frankly–of a guy five levels up, and they don’t want her or her baby to do without. Meanwhile, after 30 months of promises, I’m still an hourly, and since now we have FIVE salaried managers for a store that can support a max of three, my hours are getting cut. The final irony: I am left in charge of the place, supervising the crew and dealing with whatever issues arise, at least four full shifts a week, while he can’t either open or close on his own (see: no training).³

² I am now a confirmed misanthrope–thank you, customers, I owe it all, and my incipient ulcer too, to you.

³ Lest someone decides to sue me later, allow me to point out that this paragraph is my opinion on how things work at this place and as such I am free to express it here.

3 Responses to “Babysitting demanding, fickle strangers.”

  1. Lori 11/06/2013 at 12:27 PM #

    I freaking love that comic. And isn’t it the truth?

    I always wonder how many people realize after they’ve acted like a total wad just what they did and why.

    Customer service is the hardest job in the world and only because of the customers.

    • azteclady 11/06/2013 at 3:23 PM #

      Honestly? I don’t think they do. I think for most people who haven’t been on the other side of the counter, once you put on a name tag, you relinquish your personhood and your humanity.

  2. Lea 13/06/2013 at 4:37 AM #

    I too loved the comic. Wish I had it when I was doing Customer service. Admittedly I was in a call centre and didn’t have to face customers but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t make you feel small and worthless after their tirade.

    We had all the usual suspects call in – the heavy breathers, the irate parents who couldn’t understand why we let their children rack up huge bills ringing 1900 numbers, lonely people who just wanted to have someone chat to at night… it was a joy (not!) I even had a woman threaten to have me exposed on national television on a current affairs show because I wouldn’t give her the information. She wasn’t the account holder and I explained because of privacy laws, I couldn’t tell her anything without the AH consent. The fact that she herself was a lawyer just topped it off. In the end she got me so worked up I threw down my headset and walked off.

    It wasn’t always bad of course and the happy and chatty customers made the days or nights bearable. Especially when working on Christmas Day! I’d like to think I learnt something from my time, having been on the receiving end. Now when I call I like to make sure I have pen and paper handy, other info as required and patience. Having had to calm someone down after being on hold for 40 minutes isn’t easy, so when someone does that to me I try to understand I’m not their one and only customer and expect that they are there to be at my beck and call.

    Then again you get the ones you just want to reach through the phone and strangle with the cord… 🙂

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