'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
I SWEAR CUSTOMER SERVICE JOB IS A PAIN
To: all customer service personnel in America
From: a customer
Please donít take this as a complaint. The last thing I want to do is sound like Iím complaining because, frankly, that is the subject of this letter: complaining.
Look, I understand. Iíve worked in some sort of customer service capacity for more than half of my life. Over the years Iíve served food, worked the cash register, taken orders over the phone, made deliveries, etc. I know what itís like. I know it is very hard work. And I know that at various times during the work dayópossibly every single moment of the work dayóyou are tired and frustrated and you pretty much hate your job.
That having been said, however, I would just like to point out that as a customer, I absolutely canít stand it when you complain about how much you hate your job right in front of me.
The other morning on my way to work I stopped by a franchised retail establishment, which shall remain nameless, and ordered my usual medium black coffee and a glazed cruller. Before I could finish saying the word ďcruller,Ē the person behind the counter taking my order turned away and yelled across the room to another employee, ďYeah, if he thinks Iím coming in at (swear word) 5 a.m. every day this week, he can shove it up his (slang word for a part of the human anatomy)!Ē
Then she turned back, looked at me as if I were a pile of dog (swear word), and snapped, ďWhadja say?!Ē
I have to admit, the entire scene made me so uncomfortable, I almost couldnít eat my glazed cruller. (No, Iím kidding. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. Everyone knows that even if I were in a coma inside a full body cast, I could still wolf down a glazed cruller without any trouble.)
Itís a fact that retail establishments which are open from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. seven days a week have a great deal of difficulty getting people to work all those odd hours. And itís a fact that if an employee is a wimp and doesnít speak up, he or she will probably get stuck with the really lousy shifts.
So I understand that you donít want to be dumped on by the boss. You should speak your mind, and maybe even use that same vivid locker room language while discussing it with your boss. But please, for heavenís sake, do it in private! Donít air your dirty laundry in front of the whole (swear word) store.
Now, please donít take my advice just because Iím a customer. Iíve worked in many places with that annoying sign hanging on the wall: ďThe Rules of this Company: 1) The customer is always right. 2) If the customer is wrong, see rule number 1.Ē
We both know thatís a crock of (swear word). The customer is not always right. Customers can be demanding and rude. Customers can give you an ulcer and can, I know from painful experience, suddenly declare bankruptcy and walk away from the $50,000 they owe you. Oh yeah, the customer is definitely not always right.
Donít listen to me because Iím a customer. Listen to me because itís simply the right thing to do. If you take my advice and stop complaining in front of the customers, I promise three things will happen. First, youíll feel better. Trust me, acting like a jerk in public doesnít get it off your chest, it just gives you another thing to feel guilty about.
Second, youíll have a much better chance of becoming the boss someday (and experience the joy of having employees swear at you!).
Finally, if you stop complaining, one of these days I just may give you a tip. But donít hold your (swear word) breath. After all, Iím a pain-in-the-(slang word for a part of the human anatomy)-customer.
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