When it comes to professions, First Responders and the military are usually the first to get praised. It makes sense. They put their lives on the line every day to keep us all safe and, in doing so, they’re forced to see the worst of humanity. I, for one, try to thank them when I can for the sacrifices that they make on our behalf.
The people that I’m thinking of don’t quite go through that, but they do have to look upon a very ugly side of humanity every day…. customer service workers.
I worked at Walmart for 11 years. In that time, I was verbally abused hundreds of times (almost always for something that I had absolutely no control over) and was forced to see things that have scarred me for life. I’m trying to think of the stupidest thing that I got yelled at for, but there’s too many to choose from. So, I’ll pick the first one that comes to mind.
I was once cussed out by a woman because I declined a tip from her. I politely explained that accepting tips was against company policy, and, since my manager was standing within sight, I couldn’t take it. She flew off the handle, cussing up a storm and telling everyone within earshot that I was horrible at my job (despite the fact that only moments ago I had done so well that she wanted to give me a gratuity). As much as I wanted to say it, I stopped myself from snapping, “I’m sorry for not taking your tip, lady, but your $3 isn’t worth me losing my fucking job!” The manager heard the commotion, came to investigate and told the lady that I was right to refuse her. She then started cussing him out and he had security escort her out of the building.
And that’s just one example… From me…. I’m sure everyone who works in customer service has at least one story just like it.
I am thankful that I don’t have to go through that on a daily basis anymore. I’m not sure I could put up with the general public for 40 hours a week now.
I still see it, though.
Any time I go into a store, there’s a chance that I’ll see some poor customer service workers get abused by asshole shoppers for things that are not their fault. Like the experience I had yesterday, for example.
A woman in front of me at the grocery store was trying to pay for her items, but the card reader wasn’t liking the chip in her credit card. So, what does she do? She starts getting really shitty with the cashier. After the third time it couldn’t read the chip, the reader went to its backup, the magnetic strip on the back of the card. This only further angered and confused the woman. “This stupid machine says to swipe my card. What does that mean?”
“It means to swipe your card, you dumb bitch.”
Ok, nobody actually said that. But, I wanted to. If I wasn’t so sure that the crazy woman was going to attack me if I did say it, I probably would have. Instead, I just laughed at her stupidity. She either didn’t hear me laughing or didn’t think I was laughing at her because she paid me no attention. Then again, she was still awfully busy being rude to the cashier, who has no control over the card readers or the chip in that lady’s credit card.
When it was finally my turn to pay, and the woman had walked away, I congratulated the cashier for being polite throughout the whole episode. The cashier was a young woman, either still in high school or a recent graduate (I’d say somewhere between 17-19). I don’t know how she has the patience to put up with that at her age. If someone did that to me when I was that age, I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep my mouth shut.
Now that I’m older, I’ve found that a lot of the people who throw these tantrums actually want to make the cashiers/store employees snap back at them. It gives their arguments more credence when they try to get free stuff out of the store’s management team. So, towards the end of my tenure at Walmart, whenever I got an extremely rude or obnoxious customer, I made sure to always be as polite as I could possibly be. Not because I needed to keep my job (although that factored in a little), but because being nice to them always seemed to make them even more angry.
So, please, the next time you’re at the store, make sure you are kind to the people working there… unless of course they’re rude to you first. In that case, to hell with them.