Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Customer Primer

Rule Number ONE: Don't be an ass!!!

Now if you are like most people, you might have thought I meant customer service primer, but I don't. My darling daughter started her first job this week—standard service counter job—providing customers with what they ask for, taking their money for it. Her second shift was on Monday. A lady came in, made her order, paid, daughter rang it up and then started making change... THEN the lady said “Oh wait. I have change.” This flustered daughter who was a bit nervous, not very confident about her math skills, and who then needed to calculate change in her head...

This moron proceeded to reprimant MY DAUGHTER about needing math skills for this job WHEN HER BADGE SAID TRAINEE. It wasn't a friendly jibe. It was rude. Mean, even.

Now the mama bear in me would like to track this woman down and thunk her in the head good. But instead, as supreme world leader in my Naked World Domination Plan, I am submitting to you:


To achieve PERSONHOOD, ALL people must work three years in the lowly, minimum-wage service industry. This includes but is not limited to: fast food, coffee counter, waiting tables, convenience store. It does NOT include high-end retail or sales. This is service to hundreds of people a shift payment, not six figure commission work.

Until such a time as a person has put in their three years in the service industry, they must have a chaperone to shop who is to thunk them in the head every time they are rude to service people. They will pay this chaperone well, thereby stimulating the economy, and they will pay double price, difference to be kept by mistreated people. If a person cannot afford to pay the chaperone, then the person must wear a badge reading:

“I am a pampered princess who's never had to work. Please correct me when I make an ass of myself as a customer.” and when they DO make an ass of themselves as a customer, they are to pay DOUBLE for their good or service, money to be claimed by the mistreated person. And they must then perform the grimiest task in the establishment.


I just can't believe somebody would be such a miserable lowlife as to give a hard time to a TRAINEE. For Pete's sake, encourage the bloody work ethic.

On the plus side, it was only one bad egg. Everyone else was nice. She likes the job. She is excited about earning money and being very responsible about it. I think it will be a good experience for her.

But in absence of supreme power, I am calling on all of YOU... if you see a pampered biotch or jerk giving a bad time to a young person who is working hard, PLEASE, tell them to cut them a break (in fact if you can do it without a fistfight, tell them they're an ass). Those of us who work for a living are the ones who hold this world up. Those who are just handed everything TAKE TAKE TAKE. They are a pox on us all.



Caledonia Lass said...

AMEN sister! My daughter got her first job this summer and was super excited about it. However, she comes home on a regular basis to tell us how people call her stupid and demean her when service doesn't go their way. Half the time, if an order gets wrong it is a group effort and she's just the messenger.
I've considered writing some letters to the editor of the local papers here to tell people to get over themselves. I've worked in the customer service industry over 15 years. I make a point of telling people to relax, I'm in no hurry, take a deep breath.
For whatever reason, people these days think they DESERVE to have the best service and it is their divine RIGHT to speak their mind when their idea of service is not met.
You know what I say? You don't like it, get your ass behind that counter and do it yourself.
Here's to us reaching Personhood! I'm more than happy to use force to make people nicer. ::Salutes::

Christine Murray said...

That's awful! I remember something similar when I started my first job at 15. She couldn't do the math in her head because she was afraid of messing it up because it's her first job and she's a trainee! She's nervous! Ugh, you have to a complete jerk to do that to a teenage trainee.

I agree though. Doing jobs like that made me realise just how hard it is to earn a small amount of money. Good life lesson right there.

Cruella Collett said...

Thank YOU! I have SO many bad customer stories that I won't even begin to share (I've even had the exact same thing happen to me when I was young and innocent, ahem..), so instead let me strongly endorse your initiative here. Yay for making bad/ignorant/mean people better people!

M.J. Fifield said...

I work in retail. I once had a man tell me I couldn't possibly be the manager because I was woman and women cannot be managers. I managed not to kick in his teeth...but just barely.

I absolutely love the rude person badge idea.

Old Kitty said...

I pledge allegiance to the Force of Supreme Nakedness to honour the code of using The Thunk as and when necessary with rude, mean, nasty and horrid people the world over. So help me. Amen.


p.s. YAY for your daughter!!!

Take care

ViolaNut said...

I love you. Totally reposting this. People really really really really piss me off. How hard is it to just be courteous and remember that, hello, just because we're wearing a stupid name tag doesn't mean WE'RE stupid. :-P

Jan Morrison said...

I think civility is gone gone gone! But, to be the devil's advocate, it has gone on both sides of the counter. I'm sure your daughter is a peach - she must be - she's your daughter - AND there are lots and lots of people on her side of the counter that aren't peaches. That won't take their gum out of their mouths or their mp3 buds out of their ears. Who mumble and sigh and say "I have no idea." when asked a perfectly reasonable question. I get it - I did my years in the trenches - way more than 3 yrs., and I know it is getting way worse - that they are definitely indentured, in a consumer ghetto and that agism is rampant. It too is rampant on BOTH sides of the counter. I'm not a dithery old lady - I just look like one. Inside me is someone who loves to connect and josh with the folks I meet in the day. I do have enough of the old lady in me to want the people working in places to know something, anything, about what they're selling.
My step-dot started her first job this summer - working at the market. I told her how to make change. She had no idea and thought it was the coolest thing ever. She hadn't been exposed to it because in most of the world (but not the market which is low-tech) no one needs to make change. It was so enlightening.
I love your mama bear nature, Tartlette. Give your baby bear a big squeeze for me and tell her work is so good - so excellent - the best thing - and I'm glad she's dived in.
Sorry for the ramble - I'm in a weird mood.

Stephen M. Swartz said...

On behalf of all monetary transactions involving the under-30s, I carry exact change at all times.
(You're welcome.)

Hart Johnson said...

Mel-you SHOULD write a letter! It is just so baffling to me, and yes, definitely in a restaurant it is a group effort! And even plain old service, if something is out of stock or a machine is broken--not the employees fault!

Christine-that is exactly it--situation changed and she got flustered.

Cruella-you and Leanne need to update your Bizarro World Customer experiences...

MJ-Oh, man-I admire your restraint there! I woulda thunked him in the head! Okay, so maybe my time as a waitress I showed similar restraint, but it can be really hard.

Jenny-Welcome to the force!!!

Leanne-yeah, that superiority thing is what bothers me most, I think.

Jan-you're right that it can come on both sides, though honestly, i think there are two real reasons--inadequate training and being treated poorly--it can be really hard to keep the chin up when the mistreatment is regular. there is definitely a cycle to it, though.

Hart Johnson said...

Stephen-very good of you! teehee. I generally say "wait, I've got change" before they enter it into the register.

Creepy Query Girl said...

she should come work in france. It's really really tough to fire someone in france without paying fines so service people pretty much work at whatever the hell pace they want and if you're rude- they are ruder and take forever to ring you up on purpose. And if you ask for the manager- he will always always side with his employee becuase, well, it's not like he can get rid of them easily. LOL

Tripping Tipsy said...

Good lord, people are douche bags. I went trough a stage where I refused to catch public transport because People - they're gross.

My first boss at 15 was bipolar. One minute she lived you, the next minute she was blaming you for something you didn't do and giving you the silent treatment for it. I called in sick ONCE in five years and she rang to check up on me and decided that because my mum (who had just gotten home from nightshift) didn't know I'd called in sick I must be lying and proceeded to "silent treat" me for it. Even when I produced the entrance forms for the hospital I'd been admitted to that night, I didn't get an apoplogy.

So customers and bosses both need to take some anti-douche medication, I reckon!

GigglesandGuns said...

I started in the service industry at 16 and spent many years there. Each year the people became more and more rude. Can't tell you how many times I wanted to smack people in the head for the way they treated my staff.
When they would jump me about a trainee and say they were to dumb to do a job a monkey could do I would offer them the opportunity to take the kids place and show us how it's done. Amazing how quiet they became.

Love that last line by the way ;o]

M Beth Vaughn

SP Sipal said...

As a mother, I'm wanting to track that woman down with you! It's so hard not to defend our babies when someone has treated them unfairly...even when they're not babies any more.

Johanna Garth said...

Ugh, that sucks! And on the first day too. I hope she wasn't too upset BUT it's a good lesson that in life there will always be jerks. The important part is to know how to deal with them. Still, poor baby!!

I love your service proposal initiative. I've already served my time as a waitress and, you're right, so many valuable lessons that couldn't be gleaned any other way.

Hart Johnson said...

Katie-is THAT where the French reputation for poor service comes from? I think the employees should behave well, TOO.

Krystal-that stinks to have things so unpredictable! i've seen managers do obvious favorites, but not that bad. And yes, Dr. Note should have been good for an apology.

Mary-love that as a method for putting them in line!

Susan-it is hard! I want so badly to out that woman, but I don't want my daughter to have repercussions.

Hart Johnson said...

Johanna-It IS important to learn to let stuff roll off, but yeah... you'd think the trainee badge would be helpful.

JohnnyB Dungeon Master said...

I started out with a paper route, remember back when the you had to collect your own money. I was always polite and helpful because those tips on collection day was very important. Had a few customers that made demands on delivery, but I would just smile and do it. After that is was under age busboy in a chines rester aunt(The Cathay House in Briarwood if anybody remember?. That was a lesson and a half. Then finally Farrells at 16. Learned a lot and worked hard. But I will always remember the line from hamburger, the motion picture, "We reserve the right to refuse service to assholes like you". Always kept me smiling when I had a nasty customer.

Michael Offutt said...

People taking a dump on other people for social status, privilege, or how big their waistline is has been happening since the first caveman. This is hardly new and though I applaud your efforts, your rant is pushing back the tide with a broom.

Marjorie said...

I worked at a Blockbuster video. Boy, people can be mean! I had a lady call me a bimbo once because I asked her about one of our promotions (which I was required to do). Oh and then there were the people who bitched and pissed and moaned about the fact that they had late fees. They knew if they turned in their movie late there would be fees and it was my job to stand at the register and ring them up and let them know they had fees(as if they didn't already know). That job was a freaking nightmare.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm nice to all the people I meet in customer service jobs. (And I try to cut them some slack.) I'll smile and tell them to have a blessed day and it's amazing how many of them come to life with a big smile.
Go find that woman, mama bear.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Now why would a person do that to any cashier? I'm good with math, but that would confuse me, too.

Tonja said...

In college I worked at a bank and gave $500 in cash to a woman who was actually depositing it. She stood in line again and whispered to me that I had messed it up, worried I would get fired.

I like to pay it forward and be nice to young people trying to do their jobs - especially if they are really trying. And when people give me money in error (they have), I stand in line to give it back.

Tonja said...

BTW, this would make a fun blogfest - I bet everyone has great stories about their first jobs.

Powdered Toast Man said...

I would of stuck the change right up her nose and said have a nice day.

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm with you. My first job was three years as a caterer/waitress when 16. I now tip good and am always respectful those in the service industry. I hope people get your message.

Adina West said...

So sorry your daughter had to go through that. And I have to say, when I visited the US some years ago, I was stunned by how rude some people are to anyone in a service position. Not that nobody is ever rude in Australia, but it seems we're a more egalitarian lot on the whole. Here's hoping for a little more decency, and a change in the way people think it's okay to treat each other. (Can you tell I've done my time at the lowly end of the pay scale?)