For the last time, there’s no more out back.
At some point, everybody has probably worked in customer service. Whether to put yourself through college, support your travel habit, or a money spinner between acting, modelling, and writing gigs, customer service is the staple income of many a budding professional.
However, despite the flexi hours and not-horrible pay, working in customer service can be a little, well, trying at times. From plugging incomprehensible products in a call centre to ushering weak-bladdered geriatrics at a theatre (guilty), you’re going to encounter the very worst of humanity.
Although navigating your way through a sea of social perplexity can be hilariously satisfying, it (sadly) opens your eyes to just how sloppy the human species can be. Here are 18 soul-crushing things people who work in customer service know to be true…
1. Humanity bites
Working in customer service for any length of time will teach you human beings actually suck. Sure, the cute guy who winked and tipped you well might make you think otherwise, but don’t be fooled. There’s a good chance he thinks you’re actually a stripper (yes, this happened to a friend of mine).
2. The customer is not always right
Whoever coined the phrase, ‘The customer is always right’ clearly never worked customer service. To endow everyone from every sub-strata of humanity with some sort of divine authority just because they happen to be buying something is a recipe for annoying megalomaniacs convinced they should get their jumbo-sized pack of toilet paper for free simply because it didn’t scan.
3. People are inherently unhygienic
It’s frightening how many people will openly pick their noses, and then tap you on the arm for assistance with the same finger. Before they’ve wiped it.
4. Customers just won’t listen. To anything.
Kids in prep school follow instructions with more conviction and smarts than grown adult customers. Just nod, smile, and go to your happy place while you tell them for the eighth time if it’s not on the shelf, it means you’re sold out.
5. Passive aggression is sweet relief
Customer service workers learn early on they can say literally anything they want, as long as it’s done with charm and class. When employees flash those pearly whites and use creative language, they get away with implying a customer is the most undesirable human being since Voldemort.
6. Sarcasm is a learned skill
You don’t know sarcastic until you’ve worked in customer service. Employees are professional sarcasm slayers; trained to suss out sass in each and every customer they encounter. There is honestly nothing you can try that we haven’t dealt with before. So just stop.
7. People argue for the sake of arguing
There are people in this life who love to argue for no other reason than, well, they love to argue. They all inevitably come into contact with customer service employees at some point. And when they do; put your feet up and pass the popcorn. It’s gonna be one helluva fight.
8. Parents will lie through their teeth for their kids
Especially in venues like theatres, and even more so when there are other parents to compete with. It is a fruitless exercise to ask for a booster cushion for your 15 year-old son. Any usher with half a brain will see your kid is pretty much adult size; lying about his age actually won’t help. Next!
9. You will resort to eating off the floor
Not gonna lie; if someone leaves an unopened or nearly full packet of candy anywhere in the venue and nobody claims it, customer service workers will probably eat it. Shift work is hungry work, people!
10. Resistance is futile
It doesn’t matter how ridiculous the argument, how rude the arguer, or how unreasonable the demand, customer service employees have to listen to every single word. But beware; they’ve got a string of stinging comebacks in their arsenal guaranteed to dismantle any potential point a customer thinks they have. Game on!
11. There is a good chance someone will complain about you
Much like how people argue for the sake of arguing, people will also complain just because they can. Looking at a customer in slightly the wrong way, like a glance of bewilderment as they try to eat three choc-tops at the same time, can amount to a full blown managerial investigation. Uugghh…
12. Lies are part of the game
Working in customer service makes you prone to lying. Whether to diffuse a situation or because the answer isn’t apparent and getting it wrong won’t cause anybody to die, employees are going to tell some whoppers here and there.
13. Irregular hours can destroy the soul
Customer service involves shift work. Shift work involves irregular hours. And irregular hours involve sleep deprivation, the destruction of alarm clocks, and far too much coffee. But hey, any excuse for more coffee!
14. Babies cease to be cute
Babies are absolutely adorable. But when an army of them scream through your place of employment every day, they tend to lose their charm. There are only so many times the song Let It Go can diffuse baby tension before it becomes unbearable.
15. Solidarity in the face of distress
One good thing about working customer service is always knowing your buddies have your back. If a customer rides in squealing like Attila the Hun about not getting so-called value for money, coworkers join forces like a fortress to deflect the demon. Be gone, foul spirit, before we get security on your tail!
16. Crying on shift is perfectly normal
Any customer service employee grows a thick skin pretty quickly. However, there’s always that one customer who sends the toughest worker running into the back room with a block of chocolate and a box of tissues.
17. Sometimes a smile can change your whole day
No matter how frustrating, bewildering, or perplexing customers can be, there is always that one person who smiles, says thank you, and wishes you a lovely day. Those are the gems; the treasured customers workers remember for the rest of the month, and then bring up at the Christmas party while teary-eyed and cuddling a mystery cocktail. To the gems; we salute you!
Images via reddit.com, tumblr.com, pinterest.com and giphy.com.
Comment: What’s you biggest pet peeve about working in customer service?