A Letter To The General Public

Post by Teri @ Snarkfest

My fellow guests, customers, and travelers;  

I hope you don’t mind me mentioning this to you. I mean, you don’t even know me, but I couldn't help but overhear your conversation and I just felt compelled to speak up. You see, your flight was delayed, but it wasn't that poor man’s fault working the check-in counter at the gate. He had nothing to do with the flight being delayed. It’s not like he went out and unscrewed some nuts and bolts, or removed the airplane’s left wing as a joke. So why are you yelling at him? He doesn't deserve to have you all up in his grill over something that is completely beyond his control.




Or how about you, degenerate gambler who brought his paycheck to the casino? Did the cashier who just broke your last $50 FORCE you to spend it all in that slot machine? Why do you feel the need to give him a mean, nasty attitude? Why did you spend all your money? Just because YOU had a bad day, doesn't mean you have to make everyone around you just as miserable.

 Photo courtesy of Chicago now:  
http://www.chicagonow.com/lists-that-actually-matter/2012/01/top-5-awesomely-degenerate-super-bowl-bets-2/

I was at the social security office the other day applying for a replacement card for my oldest. And as they called each person in the queue up to be waited on, I continued to hear complaint after complaint. “Why didn't anyone tell us this??” “We didn't know we had to fill out that paperwork.” And no amount of sweetness or kindness from the customer service rep would appease these unhappy folks. So I made a point, when it was our turn, to try to be as nice and genuinely kind as I possibly could. I figured, I wasn't going in to solve a problem; I just needed a new card, just like the woman who waited on us probably needed a smiling face to deal with, for a change. And I also made it a point to explain this to my oldest daughter, so that she, too, can see that it’s always better to try to make someone’s day better instead of worse.

People working in the customer service industry don’t deserve to be treated like doormats. They’re doing a job. Sometimes it’s a thankless job, sometimes they have to deal with real asshats. And they usually have to smile and take all the crap that’s being dished out to them. ‘The customer’s always right.’ Bullshit. Let me fill you in on a little secret. When your grandmother said “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” she wasn't talking out the ass of her granny panties. She was telling the truth.

I worked in the customer service industry for many, many years in the casino biz. I worked around people who were at all-time highs winning jackpots, and all-time lows losing everything. I paid out winning Keno tickets to people who had to scrape together pennies to afford the $2 cost, and I watched millionaires lose thousands of dollars in slot machines, sometimes hundreds of thousands. It sometimes broke my heart to watch people, who I knew could not afford to be at the casino, continue spending dollar after dollar, chasing a jackpot that would never come. And some of those people were absolutely beautiful on the inside AND the outside. Always with a smile, win or lose. And I cringed as I watched people who could afford to light their cigars with $100 bills show nothing but disrespect to cocktail waitresses or dealers. Why? Why can’t people be nicer to folks who are just doing a job?

My point is this: the people who are waiting on you are NOT getting paid extra to take shit from you. And a simple smile and kind word goes SO much farther than a bad attitude and a scowl. Are there customer service reps out there that aren't very nice? Sure there are. And usually, they don’t hold those types of positions for very long. But for the ones who do try to make your experience as quick and painless as possible, take a moment to smile. Take a second to say ‘thank you, I really appreciate that’. You’d be absolutely amazed at how good not only you’ll make that person feel, but yourself as well. You’ll come away feeling a little better, and that’s never a bad thing.

Warmest regards,

Snarky

THE EPISTOLARIANS

7 comments:

  1. Love this. After years of waitressing I made a pact that I would never work with the public again. Sadly the people that are nice are few and far between the one's that feel they can be rude and cruel to others.

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  2. I've been in customer service. I know how it goes so I try to be as nice as possible. And if I have a problem I'm usually the one apologizing to them. With that said, though, yesterday I had the most horrific encounter with a lady at a tire repair shop.

    My mother and I were heading to Ocean City, NJ from Philadelphia when the air pressure in her tire went extremely low. We were relieved when after limping along on a quickly deflating tire we found Just Tires. Yeah... that relief didn't last long.

    When we explained what was happening to the lady at the front desk she was extremely unhelpful and gave us a major attitude. This was an emergency. We two panicked women in another state. We couldn't get to OC nor could we turn around and go home and she had the nerve to ask us if we could leave the car overnight. When we told her we couldn't she rudely informed us that they wouldn't be able to help us for TWO hours. The only thing wrong with the brand new tire was that it was leaking air and no one could look at it for two hours. We clearly were dressed for a party, we were from out of town and no one could just look at the tire and do something that would take 15 minutes - 30 tops - as an EMERGENCY. She wouldn't even ask one of the techs if they could just squeak us in.

    I had to hold my mom back a few times from throttling this woman. Needless to say, this morning, that store got a horrible rating from me and I sent a letter to the company. I know how to get my point across to the corporate people. But I think I should have let my mother at the person responsible.

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  3. You are so right! On rare occasions when I lost it, I try to at least add "...I know it's not YOUR fault but..." which I'm sure is a giant spoonful of sugar. My Customer Service experience was very special, as our clients were owners of pager stores in 90s, aka LOTS of drug dealers and pimps who ran beeper stores as a cover. I wish I had taken notes on those characters. I can't imagine a casino!

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  4. Too many people mistake customer service reps for pinatas. On the other side of the story, I know any time i've been in customer service, I've made sure the people who were nice to me got the best rooms, the lowest rates, and many other perks their grumpy counterparts did not.

    A little bit of honey.

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  5. I have worked in customer service for a long time and I always tried to greet people with a smile even if I was having a bad day. I know that when a customer chooses to yell at me it is usually something wrong with them and I have always tried to go out of my way to continue to be kind to them. You never know what someone is going through. However, you are right nobody is paid extra to deal with the crap that customer service personal often deal with. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. Bravo! Well said! Although its been a while since I worked in retail I do work in the professional world and I deal with a large amount of people both virtually and on the phone. I'm pleased to report that in the 3 years I've had my current job I've encountered itching but wonderful, respectful professionals. However, that does not translate to the customer service world. People are just jack holes out there! Is it really difficult to get off your stinking phone when ordering at Starbucks? How rude! You are basically sending the message that the person serving you is not valued enough for you to even acknowledge. Goof grief! Good for you for putting in the extra effort and teaching your daughter as well!
    Vicky
    http://thepursuitofnormal.blogspot.com/

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  7. Amen, lady, Amen. People are just MEAN. I see them every day yelling in the grocery store, at the bank, at the park. I want to say, "I'm sorry there isn't enough love in your life, but let's not take it out on everyone else, mmmkay?" but my husband makes me shut my trap. So glad you wrote this!

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Well now that you're all up in our business...what have you got to say for yourself???

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