seven years of customer service: the peaks and pits
"Hi what can I get for you today? Coffee? Great, I guessed that. But like. Black? White? Half strength extra hot decaf cappuccino with one third foam and cinaamon on top? Cool and what size was that? All our sizes are in full view of you right here in front of me or on our coffee machine. Yep and we do hot chocolate. Have here or takeaway? Lovely here you go, have a nice day!! What's that now? Is there sugar in it? Sorry I didn't realise you'd asked for it! Oh you didn't? Well that'll be why there's no fucking sugar in it Sharon! Thanks for making a mess when you could have just asked me to put sugar in for you! Bye now!"
Fuck so I typed out this whole post, thought I'd copied and pasted, went to a new window and I hadn't I'M DONE I hope when I re-edit the shambles that is my notes this post is half as good as the one I WAS GOING TO SHARE.
This coming week marks the end of my time in customer service (for now, who knows what will happen in my life.) I'm slowly but surely ticking off my goals for the year, one of which, the biggest one, was getting a new job. I've worked in customer service for about seven years now, and I know your job doesn't define you but it's a big part of me. It's character building, it's really fucking hard work, the pay sucks, and it's thankless (literally, because some people just don't know how to use their damn manners.)
It's not been all bad, I've made some amazing friends, been proud of myself, kissed in the stock room, laughed til I cried, bettered people's days, grown in confidence, met the boy I love, and allegedly make 'the best flat white at Wellington Airport.'
On the flip side, I've also experienced poo explosions (not mine, can confirm,) climbed literal mountains of rubbish, been yelled at and called names and constantly talked down to, spent hours on my hands and knees scrubbing, had every manner of thing spilled on me, and worked disgusting hours for too many days in a row, for equally disgusting pay.
I'm ready for a change, but I'm also nostalgic. So here we have my peaks and pits and odd thoughts from a lifetime (since I could work) in customer service. My pet peeves and the best feelings. Day makers and day ruiners. Enjoy xx
- Any time an old man takes a thousand years to count out his coins to pay me and calls it 'getting rid of his shrapnel' and I have to force laughter
- When it takes ten thousand years to drag someone's order out of them. OR when they order and then get their food and realise that when I asked them if that was 'just the burger by itself' and they said yes, that they. fucked. up. Because you wanted fries and a drinks but you didn't SAY THAT AND WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME?
- The time this woman who always ordered 6 nuggets but would always complain at the drive thru window that in fact she ordered 10. One day she was the last straw on an absolute shitter of a day and I aggressively pulled the fingers at her- both hands, waving around,I think my tongue even poked out. Her son saw me in the rear view and dobbed me in. I didn't even get in trouble because everyone else at work hated her too.
- Making friends, the best part about any job. They're fleeting but strong, you'll probably end up drifting apart but there's no stronger bond than two people who hate their job and the general public and it gets stronger when you party together. At times laughing til my tummy hurts with my mates at work has been the highlight of my day and it really pisses me off when management tell us not to talk because excuse me we are doing our job (and well, I will add) at the same time and my condolences that you don't have friends or fun ever.
- Any time I have ever said hey how's it going to a customer and been straight up ignored, guess I'll go fuck myself then!!
- My favourite peak yet- when your workplace crush becomes your real life love. I first met Rex when he ordered coffee (large mocha, no marshmallows) from me and I still remember he made an impression on me because in my humble opinion the boy is beautiful. I never saw him much as I worked part time while I was studying and usually morning shifts, but earlier this year I started working full time at the airport we both work at. It started with a few smiles when he'd walk by work, some small talk through smoke clouds, a mutual love of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and before long we were inseparable and sickeningly in love. If I'd never taken that full time position I really didn't want to take I might never have ended up where I am, so yeah. Peak. My heart feels fuzzy now.
- When people are grateful that I go out of my way for them. I always try to do my best to help people out when they're in a pickle because you never know, you could be in that situation one day too and I would very much like it if someone did the same for me. Also karma definitely exists.
- This one lady who would come in every weekend and pick a fight with anyone over ANYTHING. We had the same fight every weekend and thank god my shifts changed and I haven't seen her since, I hope whoever she is terrorising these days is coping.
- This is so petty, but any time a mother with a fresh baby comes up to me and asks me to use milk or hot water up to a certain level of the baby's sipper bottle and makes me re do it if it's like 5ml off and doesn't buy anything? Yeah nah BYE stay at home and do it yourself if you want it done right. Seems harsh but you try having it happen to you daily.
- Omg speaking of staying home one time this lady insisted that no one like espresso coffee and why didn't we do instant coffee. "It's not that hard to just keep a box of nescafe behind the counter" FUCK OFF Carol literally no one has ever asked me for instant before nor have they since fucking BYO if you want some that bad.
- Throwing up during the day and in the gutter on the way to a morning shift because you're still drunk phrwww I don't miss being under 21 ay
- Related: when you and your co worker are both hungover af and dying on a fragile Sunday
- Bonding over your hatred of people and management with your co workers. No stronger bond than two people who hate the same things.
- When you get your pay check after pulling twice as many hours as everyone else and it makes you cry because you're so fucking tired and yet so fucking broke and it just starts again next week. Like I don't wanna be rich I just don't want to cry on my way home from the supermarket because I can't afford bananas y'know?
- When people say nice things to you. It's only ever one in a million customers but it really makes you feel good about yourself so every time I get fantastic service I try and be extra grateful or say something nice cos yknow it can make all the difference! For fucks sake, no matter what's gone on in your day or how bad you absolutely can't bring yourself to smile or how stressed you are. use your manners, crack a joke, laugh, try to make their job easier because it really can make the difference between the girl behind the counter running to the bathroom to cry or putting a real smile on her face for the first time all day.
- The day you realise that if you hate where you are, change it. I don't know. Working in customer service is really humbling. You realise one day when you're complaining about being broke yet working so hard, that the world doesn't owe you shit. If you're not happy where you are only you can change that.
I'll miss it in a weird way. As I was writing this, I realised that I could barely remember the things that used to infuriate me from my first job, so if you're struggling now just know that in five years time your constantly, quiet rage will quietly go away and you won't answer to 'darling' automatically and you won't be triggered by the shrill sound of an 'excuse me!'
As always, thanks you for reading and please oh please hit me up with your customer service peaks and pits because there's nothing I relish in more than a shitty customer being EVISCERATED online by a disgruntled hospo or retail worker. I think I'll always be a bitter hospo worker at heart.