I used to be a Customer Service Supervisor and Manager. Before I chose to stay at home with my kids and do ten times what I used to do that generated a paycheck I worked doing a lot of different jobs that applied to management, anything from Restaurant Management to Call Center Management. I worked really hard at trying to keep my customers and my employees happy and prided myself on being fair and exacting, consistent and personable. These are all traits that all managers should have but lets face it, for those of you out there working, these qualities rarely come all bundled together. I was not a perfect manager but I am a people person and working with people allowed me to focus on my ongoing comedy routine.
I have a good friend that used to work for me at an Internet Service Provider in the late 90's - you know who you are - and she has always been one of my biggest fans. She calls me occasionally with nightmare Customer Service stories that make me laugh, gasp and swear, sometimes they sound like stories that only happen in books or movies but they happen nonetheless. She and I have always wanted to keep a list of the worst offenders so that people know to avoid those companies and maybe someday we'll get the list off the ground. In the meantime, here is a short list of the things that make us crazy.
1) Companies (like Target) that let their employees smoke outside the front of their stores so that everyone who enters has to first walk past the tired and pasty looking folks that are slumped on the benches out front sucking down that last cigarette that will help them get through the shift they are scheduled for.
2) Companies that require you to give an explanation for why you are returning items. Who cares why I'm returning it, you have a return policy and I am returning it, give me back my money.
3) Retail stores (like TJ Maxx and Marshalls) that have one line for returns and 6 lines for purchases. Because these companies resell clothes that have holes in them, the returns line is always longer than the purchasing line. (read my previous blog titled Fashionista for a clear explanation of what I'm talking about here)
4) Sales people that shout out "Next in Line please!" when there is no line established or clearly marked. Mayhem.
5) People that sidebar conversations while they work, such as when you are buying a t shirt for $6.99 and you have to listen to Mary detail her night out on the town and how "twisted" she got and how the "hook up" was not unplanned. I don't care if you don't ask me how I'm doing or if I've found everything I'm looking for, I don't want to hear about your Saturday night out on the town.
6) The people that stand at the front door of Walmart and say over and over "Welcome to Walmart, Welcome to Walmart, Welcome to Walmart" in a monotone and bored tone. They really could care less if you are at Walmart and are only paid to stand there and say "Welcome to Walmart" and would be better suited to to collect shopping carts or work one of the two cash registers in use even though they have 32 of them standing empty for some reason.
7) When I am at the movies and I ask for a Medium sized popcorn for $12.99, I know full well that a Large is only 50 cents more but I only want a Medium, so pointing out that for only 50 cents more I can get a Large which comes with free refills still hasn't convinced me to change my mind.
8) This one appeals to the parents out there that take their kids shopping and then release them once they have entered the store to run around and generally treat the store like a daycare center. You will find these kids ripping into packages that are supposed to stay closed, you have them popping out from under the racks of clothes because they are playing hide and seek. You have them chasing each other around displays because lets face it, their parents are shopping and they are children which means they hate shopping. Parents, seriously, find a park or a play area and take your kids there. I end up leaving these stores quickly because I find myself wanting to trip these children when they run past or complain to the manager.
9) When you call me on the phone and you start to read in a monotone voice, "Hello, my name is Trish and I am calling you today Mrs. McKee, McKay, McKoo, to tell you that we have a wonderful offer for you . . . " try to sound like you are not reading. I already know I am not buying what you are offering but at least try to convince me that you know what you are selling and not reading a script just handed to you. When you go to a fine dining restaurant and you ask what the specials are (aka the stuff the kitchen is trying to get rid of before it rots) the server always tries to beef it up for you rather than pull out a paper and read. Sell the product you are selling or find a job that doesn't include reading.
10) The tour de force for me is Counting Back Change. What happened in schools and jobs and homes that involves not teaching people to count back change? If for some reason the price rings up as $12.73 and I give the sales person a $20 and at the last minute I find 23 cents and they have already entered the $20 into the computer and opened the cash drawer, that 23 cents can actually shut down a grocery line. This requires a call to be put out to the floor for a manager. And then we have to wait for the manager to bring the void key. And then there is an explanation. And then they have to actually rescan the item and enter the $20.23 and now I just want to put my item back and leave the store because the employee doesn't know basic math and the company didn't bother to teach their employee how to count back change. Shocking.
I can tell you that I don't see a lot of Now Hiring signs out there in store windows and local businesses. I know that unemployment numbers are very high. And when a good job gets posted in a newspaper or online, sometimes hundreds show up to interview. Companies that are doing the hiring can be choosy now, they just had 20 people show up for the job of the Walmart Greeter - so get picky and train that person well!
Stop making me crazy.