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Happy to Help. Or…Not.

08/18/2016

Lately I’ve been receiving weird customer service, which has caused me to say old-lady things like, “This shit’s really going downhill” and “Back when I worked customer service that bullshit wouldn’t fly.” I’m not saying the customer is always right.  I might even be high maintenance, I don’t know. But what I am saying is, as a customer, I’m a pain in the ass for wanting the thing the business offers, things like food and groceries.

So this happened at a restaurant recently. I wanted to sit at a table, order food, have the food brought to me, maybe drink a beer, and of course, be a good tipper, as I tend to do whenever I go out because, hello, I lived the dream of restaurant work for 14 years, so I know how bad it can suck. But it’s like I’m bothering them by wanting these aforementioned things, because I guess before I got there with my intrusive desire to be led to a table, they were talking. And now, they have to like, stop talking and work.

There is this trend to make the customer do the job, unpaid, while the workers can look at their phones and resent the customer’s presence.  I get it. Self-service, self check, seat yourself; it’s not like it’s new. I’m just saying, it could be going too far. That kiosk at the table, for example, where I have to order my own dessert and run my own credit car, is too much. For all that work, do I get free trivia games? No. I have to pay for that. Last time I used that thing, I started thinking about how people surreptitiously install credit card reader identity theft dealios at gas stations and ATMs. Those people at least probably wear dark hoodies and brave the elements. But now someone can do it while eating a breadstick and drinking a Bellini. Am I paranoid? Yes, I think so.

So at the restaurant, I wanted a beer. I asked the server about a certain kind of beer that I did not find on the menu, the name of which I could not remember, that I had last time I was there. And he said, “Let me make it easy for you, the beers are listed here.” Then he tapped the menu, like I’m too dumb to find the alcohol on a menu. I think “let me make it easy for you” might have been this guy’s code for “hey dumbass,” but I let it go because I really wanted a beer and this guy was like the gatekeeper. Although maybe soon that will be my job too, the beer getting. I ordered a Blue Moon and the guy disappeared. Then, a minute later, he returned with this line: “I gotta be honest with you, your beer rung up as a Blue Moon but it’s really gonna be a Shock Top, which is pretty much the same thing.”  Really?  Shouldn’t I, the drinker of this beer, be the judge of the sameness? This “I gotta be honest with you” thing led me to wonder, were you gonna lie to me? Did you have some kind of moral struggle, during which, after weighing the pros and cons, you decided to just come clean? Thanks for your honesty man, you are a GOOD person. Back in my day (the geezer said), we said things like, “I’m sorry, we are out of Blue Moon, but we do have Shock Top, would you like that instead?”  Not this guy.

So here’s another example of weird customer service. We went to the store that has been advertising all over the radio that they have Hatch green chilies and they will roast them for you. Now normally I roast my own New Mexico chilies, but it’s about 500 degrees outside and I feel lazy. So at the store and I asked the guy outside, who was standing in a roped-off area surrounded by cases of chile and a roaster, if we could get a box of roasted chilies. He wiped the sweat off his brow with the hand not holding the lighter and said, “Welllllll…” Like he was not roasting anything at all. Like he was just outside on a break and someone set this whole thing up around him without his knowledge. I waited him out while he played all hard to get about the chilies. “ Ya…,um….. I guess I can put you on the list”  he finally said. Okay, cool. I asked when we could pick up the chilies. And he actually said, “I’m not sure, a few hours at least because you have people before you on the list and sometimes the people after you will want theirs right away.” Say what? So in order to get my chilies sooner I have to what, stand here and bully you into doing my order before the five people on the list before me?  When I worked in a very busy coffee shop in Albuquerque, never did I tell a customer “I know you got here first but the guy behind you in line can be a real dick if he doesn’t get what he wants right away, so I’m gonna need you to wait while I take his order first,  K?” No. No. No.

All I’m saying is, I just want to go places and not feel like I’m putting people (the paid people) OUT by wanting the shit they sell. That’s all.

Reading:

Fahrenheit 451

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight (very fun and actually kind of enlightening)

Books downloaded from the library that might get to:

1984

Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie Bockman permalink
    08/18/2016 3:39 am

    The Interestings is good.

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