Sunday, October 7, 2012

Things Service Workers Don't Want to Hear

I know it's been a long time since I've updated this blog, but I've been busy not updating it. Anyway, here is a quick list of things that service workers don't want to hear. These are all based on either my own experiences or the experiences of coworkers and friends.

1. You Look Bored
        This is almost always said by a customer who has just walked up to a cashier who doesn't have a line, although it does happen in other situations. The problem with this is that most of the time, that cashier or other worker is NOT bored and he may just be catching his breath after a huge rush. It also makes the quite egotistical point that the service worker has nothing else to do but wait for you to grace him with your presence.

2. The customer is always right.
           While customer service is important. The customer is not always right. This line is most often used by customers who are clearly in the wrong and are trying to get the service person to break rules for them.

3. Customers first!
          This gem is normally a corporate policy which lets all the employees know exactly how little they mean to the company. A customers first policy often results in worse customer service than an associates/workers first policy that values the happiness of the employees which in turn results in the employees *wanting* to do a better job.

4. At least you have a job
           Because if you have a job in this economy, you no longer are entitled to be upset when the powers that be screw up your schedule, forget to pay you, or reduce your hours to 4 a week. Most service workers are grateful for their mostly low paying jobs, but that gratefulness should not be a blindness to be treated unfairly.

5. Why don't you have X?
              If you want to know why your local grocery store doesn't carry the organic nut free soy based carpet cleaner that you simply love and would buy tons of if only they had it, the reason is normally that there is no shelf space for it. Niche products are less likely to be carried. Why doesn't the restaurant you went to last night still have that amazing noodle free casserole with shark fins that you loved three years ago? Most likely, it wasn't a profitable menu item. More importantly though, the service person that you are asking about this likely has no input when it comes to what is sold there.     

6. I just need 5 minutes/ I just need to grab one thing/ I'll be quick 
           This and all of its variations are uttered by people who decide to wait until the place is either closed or about to close to decide that they need something. It's never quick, it's never one thing, and it's never just 5 minutes. Even if it was, you are keeping the workers there and often adding things to their job. You just want to get a pound of tuna salad from the deli and the worker is still there, so where is the problem? The problem is that now that worker has to either clean a spoon or grab a clean spoon which will have to be washed, get your tuna salad, weigh it on the scale which will have to be rewashed, and then go back to whatever they were doing before at least 2 minutes behind where they were before you had to have tuna salad. Now multiply that 2 minutes by at least 5 because there is always more people who also want to ignore the closing time. It's even worse for restaurants where they have to wait for you to finish eating to finish their cleaning.

7. Have you tried X?
          This one may just be me. I hate when someone asks me, "have you tried the potato salad?" No, I haven't and even if I had, why would you trust my opinion? How do you know that your tastes match mine? Even if we do have similar tastes, how can you be sure that I'm not just pushing a particular item because it's close to the expiration date?

8. You must love working here/You must hate working here
          This is one of those no win situations for the service worker. Sure, you love shopping at Hippy Dippy Dotted Dodads and they have the best dodads ever and you can't see how anyone could not love working there. However, Georgie is just working there because it was the only place that would work with her school hours and while she thinks that the dodads are awesome, the customers can be real pigs and it often takes her three hours to put all the dodads back where they belong after the store closes. If she tells you that she doesn't love working there, then you get defensive and demand an explination as to how she can be so dead inside. The inverse also happens. You hate going to Melly's World of Pig Bellies. It is always crowded and it smells like pork, people must hate working there. However, Greg loves working at Melly's because he is actually putting his degree in pig belly theory to use. He loves the challenges of a busy workplace presents, he loves meeting new peoplem, and sharing his interest in pig bellies with others. The smell was a bit much for him at first, but he's gotten used to it. If he tells you that no, he doesn't hate working here, you respond as if he is insane. How can anyone's opinion differ from yours? It's unfathomable.

9. Why is this so expensive?
        The service worker to whom you are complaining likely has no influence whatsoever regarding the prices of things. If it is too expensive for you, don't buy it, complain to corporate. Don't berate the service worker because you think that battered monkey feet should only $4.32 a pound instead of the $5.73 a pound that corporate set.

10. Anything religious or political
            You have opinions regarding religion or politics. Good for you, share them with your friends or debate them online with total strangers, or anyone who has a choice in the conversation. Don't try to force a service worker into a conversation that could potentially end with her being fired. Most places now have policies that the worker must be friendly towards you, even if you are spewing political or religious diatribe at them.