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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Customer Is Always...

Since I’ve been in the business of Customer Service for about 32 years, give or take a few years, I feel as if I have the right (and the responsibility) to provide a few pointers to you customers out there on how not to piss off your customer service providers or your fellow customers. That’s right, because sometimes you are so self-absorbed that you irritate other customers.

You think it’s not your problem? You think that you’re always right? Weeeelllll, let me tell you, you are not. Sometimes you’re not only wrong, you are DEAD wrong. Sometimes you are stupid and rude. Sometimes we call you some very mean names after you’ve walked out of the door. Sometimes we wish very bad things upon you. You reap what you sow, people!

I’ve had poor customer service, but I have never been rude to that person. Really, never! Not even a little bit. Because that person is a PERSON. Being rude to PEOPLE is not nice. Why am I stressing the fact that these are people? Because sometimes, you customers treat us as if we’re not people. You are disrespectful to us. So first and foremost, remember that the person ringing up your purchase is just that, a person.

In no particular order, here are some other things that we customer service providers want to let you know.

1. When we say “hello” or “good morning” or some other greeting, it would be appropriate for you to respond in kind. When I say “hello” and you say “Large Coffee” that is not polite.

2. However, when we say “hello” or some other greeting, it’s just a greeting, not an invitation for sex. We are not flirting, we are being polite. If I want to have sex with you, I will be more direct. But unless we're in a strip joint, don't hold your breath.

3. If you haven’t bathed or brushed your teethe in the last week or your clothes are standing up on their own, you probably stink. And spraying half a bottle of cologne on yourself isn’t fooling anyone. If I step back from you, or blow a fan toward you and away from me, take a hint and hit the showers. You make me want to vomit.

4. With only the rarest of exceptions, the person at the register did NOT set the prices. Telling me that the price of one of our products is too high is pointless and annoys me. If you want a bargain, go to Wal-Mart.

5. Same goes for your complaint about the number of restrooms or parking spaces, how the building is laid out or the color of the floor tile. I didn’t design the building; I was probably not even born when the building was constructed. So either write a letter to our corporate office or shut up.

6. This one really bugs me…When you tell me that you can buy it cheaper at another store, I really want to tell you to go there and leave me alone, but I am not allowed to do that. So here’s the thing: Either go to the other store and save yourself the nickel you’re bitching about, or shut up and pay what we’re charging. Please.

7. When you are too clueless to work a credit card machine or a gas pump or any other simple piece of machinery or technology, do not get mad at the person behind the counter, get mad at your own stupid ass.

8. (This one applies only to gas stations, but I’ve worked at a lot of them and it still makes me shake my head) When you go inside to pay for your gas, it is NOT the cashier’s job to know what pump you’re on, it’s YOURS. Pointing at ALL of the pumps and saying “That one right there” does NOT help. Telling me it’s the white car does NOT help. Telling me it’s pump 19 when there isn’t a pump 19 does NOT help. Telling me it’s across from pump 4 does NOT help. The only thing that does help is knowing what the number is on the pump that you are parked closest to. Nothing else. When you don’t know your pump number, we think you are stupid.

9. When there is one person working behind the counter and there is a line, just get in the line. Coming to the front to ask me a question because you think you’re too important to wait is rude. I am doing the best I can. I see that I have a line and if there is someone else to help, I will call them when it’s appropriate. You are not the President and you have to wait in line like the rest of us.

10. When there are people waiting behind you and you are digging in your wallet for your money or debit card or a damn penny, they make faces behind your back. They wish you would die, right there. You knew you were coming to a store to buy stuff, and so you really should be a little more prepared. Get your shit together already.

There are a lot of other things that I could add to this list. Just be nice and polite and realize that you aren’t the only person in the world. That would really help. And if you think that this list doesn't apply to you because you are a wonderful person and everyone should who knows you should feel lucky, think again. If you think that then this list is definitely for you.

If all of the above makes me sound like a bitch that shouldn’t be in contact with other people, much less be left in charge of a cash register, well, maybe that’s true. But I can assure you that I’m nice to all the customers, even the dumbest of the dumb, the rudest of the rude, and the clueless-est of the…you know what I mean. I just received a certificate of excellence in customer service from my current employer, and it’s not the first time I’ve been recognized for it either. All of the above is what’s in my head as I’m giving you and the general public the best customer service possible.


  1. Hee hee. Great post. I wrote a similar one about things that make vets angry :-D Because we're people too, and sure, customers AREN'T always right.

    1. Thanks, Gissel! Just had to get it off of my chest, finally!

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  3. You are good girl!

    Can I add one - if you are writing a check please expect everyone behind you to be pissed off at you because it takes way too damn long. Get a debit card already!!!