Well, according to a recent survey, most of us are being served rudely, and we’re getting awfully tired of it.
As a teenager, I worked in the service industry. I was shy and not so people-oriented and was constantly bullied by rude, angry, demanding customers, some who actually made me cry. I remember being spit on because I gave someone the wrong order. It was my first day. Another time I was delivering a milkshake to a sullen, disrespectful customer, who said I gave her the wrong flavour and she threw it all over me. Needless to say, that one made me cry too..haha! And this gentleman kept screaming at me because I didn’t honour a coupon he had, even though it turned out it was already expired. And that was pretty much the end of my service career. I was fed up working with the public.
Fast forward to the 21st century…
Well, the tables have turned, that’s for sure. All those rude customers have since given birth to an even ruder generation that all ended up in the service industry.
I am once again on the receiving end of rudeness and disrespect. And it’s coming from where you would least expect it this time. From the people whose business I support just by being there. I am a customer, and I know the customer was only right when they were yelling at me, oh yes, I know that now, for sure.
One generation later, the customer is wrong, nobody can spell anymore, and anyone over the age of thirty is a suspect.
I have battled it out with phone companies, cable companies, financial institutions, all who make me press 1 for English, and then 5 more choices follow that, and then if you are lucky enough to get a real live person, they argue, put you on hold, hang up on you, or you somehow get disconnected, they keep switching you to other departments who have no idea who you are so you have to keep going over and over the same information with them because the information they have is totally different from the department you just spoke to that transferred you there. That’s if they transfer you to the right department at all. I have had to call back several times and go through the entire procedure again because of being ‘accidentally’ disconnected. Want to complain to a supervisor? HA, good luck with that.They are usually out to lunch….never to return somehow.
I find all government employees especially difficult. They love to argue, and talk down to me like I just fell off the turnip truck. They get my name and address wrong, I have to repeatedly spell it over and over while they struggle to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. I don’t expect they will pronounce my rather easy, 5th generation Irish name correctly. Uh, no, not happening.
I have been followed by security through high-end downtown stores who suspected I was a shoplifter, a jewel thief, or just casing the joint. I was banned from an open house on a street in my neighborhood because they were asking over a million and the agent presumed that I wasn’t a serious buyer. Really? Well maybe I knew someone who was. And I did. But too bad, they lost my business, and I wouldn’t recommend them.
I have been insulted in grocery stores, scolded for not bringing my own bags, shoved out of bank lineups, pushed out-of-the-way when a seat was available on a bus and some young guy felt more deserving. I have waited patiently in pizza places only to be passed over time and time again, because I was too short to see over the counter. And I have almost been rundown several times on the green by drivers on cell phones, talking, driving, giving me the finger and running the red.
These are indeed dangerous times. Not so much for the service workers, but the customers who are supporting their industry.
When did we become the enemy?
I wish I had become an investigative reporter. I could have really done some serious probing into when the customer crossed that thin line between being always right to being ignored, insulted, and treated like a big pain in the butt to the now holier-than-thou, almighty service worker. Please allow me to pay homage to you and thank you for the privilege of being allowed in your place of business, where I don’t expect you will get my order right, or even hear me as I give it to you…
Yup, this turned into a rant, but I just wanted to make the point that I have never yelled at anyone as a customer, I usually try to treat others the way I would like to be treated. Call me old-fashioned, but I was not raised by wolves….and I am very disappointed at those who continually bite my ankles because they know what I know. Dealing with the public sucks. Just don’t take it out on us…we’re the ones paying your salary.