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Published on June 4, 2006 By Sugar High Elf In Ethics
There are many things in life that I do not understand. I do not understand physics. I do not understand calculus. I do not understand the space/time continuum. I do not understand how my voice can travel across the world and allow me to have a conversation with a friend in Italy. And I also do not understand how one person can be so rude, inconsiderate, foul and spiteful to a complete stranger. I’m not looking for answers – especially not on how to understand calculus. However, perhaps someone could tell me why people have so little respect or regard for others. Perhaps you could explain to me what happened to the human decency I had become used to.

My boyfriend was surprised when I told him about my day. He wasn’t surprised at my stories about rude customers, bitchy women, chauvinistic men or worthless coworkers. He was surprised that I seemed unused to this behavior from others. “Don’t you know to expect this from people?”

I told him that the moment I began to expect and/or accept that kind of behavior from people was the day I would decide to become a hermit for real.

I am a sales associate in the lingerie department of JC Penney. That means I sell bras and panties all day long. Most women looking for clothes and more specifically underwear are not usually in a good mood. I do my best to go into my job with a smile on my face every day because I am paid to do so. However, the people I deal with do not seem to realize that I am a human being. I may be in a customer service position but that does not mean that I am your personal whipping boy when you are having a bad day. I have bad days too, you know? And yet I have enough decency not to take that out on the guy in the fast food window, the girl who hands me a pack of gum in the gas station or the kid who bagged my groceries at Kroger today. They have jobs to do and I do my best not to yell at them. Other people don’t feel the need to extend this courtesy to others.

I am not a stupid person. I had a 4.2 gpa on a 4.0 scale. I go to college. Next year, I will be going to graduate school. I have every reason to believe that I will be able to require people to call me Doctor for the majority of my life. It therefore follows that I can reasonably fold clothes, scan bar codes and put things into a bag. I can also figure your percentage off in my head without the use of a calculator. Therefore, when I tell you that a certain brand name does not make a size 40 A bra, you might want to believe me. Especially since this is what I get paid to know.

I have been yelled at because our store doesn’t carry certain brands, sizes or colors. I have been yelled at because people fail to bring a receipt when they try to return merchandise that shows obvious signs of wear and no longer has the tags on it. I have been yelled at for telling a woman that she should go up a size. (Usually I would understand, but it is my job to measure these women and tell them what size bra they should be wearing.)

People are also pigs and see no problem with their behavior. They knock things off racks and leave them in the floor. They ransack tables leaving clothes piled in places I would have never thought to put them in the first place. They wad clothes up in corners of dressing room floors leaving the hangers everywhere. They leave other, less appealing things in dressing rooms that I don’t want to talk about. They go to the bathroom and take a dump on the floor or “miss”.

Why? What makes you think you have the right to treat other people like crap? Just because it is my job to help you and make you happy, your happiness should not come at the sacrifice of mine. So here are some new rules for dealing with people in customer service professions.

1. Leave your problems elsewhere. You’re having a bad day? Deal with it. You do not have the right to take it out on other people. I understand bad days. But let me give you a tip. Being nice to others can make you have a better day.

2. Pick up after yourself. You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to post signs saying, “You’re Momma doesn’t work here, clean up after yourself.” I’m not asking you to put things back where they belong. I’m asking you to pick things up when you knock them down. I’m asking you to put clothes back on the hangers and not leave them in the floor of the dressing room. If we have one of those nifty bars outside the dressing room put the clothes there. If not, leave them on the hooks in the room.

3. Allow me to do my job. This means believing me when I say things. When I say “We don’t carry that brand / size / color that means we don’t carry that brand / size / color. Really. I’m not just saying that to make sure you have a bad day. I’m saying it because it is my job to know such things and inform you of it.

4. Patience is a virtue – try some, you may like it. I cannot answer the phone, find a size 48 C bra, check out the woman with the screaming baby and check the price of your boot-cut stretch jeans to see if they are on sell. I can multitask, but you’re asking for a miracle and last time I checked, I can’t walk on water.

5. And last but not least: If you yell at me, I cannot yell back.. That is really not fair to me as I enjoy yelling back at people who yell at me. My point? DON’T YELL AT ME! I am only barely hard of hearing and there is no need to raise your voice. I know you’re angry. You’re probably pissing me off too. Yelling at me does not make me more inclined to help you. If anything, I only want to piss you off in what small ways I can and then pass you off to be someone else’s problem.

That’s it for my rules. I don’t want to ask for miracles. I know it is my job to serve you with a smile. I’ll write another article with rules for how to serve others properly. This article is about how to be a non-annoying, bitchy, hateful, spiteful, rude and base consumer. This also could make my life a little easier

Comments
on Jun 04, 2006
First problem, working in the women's undies department. Jeez, I don't' know how anyone could deal with that, especially the bras there have to be a thousand different types and ways to contort a womans tits. And no woman is ever happy with their chest so, the bra has to fix whatever they percieve is the problem. I just wrote about this here Link As far as working customer service, someone somewhere decided that the customer is always right and in todays world people think that mean that they can rip on the customer service folks. That's BS. Sometimes the customer is not right and they know it. They think that enough fussing and they'll get what they want, not what they should.

I don't know how you guys in the customer service field do it. I like to hide behind my desk and let the others deal with customer service!

on Jun 04, 2006
I agree that working with the public can be awful. I have worked in several stores and had a few incidents. What would kill me is when they would complain about the prices etc. like I have anything to do with it. People definately dump on you specifically because you can't give it back to them. Maybe you should find a different job, an office job maybe where you only have to deal with the same jerks every day. Hey and when they yell ask if they want to speak to a manager. That's what the managers get paid the big bucks for, you shouldn't have to put up with that crap.

I do have to say that when I ask about another size or if they have something in back that isn't on the shelf, I don't always believe them because I think they just don't want to bother looking. I know not every salesperson is this way but there are definately some who are lazy and rude too.
on Jun 04, 2006
I don't know how you guys in the customer service field do it. I like to hide behind my desk and let the others deal with customer service!


A lot of fake smiles. That's my usual weapon of defense.

I do have to say that when I ask about another size or if they have something in back that isn't on the shelf, I don't always believe them because I think they just don't want to bother looking. I know not every salesperson is this way but there are definately some who are lazy and rude too.


I have this wonderful computer program that allows me to check the inventory of my store to see if we have any of the merchandise in a specific size and color. The problem is, we are plauged by shop lifters and our computer thinks we should have something when in fact it has been stolen. I found a bra I really wanted and the computer said we have it in my size, but it is actually no where to be found. Then it's a big pain to explian to the customer why you still can't find what they want.

And right now, I'm just doing the sales person thing as a summer gig. Then it's back to being dorm mom and then eventually college professor where, I am happy to say, I can kick people out of my class if they piss me off. So for now, I'll put up with it. And as for our managers, I haven't seen my boss since the second day I started work. The other managers look at me like, "Who's the new girl?" and then forget me ten seconds later. It's kinda nice because I don't have to worry about people waiting for me to screw up. I took a 30 minute break and no one noticed (except the other girl who also took a 30 minute break with me). From that perspective, I love my job!
on Jun 05, 2006
It's kinda nice because I don't have to worry about people waiting for me to screw up. I took a 30 minute break and no one noticed (except the other girl who also took a 30 minute break with me). From that perspective, I love my job!


See there's always something good. At least this is a temporary job. It would be a lot harder to put up with if you were looking into the retirement plan. Hang in there.
on Jun 05, 2006

Hmmm..... Calculus.  Well, the value of the intergral of X as X approaches infinity is.

Oh, wait, you said you were not looking for answers.  Sorry.

Having been in Customer service before (and actually still am, but my customers are co-workers now, not the public), I know of what you speak.  And I am not as good as you.  I have called some of my customers cheats (they were. It was a statement of fact).  I just could not grin and bear it.

on Jun 06, 2006
40A? Good grief!
on Jun 09, 2006
Yup, been there done that. Sorry, i dont have any thing insightful to make you feel better.

Wuuuussssssaaaaah!
on Jun 10, 2006
I've now been flashed by seven old women, one younger woman has come out of the dressing room only half-dressed. I've been yelled at because I told a woman we don't have any red bras.

But hey, I'm starting to get used to it. Guess it's time to find a cave...
on Jun 10, 2006

I've now been flashed by seven old women, one younger woman has come out of the dressing room only half-dressed. I've been yelled at because I told a woman we don't have any red bras.

Sounds like Artie Johnson's perfect job!  Want a Walnetto?

on Jun 10, 2006
Ahhh, the joys of working with the public.

When I still early in my career in the telecommunications industry I developed a reputation as the guy to send to deal with the more difficult customers. I actually enjoyed it and was good at either making them feel better or making them feel like a complete ass (depending on whether their pissy attitude was based upon a real problem or just bad attitude).

Someone once said that I could tell a person to go to Hell and have them shake my hand and thank me for doing it. It's all attitude and communication.

People, as a rule, are assholes. Nice, reasonable, rational, intelligent people are the exceptions not the rule. You just have to learn how to turn their idiocy and rudeness back on them. One thing I always did was to get even more "nice" as they got more rude. It really does work and in the end they wind up feeling like an asshat in the worst way. Of course this takes turning some of their own words and phrases against them in a "nice" way.
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