Working in retail makes it tough.
Today a woman came in to pick up her order, and when she was told it wasn’t ready just yet, she proceeded to bitch and moan about how she got an email saying it was, indeed, ready for her to pick up. I explained to her why she received that email prematurely; the message is sent automatically by head office in Mississauga one hour after we start working on the order, but Mississauga has no idea when we have technical difficulties with our machines, which is, sadly, often.
She then starts yammering about how flawed that system is (preaching to the choir, yo), and how inconvenient this is for her and blah blah blah. But all throughout her tirade, she’s dropping f-bombs on me. I finally just said, “Whoa, language.”
She glared at me and angrily retorted, “What, you’ve never heard the word ‘fuck’ before?”
“Of course I have, but not so much in public and not so much at work,” I answered. “It’s a respect thing, for me.”
Then she says… and really, this should make me laugh, but honestly, it just makes me more despondent … “It’s got nothing to do with respect,” (clearly, I thought after), “It’s just the proper use of the English language.”
There were so many things wrong with her response, it soured my entire morning. It stung even more, knowing that my assistant manager didn’t have my back at all. I wasn’t expecting her to throw down the gloves or anything, but a calm statement about treating retail employees like humans with feelings would’ve sufficed.
And there, we’ve hit the root of the problem. Customer service representatives are not humans with feelings, are they? They are made in a factory in China somewhere with the sole purpose of serving the public while getting shit on, made up of a resilient polymer that sloughs off the filth with hardly any work at all. The shiny exterior so slick and non-porous that even those that live and work closely with them mistake these droids for their original mould. But they are truly, truly fake.
At least the good ones are.
So, now that I’ve written this, two paths stretch out clear in front of me.
Do I aspire to become an exemplary CSR, disingenuous and sparkly, lobotomized happily ever after?
Or do I uphold my own integrity, spit out the blood from biting my tongue so much and try to survive, however miserably?
I wish I had a choice.