04 March 2007

confessions of an ex-deliqueen

i worked in various delicatessens for seven years. it was a messy, repetitive, thankless job. but it was handy employment while studying; good Sunday rates, paid holiday leave and, well, after seven years i owned the deli.

but last October i served one customer too many and snapped.

this particularly annoying guy used to come in every Saturday at 6.05pm and ask for his ham sliced up fresh. he always explained that the pre-sliced ham in the case was 'covered in bacteria' and it 'wasn't good enough' for him. so on this Saturday i had worked a particularly hard shift (it was just me and three fifteen-year-olds working) and i was about to go on break and i JUST COULDN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!

i told the guy i wouldn't slice his ham fresh and he could just buy it from the case like everyone else. we'd been really busy all day, selling HEAPS of ham, so the stuff in the case was only a couple of hours 'old' any way.

man: no, um, no. you see... i want it sliced fresh.
me: nope. sorry.
man: look, you don't seem to understand. i come in here every week...
me: I KNOW!
man: ...to get my ham sliced fresh. so, huh, would you just do it?
me: sorry, no.
man: look, i am THE CUSTOMER and i'm asking you do to this. you don't seem to understand that you HAVE TO DO IT.
me: i'm not doing it.
man: look, i've had problems with you before...
me: I KNOW!
man: do you not even care? you don't even care! you work in customer service and you DON'T CARE ABOUT THE CUSTOMERS!
me: I DON'T CARE! *quieter* ...because you're an idiot...
man: WHAT?
me: nothing.
man: that's it. i'm getting the manager.

while the man went off the get the manager i told the fifteen-year-olds in the deli i was going to dinner. i left the supermarket and drove home for my hour break. i knew i didn't want to go back EVER but, after two hours, decided i really should finish the shift seeing as i was closing up. i went back. the managers had all gone home by this stage and the duty manager, bless him, DIDN'T CARE EITHER.

i finished the shift. the fifteen-year-olds tiptoed around me, for once being super helpful and obedient. they were scared i'd flip out on them again. i handed in my resignation the next day and never went back.

that was the end of my deli career. i started telling this story because i was inspired by Little Britian's 'computer says no' style customer service to confess all the dodgy things i've done in the name of bad service of the years. but i'll save that story for next time, and my only confession for now is simply: i worked in customer service and i didn't care.


Lulu said...

I couldn`t help but laugh at this! I can understand why the guy made you snap though...

Sometimes there is only so much customer service people can handle before they snap!

I snapped during christmas period as I used to work in layby of Kmart in highschool and first year uni. People are crazy at christmas time. The staff are crazier though...

Chesty LaRue said...

Great story, Miss Dot.

I once made a customer stand up to eat. We were full-up except for one 6-person table and one 4-person table. There were three of them and a 'couple more' on the way. So I offered them the six. They wanted the four. Because the four was in the corner. I told them that we had no spare chairs so if they were expecting extra guests they should take the six. They said they were only expecting one other person and they understood it was a table of four. So i said fine, but, once more, reminded then that no more than four people could sit there.

Anyway - three more people showed up. The six was gone. They were all apanic. We had one single spare chair in the restaurant, which we squished around the table.

And one guy had to stand - the one who promised there were only four of them.

His own bloody fault, really. But he was not happy.

Yeah, customer service sucks. But only because customers suck even harder.

Amanda said...

I agree with ClaR- customers suck. It is for this very reason that I bury myself in the pits of corporate Australia, where the freaking customers can't get to me. Personally, that is. I do have to read some of their delightful 'feedback', but I usually just laugh at them. Bah, customers.

The customer is not always right.

ilse said...

Ha. I work in a debt collection agency and am currently at work wishing I could hold a hot pair of curling tongs to the scrotums of almost everyone I have spoken to today, including clients and colleagues, including those who do not posses scrotes.

They can grow them by god, if they know what's good for them.

Original Mel said...

I once refused to sell a customer a top because she asked for a discount.

It was at Country Road and I was Assistant Manager. We were packed and I was on the registers because my staff members were... well, retards to be honest. Working the registers sucks arse. This woman came up demanding a discount because the top was slightly creased. I said no. She demanded again. I took the top from her and said she obviously didn't want to buy it, stuck the top behind the counter and started serving the next customer. Discount lady went crazy saying she did weant the top. I flat out, hands down refused to sell it to her, and told her to leave my store before I called security. She ranted and raved a bit more so I called security and had her kicked out of the centre.

Sadly my area manager did not see eye to eye with me the next day when she called head office and complained. She came in and I was supposed to apologise to her, but I refused and told them it was demeaning and she was a fucktard. I left not long after.

Retail would be so much nicer without customers.

Aussie Rock Chick said...

Yay!! "Done by Dot" - it's back!!!

Sorry Dot, it was a good story, but Done by Dot was my favourite part.

Call me kooky...

Sam said...

Man there are some really long comments here.

kiki said...

i remember this. it wasn't too long after your birthday. it was funny at the time and it's still amusing all this time later