Service With a Scowl I Hate Customers As Much As They Hate Me

Dessy-Liza Epie, Staff Writer

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“My salad was too salty, can I have another one?”
“Well ma’am, we can take off the dressing?”
“NO. I want the dressing, but make it less salty!”
“This iced tea is too cold!”
“Sir, would you like me to take out the ice YOU put in.”
“I want to speak to your manager!”
T

hese are the just a few of the wonderful interactions that I have had as a cashier. When one reaches this point in any interaction such as this, most cashiers – including me – have stopped listening and moved to autopilot, uttering the necessary apologies and making awkward eye contact with the other customers waiting in line.

Some workers hear complaints such as these more than once a day as fussy and disgruntled customers, who, whether it was their mistake or the restaurant’s, expect the cashier to fix the issue right away and simply disregard all of the other customers.

Working in the service industry introduces one to multiple types of inconsiderate customers, so let’s take a look at some of their profiles. First you have the customers who complain about the wait five minutes in. These people are easy to identify. They are the ones pacing back and forth, picking up bags to check the names, and continuing to try to make eye contact in attempts to guilt you into rushing a meal as if the people waiting ahead of them don’t exist.

Second are the customers who are ready ten minutes after they reach the cash register. These people seem to carry endless items in their bags, purses, etc and their wallet always seems to be at the bottom. Some look apologetic as they throw everything back into the vortex that is their bag, others not so much.
Third are the customers who can find the most insignificant problem and blow it out of proportion. These people…

The truth is, there are many types of customers – including great ones – but these three customer types really take the cake. With each rude customer, the service worker – often a cashier, wait staff, or host/hostess – becomes more desensitized to the disrespect they receive and start to see themselves as individuals who are required to handle this abuse as “just part of the job.”
The blatant inconsideration towards service workers comes from an ignorance that can only be solved by being in the service workers shoes. Working a job in the service industry would allow people to truly understand the effects of their actions and hopefully push them to make a difference in their treatment of others.

It’s clear that this isn’t going to happen with some people as they have either clearly aged out of “service work” or are financially secure enough that a service job is never going to be part of their future. With this in mind, maybe the best one can do is to speak up when they see the people around them acting disrespectful or condescending toward service workers. It might not be their job to tell people off or remind them that service workers are people too, but it most definitely isn’t in my job description to be yelled at because someone made their own iced tea with too much ice.

We need to understand that the people behind the register, the people giving us our menus, and the people serving our meals are exactly that, people. If it was any of their choices they wouldn’t stick around to hear the complaints, but they do it with strength and conviction, taking the words at face value.

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Service With a Scowl I Hate Customers As Much As They Hate Me