I broke my own rule

14 Jan

I feel kind of bad.

Okay, where should I start?  Hmm…well, how about with this.  One of my day jobs used to be a customer service representative at the St. Petersburg Times (now called Tampa Bay Times).  That meant wearing a silly headset and listening to hundreds of people call in about everything.  And when I mean everything, usually I mean people calling in to complain.

“I didn’t get a paper!”

“My paper is wet!”

“There’s no coupons in my paper!”

“My neighbor got a subscription for ten bucks and I pay one-fifty!”

“The sky is blue!”

And on and on and on….

Let it be known, there are jerks out there.  Like, real a#$%#’s.  The kind of people you just want to punch in the face, but you can’t because you’re nice and you are on a phone and not in person.

This kind of work isn’t easy.  I witnessed coworkers run out crying and I think I’ve seen a grey hair literally grow on someone during a shift from stress.  Not for everyone.  You can imagine the mood some people get into when part of their morning routine is disrupted.

But hey, I needed a part time job and I could handle it.  Did I love it?  No.  But, there were a lot of cool people I worked with and all the call weren’t THAT bad.  There are decent people out there, too.  I don’t get bothered by any of it.  In fact, I found it funny when someone was very irrational.  I’d usually make jokes at their expense unbeknownst to them.  But, honestly, I was pretty good at my work.

This job taught me a valuable lesson though:  Be nice to customer service representatives.

I was before this job (nice), but this really made me more respectful when talking to them.  If there’s an issue, it’s typically not the customer service representatives fault.  They just have to hear the problem and a lot of people lay into them with vulgar obscenities to make their point.  It’s their only form of communication, so it’s expected.

So, why do I feel bad?

Well, I lost it the other day.

I broke my rule of be nice to customer service representatives.

Listen, it wasn’t all my fault.  I kept telling the lady over and over the same story and she kept telling me something else.  It was my bank.  The woman didn’t listen to me so I yelled.  Loudly.  Some might even call it a gentle scream.

My bank messed up a payment.  Trust me  – it’s their fault.  And they have to fix it.  However, I kept being told over and over that it was my fault.  Turns out I have the proof it wasn’t me and they know it now.  So, like any normal person, I was frustrated.

Finally I just snapped.

I did apologize for yelling at the end of the conversation (yes, she didn’t hang up on me – I’m surprised).  I explained though that you must understand that when I’m telling you something and you tell me that’s it’s something else and I know it’s not, then I had to get my point across.  (Hope that makes sense.  There’s a lot of details I could go into, but I don’t want to bore you with those on here.  I try to keep Nate Rambling’s somewhat to the point. )  And luckily, I didn’t cuss either, so I don’t think I was that terrible.

She seemed okay at the end of it all.  Of course, she didn’t apologize to me for the bank she represents messing anything up.  Go figure.

So, again, I feel kinda bad.  I’ve been at the other end.  When a paper is missed or something, it wasn’t my fault, but customers would call and chew me out.  I have a soft spot now for representatives.  But, it did feel good for that brief moment to yell.  And if it makes you feel better about my actions, it was a customer service supervisor, so she wasn’t just a helpless representative with no power.  And she didn’t do a good job of handling my complaint from the get-go.

I’ll leave it at that.  I’m sure she’s moved on and so have I (well, except for writing a whole post about it).  I’ll try to cool it next time.  Because, I’m sure in life, it’s bound to happen again.

I just hope she wasn’t a reader of my comics.  That would probably be no way to treat a fan.




4 Responses to “I broke my own rule”

  1. gardenfreshtomatoes January 15, 2013 at 3:59 am #

    Don’t sweat it. Working in the industry not only gives you empathy for their position, it gives you insight into when they’re not doing their job.
    Eating in restaurants is the same (you’re a foodsevice refugee too, right?) I know when problems arise during a meal they aren’t usually the server’s fault, and don’t take it out on them. But if my food is left under a heatlamp in the kitchen because Chickie is flirting with a good-looking customer (or fellow employee), you can be damn sure she’s going to hear about it…and probably her manager will, too.
    You’ve done your pennance by writing your post. Don’t give it another thought.

    • w101njf January 15, 2013 at 4:53 am #

      Yeah, the more I think about it, she really didn’t do her job well so I guess I don’t feel quite as bad as when I wrote this. STILL though, it’s the sympathy for customer service industry that got to me. But you’re right – when their is some blame on their side, I’m guessing a little yelling gets the point across and hopefully they improve.

  2. SprungBogart January 26, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    A couple of years ago this young chap changed lanes into the side of my car. He said i had gone into the back of him to avoid any cost or insurance issues, I knew it was his and had the garage that repaired the car cc me on the photos.

    On Christmas Eve my insurer told me that they would not be arguing over responsibility and that it was he said/she said case with no witnesses. The insurance company would pay, the two drivers would have a no-fault accident on their record and both would pay the claim excess (£300/$500 for me).

    I also broke the cardinal rule. I lost it with the lady on the phone – not over the issue at hand but over her dismissive attitude, refusal to discuss it sensibly and the fact she couldn’t look at the photos and see the damage was to the side of my car and therefore I couldn’t have rear-ended someone!

    I shouted. I got transferred to her supervisor. He looked at the photos. He agreed with the photo evidence. I didn’t pay any excess…..I also apologised to all concerned and wished them a Merry Christmas 🙂

    • w101njf January 26, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      It’s easy to lose it! I have bit my tongue many times, but yes – when you feel like you’re not being listened to, then it might be time to talk a bit louder. That’s the fault of the representative.

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