Customer Service Makes You Emotionally Numb

, , | Right | September 20, 2017

(I am a hostess at a well-known chain of restaurants in the UK and I have just greeted a man and his young boy.)

Me: “Hi, table for two?”

Customer: “Three actually.” *puts his arm around thin air as if around a person* “Can’t you see my lovely wife?”

(Assuming he is kidding and his wife is actually parking the car, I bring him over to a table of three.)

Me: “What can I get you to drink?”

Customer: *looking at small boy* “Tell the nice lady what you want.”

Boy: “[Trademark Kid’s Drink].”

Customer: “I’ll have a coffee with milk and…” *looks across the table at an empty seat* “…what would you like dear?” *seems to acknowledge something* “Okay, and a [soda] please.”

(I now think he is being odd, and secretly wonder if he is completely right in the head, but I shrug it off and add the soda to the order.)

Me: “All right, sir, if that’s everything…” *I smile and begin to walk away but he calls me back.*

Customer: “Don’t you think what I did was odd?”

Me: *smiling again* “After a couple years in customer service, you learn to just go with it.”

Customer: *laughs*

(His wife did actually join them a little later!)

Accepting The Bitter Truth

, , | Right | September 20, 2017

(A customer brings a bottle of bitters up to the counter.)

Me: “That will be $24.95.”

Customer: “WHAT? That’s ridiculous. It’s such a little bottle! It’s only $6 overseas! You must be an idiot if you think you can charge me that!”

Me: “I’m afraid there are a lot more taxes and costs, due to exchange and imports, sir.”

Customer: “But even [Town Two Hours Away] has it for $15!”

Me: “Better start driving, then.”

Customer: “I demand to see your supervisor!”

(My supervisor comes over, and has been listening.)

Supervisor: “It’s a really long drive, better start now.”

That’s Too Much Sharing

, , , , | Right | September 20, 2017

(My friend is traveling to New York on business. While he usually gets his own room, his boss warns him that due to cutbacks, he may be sharing a room with a coworker this trip. The hotel desk clerk is a very attractive woman.)

Friend: “Reservation for [Name].”

Clerk: “And will you be staying alone, sir?”

Friend: “Yes.” *remembers that the room may have been reserved for two* “Unless you have other plans.”

Clerk: *icily hands him his key card* “Good day, sir.”

Even Though The Sound Of It Is Something Quite Atrocious

, , , | Right | September 20, 2017

(I work in a well-known office supply store. We also have a print department. We get a lot of customers that have no idea what they need and hope we can help them with everything by reading their minds and making things magically appear. This happens one day when a middle-aged man walks up to the copy center counter.)

Me: “Hi. What brings you in today?”

Customer: “My daughter is getting married.” *stares expectantly at me*

Me: “Congratulations! Were you looking to have some printing done for the wedding? We do invitations, table cards, large photo prints—”

Customer: *interrupting* “I need everything you do!” *again stares at me*

Me: “Oh, we don’t really do wedding packages; we just have hundreds of printing capabilities. If you could let me know what exactly you need us to do for the wedding, I can get you prices and options—”

Customer: “Yes, let me see your flowers, and a list of your wedding helpers.”

Me: “Flowers? You mean designs that have flowers on them? And I’m sorry; I am not sure what you mean by ‘wedding helpers.’”

Customer: *getting angry* “No! I want everything for a wedding! Flowers, bands, food, printing, everything!*squints at me intensely*

Me: “Oh, I see. Well, we are an office supply store, so all we do for weddings is printing services. Unfortunately we do not do wedding planning or have food or bands or—”

Customer: *shouting, while banging his hand on the counter* “NO! LISTEN TO ME! I NEED EVERYTHING FOR MY DAUGHTER’S WEDDING! THIS IS TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE! SHOW ME ALL YOUR WEDDING THINGS!”

Me: *trying to not get mad at this point* “Sir, please listen to what I am trying to say. We are an OFFICE supply store, we do not do—”

Customer: “GET ME YOUR BOSS NOW!”

(I recognize that this customer isn’t listening to a thing I say, so I decide to throw him for a loop, as this usually gets mad customers’ attention long enough to resolve the issue or make them leave.)

Me: “I am the manager on duty, sir. Can I ask you a question?”

Customer: “YOUR BOSS NOW! I AM FILING A COMPLAINT!” *more hand-banging on counter*

Me: *looks directly into the customer’s eyes* “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Customer: “No! Listen! I want… wait, what?!”

Me: *looks directly into the customer’s eyes again and smiles* “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Customer: *stares at me, confused* ” Um, I’m sorry. I don’t understand? Is that a foreign language?”

Me: “No, sir, but we do not do wedding planning, or have flowers, food, or anything like that for you. The only thing I can do that you need is wedding invitations. I suggest you contact a wedding planning company; they can help you with all the wedding things you need. WE CANNOT HELP YOU WITH THAT BECAUSE WE ARE AN OFFICE SUPPLY STORE THAT SELLS OFFICE EQUIPMENT.”

Customer: *still looking confused* “Oh, so, you don’t do weddings?”

Me: ” No, sir, we just use printers and ink to print things.”

Customer: “Oh, all right.” *turns around, then comes right back* “Can I hire you to do my daughter’s wedding?”

Me: *I just want him out of the store at this point, so I lie like a rug* “I am actually leaving the country for a while, sorry.”

Customer: “Okay, thanks.” *wanders out of the store, confused*

(A regular customer who is in line behind him comes up.)

Regular: “Wow, I didn’t know you could use lines from Mary Poppins to deal with crazy people! What will you tell him if he comes back and sees you haven’t left the country?”

Me: “Haha! I will tell him I am my twin; he’ll probably buy it!”

Regular: “Just give him candy when you tell him, because ‘a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!’”

(We get craziness like this all the time, and saying “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” usually gets them shaken enough to take care of them!)

A Very Questioning, Enquiring, Querying Person

, , | Right | September 19, 2017

(I work for the court service. I am on the phone with a defendant in the court foyer. Believe it or not, this is one of the smarter conversations I’ve had with a defendant.)

Me: “The email is ‘enquiries’ at—”

Defendant: *interrupting* “What’s an enquiry?”

Me: “Er. It’s like a query, I guess.”

Defendant: “Oh. What’s a query?”

Me: “It’s like a question.”

Defendant: “Oh.” *long pause* “What’s a question?”

Me: “…how about I write down the email address for you?”

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