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This Just In: Customer Is A Jerk. Film At Six Sharp.

, , , , , | Right | December 7, 2022

After a serious head injury in an accident permanently put me out of commission as far as working was concerned, I had to go on disability. It covered my rent and expenses, but that was about it. For anything extra I needed, such as new clothes or repairs on my car, I was just out of luck.

I was then told about working “motor routes” for the local newspaper. The way it worked was that subscribers who wanted their paper delivered would put their cash payment in special envelopes and leave them in a dropbox at the main office. (Alternatively, they could pay it directly to the delivery person.) The money was given to the delivery person, who then delivered the paper regularly to all the addresses from which they were paid.

At the end of the month, the delivery person received a bill from the main office for all of the papers they took and delivered that month. They paid the bill using the money they received from the subscribers. In the end, their profits came to about $1.50 per customer every month. They were essentially their own boss, save a few “customer service” rules that must be respected such as prompt and regular delivery by 4:00 pm.

It sounded like something I could do, and I took over a few routes with a total of about 200 customers.

Most (if not all) of the subscribers were friendly, but there was one woman who was determined to be a persistent pain in my rear.

When I would go to pick up my stacks of papers from the office, I would constantly find a complaint notice attached to the stack, to the tune of:

Complaint: “[Customer] called and was angry because she wants her paper in the morning, not noon. We’re not obligated to do special requests, but could you just do it as a favor so she will stop harassing the administrative staff?”

Complaint: “[Customer] called. She was mad that you delivered it at 8:00 am. She wants it at 6:00. You don’t have to, but… please? As a favor for [Employee that I’d now become friendly with]?”

Since I wasn’t going to wake up at 5:00 in the morning to go deliver ONE paper, everyone started getting their papers by sunrise. Then…

Complaint: “[Customer] called. She was mad because you tracked mud footprints up the steps to her porch.”

Complaint: “[Customer] called. She didn’t like the way you rolled her newspaper up. We asked if it was damaged, but she said it just looked shoddy.”

Complaint: “[Customer] called and screamed at [Employee] because you delivered the paper at 7:00 rather than 6:00.”

Complaint: “[Customer] says to stop ‘baby talking’ to her dog when he runs up to you.”

Complaint: “[Customer] called. She said it was extremely rude of you not to greet her when she stepped out to get the paper you’d just delivered.”

Then, one month, I was given my stack of subscriber payments, and what do you know — [Customer] was not amongst them!

Cue Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus.

That month was the quietest with next to zero complaints, save the occasional dork who’d think his paper was never delivered but couldn’t be bothered to take a few steps out on his porch to see it sitting in plain view.

Then came the following month. I was handed my stack of payment envelopes… and there it was: [Customer]. I squeezed my eyes shut and just stood there for a moment. When I opened the envelope, attached to her money was a note.

Customer’s Note: “Next time, I’ll stop my subscription for three months! I want my paper at 6:00 am sharp, neatly folded, and if we see each other, you will show some respect, come up to me, and greet me!”

Enough was enough. Not knowing how much trouble it would land me in, the following morning, I left her payment envelope taped to the inside of her screendoor with a note of my own.

My Note: “For your information, I receive $1.50 a month per customer. For the proxied abuse I’ve had to tolerate from you over a three-month period of time, I would say that your withholding of $1.50 as a ‘punishment’ is a negligible loss. You buy your paper from the vending machine on [Street #1] from now on, or pick one up from the [Convenience Store] on [Street #2].”

She did call and complain, but she was told that the business has the right to refuse service to abusive customers — which had been extensively documented.

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