I find it hard to believe, had this person previously worked in customer service, that she would behave the way she did. Yet some of the most inconsiderate customers I’ve dealt with repeat this like a mantra. Being treated like a subhuman on a daily basis for so long doesn’t make me feel like treating others similarly, but perhaps I’m just not bitter and vengeful enough.
When You Enter a Store, You Become a Monster
Mark Thomas McLaughlin
112

This. I feel as though my experience in customer service has made more more patient and empathetic with the poor souls charged with serving me at businesses and restaurants. I tip as though I am making up for everyone else.

I was fortunate in some ways, that I got retail experience that matched my interests. I studied metal smithing and jewelry in school, and when I graduated, I worked selling watches and in a bead store. The bead store was a family business, run by a woman who wanted it to be “a community” but she didn’t staff it like one. Customers would drop off their children and leave the store, as if we were babysitters, and it about broke the owner’s heart to put up a sign that discouraged it. I had to pretend to call the police on a child who stole a bead from us, because her mother wanted us to help teach ethics. I used to repair ancient costume jewelry for free, for the women who lived down the street at the old folks’ home. Another family brought their adult special needs son and we would spend hours with him. They promoted me to manager and another employee threatened me when I had to manage her. And then, eventually, they fired me.

I feel as though some of this is due to businesses taking the place of other common, community areas. But I did not sign on to take this role. I was not trained to work with autistic adults or discipline children. I was only trained never to say “no”.

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