Over The Counter

Customer service is arguably the most soul-crushing career field known to mankind. Whether you work in a supermarket, a department store, or any other retail environment, you’ll already be able to relate. ¬†The day-to-day routines, coupled with an ¬†influx of demanding, irritable whiners, are enough to make even the most strong-willed person turn to alcoholism. Most customer service representatives are idealistic when they start out, blindly adhering to mission statements and actually wanting to help people. After years in the field, however, it is nearly impossible to not become jaded, finding it more difficult to smile even at the point of greeting. You may eventually find yourself unable to sympathize with the problems of customers, hard-lining them when their options are limited. People become scary, uninhibited versions of themselves when their money, intelligence or pride is threatened. You try to see what it’s like to be on the other side of the counter, when some emotionless customer service rep is shutting a hapless customer down with a hollow “it is what it is” defense of company policies that change each time the wind changes directions. Such interactions can be equally painful for the representative, as they must stand and listen to an arrogant customer launch an indignant tirade about the good old days of customer service, thinking they deserve special treatment because of how long they’ve been loyal to a given company’s service and how much that service costs them. Eventually the situation escalates with a hail of profanity, as the customer is told “no” by six different managers, but is still made out to be the good guy. There are very few fields where you can be called an asshole, a moron, a jerk, and be threatened with a lawsuit, all during the same week. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find jobs that are largely behind-the-scenes. Companies need to staff the front lines to deal with the irate masses on a daily basis.

For those of you who cannot escape it, I advise you to find your own unique ways to make it through the thankless hours, and to avoid lunging over the counter at your job security, with hands outstretched and in strangling position. Goodnight, and good luck.