Friday, December 08, 2006

I don't want to wait

Working at Customer Service is a little like trying to direct the windborn debris in a hurricane - without ever raising your voice and yelling at people or losing your patience and keeping track of thousands of dollars in cash.

At any given time, we might be trying to keep track of which customer brought what item in for an exchange, who needs help with the MoneyGram papers, the customer(s) in front of our register right now, the Brinks guy with the day's cash delivery, the screaming kid jumping in the buggy, the people at the stamp machine, the angry man/woman stomping up looking like they about to explode, the Accounting associate coming out with a loan or a question about a transaction, a manager with a question, trying to request change or a lunch/break through the register, thinking about how bad my feet hurt, or about how cute that boy standing in line at Register 14 is.

Anyway. It's always like the eye of a hurricane up there. People float up, interrupt whatever I'm doing, even if I'm in the middle of talking to a customer right at that second and bounce back out. Most of the time I apologize and go back to business.

This Sunday was was a crazy-busy day. Fruitcake nutty kind of day. I'm hip deep in doing returns and at this precise moment, I'm returning three light bulbs for some old woman whose had them knocking around her condo for two months.

"They said good for one year and they burnt out as soon as I put them in," she kept on nattering. "You better not put them back on the shelf and you should probably take all the other ones off the shelf too."

I'm trying to get her to shut up so I can do her return when one of the managers comes up and ask me "Did anyone turn in a gift card earlier? A customer lost one out on the sales floor."

Now, as it happens, someone did turn one in. I say so and run it through my register to check it. No such luck. This card had never been activated, so it obviously wasn't the one the customer was looking for. The manager asks how long I've been there and I answer and the manager tells me to keep an eye out for a lost gift card.

I turn my attention back to the old woman in front of me, but before I could even begin to apologize, she goes "Maybe you could help me first before you start talking about anyone else."

OK. I was just flabbergasted. One, it wasn't like I initiated the conversation. Two, someone with the power to fire me asked me a question. Three, I hope you lose your car keys, wallet, glasses and pacemaker the next time you're in Wal-Mart. I know EXACTLY who you are. And I'm going to help every single customer in line and then go start ringing people out on Register 14 before I turn to ask you if you need help. And we all know how I feel about working on a register.

Evil cow. You are exactly the sort to walk to the head of the line, say "I just have a quick question," then occupy my time for the next half-hour on a discusson of the merits of distilled vs. spring water.


gilleoin said...


I just wanted to say I love your blog and I feel your pain. I am a service desk slave at a national discount clothing chain. (Which means on top of returning various items for various excuses, I also have to do layaway, because it's at the Service Desk, too.)


Anonymous said...

What would you do if you happened to run into one of these people you've serviced somewhere on the street? sooo many things you could do or say....

Anonymous said...

I work at a family-run business, but I can also feel your pain. People are SO demanding and have such a mindset of expectation. They EXPECT you to bend over backwards to do their whims, as well as telling them how much you like doing it for them in the process. Oh, and God forbid you make them wait any longer than they have to or change the scheduling.

There's too little "taking the role of the other" going on. Nobody thinks about anyone but themselves.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought of working the back office accounting so that you don't have do deal with customers? Are only manager allowed to do that?

Anonymous said...

HA! I work in Accounting, and you STILL have to deal with morons. "What do you mean I bounced a check? You people did something wrong. Put it through my account again."
"Sorry Ma'am, we run it through twice before it even comes back to the store. You'll have to go talk to your bank."
"But I have NEVER bounced a check in my LIFE. This is wrong. YOU screwed up."
Yeah, working in Accounting can suck just as hard this time of year...
I also help out at the Service Desk as well when things are slow, so I feel your pain!

Anonymous said...

What are the qualifications for working in accounting at Wal-Mart?

wonderer said...

You seem so bitter. I realize that people are hard to deal with at times, but to wish bad things on someone wrong. You make yourself look just as bad as the customers you complain so much about with those comments.
I know several Walmart employees who like their jobs, perhaps you just need a career change, or an actual career.