From a young age I was exposed to customer service, building up my work ethos slowly. My family owned a party shop, it’s motto was literally ‘we take having fun very seriously’, and it was a hell of a lot of fun, so I was used to talking to customers. I assumed that life was always going to be that great; and fun (Oh the naivety). So by the age of 14, I began taking on a summer job at a food place, down on my local seafront. But nothing can ever prepare you for what it’s like working in the food industry. That in itself is a whole other fucking mine field when it comes to customer service.
The top 10 things I will never understand about it. And can never even begin to explain to myself, let alone other people.
1- Why on earth would you talk to your server like a piece of shit when they’re about to handle your food?!
2- If your server tells you that they’re out of stock of a particular product, why on earth would you begin to abuse them and take it out on them? I’m guessing if it was your 15/16/17 year old on £3.68 an hour you’d kick up a bitch fit if they came home and told you just how a customer had talked to them.
3- Why would you post all over social media about the state of a fast food establishment’s tables and site; and complain how disgusting it is to eat in that kind of environment. Whilst you, yourself, then proceed to drop half of your meal onto the floor, smear sauce on the table top, allow your annoying sprog to wipe grease all over the windows, oh and not forgetting leaving your rubbish strewn across the entire place.
4- Who in their right mind decides to coat a fucking toilet seat in mayonnaise?
5- Why after great customer service would you go into the bathrooms and forcibly ram a whole toilet roll down the loo to deliberately block it up?
6- If a server or waitress tells you that if you order your food in this way and listen you could have it a hell of a lot cheaper, why ignore them?!
7- People who decide to cancel their entire order, after it’s gone through to the kitchen and they’ve started making it already. Just because one teeny item from their order isn’t available to buy.
8- When you re-read someone’s order back to them 5 times, and they agree with it after making multiple changes. Then when it comes out they scream at you for it being wrong, and how it could only be down to you. Even though you read it out to them like 5 times before you processed it.
9- The amount of mess customers can make.
10- When you get a totally unreasonable customer, who takes their entire life and problems out on you, decides to become condescending; and then assumes because you work somewhere for a low wage, you must be worthless and totally not have smashing grades, life goals and plans.
In my entire life so far, I have never been able to accept why such idiotic people exist. What kicks could you possibly get through belittling your server. Oh and when they chime in with the comments of ‘If it wasn’t for me buying this stuff, and making this mess, you wouldn’t have a job’. On a regular and pretty much daily basis since the age of 14, I’ve fantasised a lot about what I’d like to do to difficult customers in my head. Yes I’m smiling on the outside and calling you sir and madam politely, but inside my head you’ve been suffocated, beheaded and reversed over by a fucking truck.
With each year of maturity, comes a hardier and politer customer service front, I’ve loved every job I’ve had since I started working. A few have had their awkward and shitty moments, but usually the great customers outweigh the awful ones. Take Monday night for example, I had several ladies compliment my eye makeup, and ask how I do it. How do I stand there for hours on end, and greet every individual with a smile and a look of genuine care and concern for their issues. I couldn’t answer, I laughed and made a joke about how it’s hard at times; but at the end of the day it’s regular and guaranteed money. But in the same evening, where I geniunely felt so happy and positive about my job, I had an individual forcibly ram a whole loo roll down the toilet. Eh, it’s swings and roundabouts. You can’t win them all.
One thing I can say, I know that when I go out; I neatly stack my plates, use tissues to wipe any sauce mess up, I bin my rubbish and put away my trays. Because I know that my servers have names, they have emotions and they have feelings. They are not robots- programmed to put up with your bullshit. Yes it’s their job, but no one wants a shitty day; and if I can make someone’s shift a bit easier, I will!
I’m also not a total wanker of gigantic proportions.
You can always tell if the person you’re serving has ever worked in the food industry; life usually gets 100% easier and they’re incredibly understanding most of the time. If you’re planning on applying for any job that involves customer service, and or food; grow a thick skin and learn to take life with a pinch of salt.
You can honestly never predict how a shift will go, what you’ll get next or how a night will end. What I love the most is having a great team; knowing that I can have a laugh with the people I work with; and we can sit and have a giggle about the bad together and get through it. I may not be able to go back out there and deal with a difficult customer, but a colleague can; and she can go out and call them ‘My lovelies’ and pacify them completely and make all of your frustration just wash away.
Find a job, but find one with a great workforce. If you can’t have a laugh- you won’t be able to cope. I still bring up the mayonnaise on the toilet seat story now, 5 years on, and it still makes friends laugh. You may get a shit wage, but you’ll have memories that last a life time. (Ha!).