I've not hidden the fact that my previous employer and I had very different views on what it meant to work in customer service. I apply the principle that people need to be taken care of and made aware of situations like wait times or similar things. That hasn't been a problem at my new job until today.
When I work I'm either out on register or in the office. When I work the office I work the office counter and the gas counter. It doesn't overwhelm me at all. I actually find it quite fun most days to stay busy. I also always, always apologize if there is ever a time when I'm helping one counter before the other as they can't always see when I've got someone in front of me depending on where the customer/I am standing.
Well, today I was busy - it was during our busier time of when people are going home - and I had a little old lady come up to the main counter and purchase some money orders, no big. I also had a lady waiting at the gas counter so I said, "Sorry, I will be right there." That's all I said. Once I was done with the money orders, I helped the lady at the gas counter, again, no big. I thought I had everything handled. Until about five minutes or so later when the older lady came back to the office counter and started berating me and telling me that I made her feel like an inconvenience because I apologized to the other customer. Um. What?!?! I apologized probably about 15 times as the lady continued to berate me and tell me I was wrong among other things. She had me so flustered and upset that I was nearly crying in front of her and managed to totally mess up her refund which caused a major outage in my till at the end of the night but that's a whole other issue. When she finally felt she had said enough and walked away, the tears started. The things she said to me were so personal and just mean that it really stung. Like, really stung. This older gal then decided it was ok to corner a coworker (who had been standing there during the original transaction but not the berating) and tell her how she felt...and then at least two more cars in the parking lot. One of those cars had a woman in it that had been in and seen how upset I was after she left and that kind lady spoke up for me, the old lady's response? "I don't care how she feels." Thanks. I'm not a human or anything, words and actions don't hurt me or anything.
I will *never* understand just mean spirited people. NEVER. I also firmly believe that every single person should be forced to work in a customer service job for at least six months of their life so that they understand what those people go through. I'm certain the world would be a different place. Basically this isn't meant to be a beggar of support or anything just a little bit of something so that maybe you think before you speak the next time. It isn't just in these types of situations that can cause hurt. There doesn't have to be a specific person in mind when words of meanness are spewed. Case in point? This tweet sent out by a blogger that I admire: "Just going to throw this out there: if you're a woman + you are
willingly voting republican this year, I question your sanity + self
worth." Um. As a female Republican, thanks for that. When I said something to her about it, this is what I got: "and you're entitled to that opinion. I politely think that's the dumbest thing a woman can do. But hey, whatevz." Um. Thanks again. All I'm saying is that don't be a person that says things about how people are mean online and "hide" behind the anonymity of the internet or anything else and then have things that are incredibly mean spirited come out of your mouth.
Be careful what you say, you never know who is listening. You don't know what the person that is listening will think. Yes, I do take things to heart much more than I should, but that is just how I am. And because I'm that way I will always try and think before I speak, I will always be the one that is reminding people that you need to be kind. One of my favorite quotes is "Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting their own battle"
Remember that your words can hurt. Your words can cause harm. Your words can do damage....and you will never know just how damaged other people are....