Internal Stupidity

Working in customer service, you’d think that all, or nearly all, of the stupidity that I deal with on a regular basis would come from the customers I deal with. Actually that is far from the truth. In actuality, much of the stupidity I deal with comes from my “superiors.” Believe it or not, I have been sent to work at several locations all over the Bay Area.

So far the manager at one station simply is never available…at all…ever. At the location I started working at, the manager spends more time on her cell phone, either talking or texting, than doing her work. She is quite candid about this. She has no qualms about letting people know that her calls and/or texts are of a personal nature, in fact, she carries on about her family drama at work on a regular basis. She is, on average, two and a half hours late to work every day, it takes her about two hours or more to run any errand. She flaunts these facts as if she were a queen. When I tried to kindly mention these facts to our regional manager, when she asked me about it, she became agitated and defensive saying, “The numbers speak for themselves.” The location of this store means that a monkey can run it…of course the numbers are good!

I moved to another location whose manager displayed violent tendencies. Again, the regional manager asked my opinion of my new manager. I expressed concerned about those violent tendencies. Again she became agitated and defensive, doing absolutely nothing about the issue. Sure enough, this manager’s violent tendencies came to a head resulting in tragedy and a law suit against the company, as well as the termination of said manager. This left the store WITHOUT a manager for a week. (We certainly can’t count the non-English speaking  idiot with one brain cell that they call an assistant manager…)

Now we have a new “manager.” She has taken the liberty of completely rearranging the store so that nobody can find anything. We have nothing in stock, what we do have in stock is under lock and key so we cannot access it. Our customers are livid, yet we are at fault if we cannot make them happy. The new store policy is to card EVERYONE for tobacco and alcohol. So, when my 80 year old regular customer comes in to buy his pack of cigarettes that he gets EVERY DAY, I have to now ask for his ID…EVERY TIME! Do these people get upset and offended? Of course they do, and I don’t blame them! I have no business asking anyone over 40 for an ID for tobacco! This woman expects me to CALL her to get an ok to let an 80 year old man buy cigarettes without an ID! How ridiculous is that!

Let us recap: two of the managers I’ve seen here severely neglect their stores, one was violent enough to put his store in danger, and this last manager deliberately and purposely hinders her employees’ abilities to do their jobs. Which is worse?

Stupidity often comes from within a company. If the regional manager would just look at the idiocy that is happening around her, or at least listen to what her employees are saying, perhaps something could get done. Addressing the violent tendencies of the previous manager here could have prevented a lot of heartache for this company. Addressing the slacking of the manager at the other location could also prevent a lot of heartache for the company, but I’m sure the higher ups have no intention of doing so. It seems that this company would much rather clean up a mess AFTER the fact than prevent the mess from happening in the first place.

Misled…

I’ve been getting very frustrated with job hunting lately. Companies are determined to list sales and customer service as the same thing. This is far from the truth, in fact, sales and customer service are opposing forces. Customer service reps have to constantly clean up the messes that sales reps make.

As an intelligent, empathetic and compassionate person, I am more suited for a customer service position, yet when I try to apply for a customer service listing, more often than not I find that it is actually a sales position. Can I sell? Of course I can, I just prefer not to. The concept of having my livelihood hinge on making someone else buy something they really don’t want or need is not my cup of tea. The fact that most, if not all, companies lie about their products makes matters worse! I have “indestructible” Cutco knives in my drawer with bent and broken blades. My Kirby is a pretty good vacuum, but $2200? Both brands I sold very successfully…along with small pieces of my conscience.

In the end, I’d much rather fight for the customer after they’ve been screwed by the sales rep, because I understand and empathize. Either way, sales and customer service are NOT the same thing and companies should not list them as such. I want to work FOR the customers, not against them.

Just so moronic companies understand, setting up appointments for sales people to sell a product is still a SALES position. ANY position that can make commission is a SALES position…duh…

Mass (Un)Intelligence

According to statistics, the average IQ in the US is around 90. At first glace, I’m like “No, that’s not right.” Seriously, 80 is considered mentally deficient! After working in customer service for a while, the statistics become more believable. You can explain things dozens of times and people still don’t get what you’re saying. I’ve had conversations with customers that really blow my mind. Here in the Bay Area, we can no longer provide plastic bags and have to charge for paper ones. (Don’t you love politics?) Here’s a conversation I had with a customer concerning this:

Me: Would you like to purchase a 15 cent bag to put your items in sir?

Customer: No…Could I get a bag for this stuff?

Me: I have to charge you 15 cents for that bag?

Customer: You’re kidding, right? Forget that! (Grabs his stuff and storms off.)

If he had been talking on the phone or texting or something, I could understand a little bit. Distraction can make it difficult to hear or comprehend what someone is saying, but this guy was just standing there looking at me. This is not an isolated incident. Eight hours a day for 32-40 hours a week I have to deal with a constant flow of people who either do not know what they want, or cannot tell me what they want, then have the gall to call me stupid because I cannot tell them what is on their mind. If I were I mind reader, trust me, I’d be making A LOT more money than I am now.