Opinion: Everyone should work in customer service once in their lives

A woman entered a fast food restaurant and ordered a chocolate milkshake. A few minutes later, the young girl working there handed over the shake and told the lady to have a nice day.

As the woman was leaving, she took a sip of the shake and became infuriated. She stormed back to the counter and demanded to know why her drink hadn’t been made properly. The worker asked her what was wrong with the drink and the woman claimed that the shake had too much chocolate in it. The worker explained to the woman that there was a recipe they had to follow, and that her shake had been made to those specifications. If she wanted a different flavoured shake, the young woman said, she would make her one. The woman was further angered by this, and began calling the young girl names, before tossing her drink in the garbage and storming out of the restaurant.

I have worked in the customer service industry most of my career and I can tell you that it sucks. Dealing with impossible customers, such as the woman with the chocolate shake, happens regularly. When you have to deal with angry people, yelling at you every day, it makes you start to lose faith in humanity.

I was the young girl behind the counter who was yelled at by the woman. I’ve had customers calling after they have left to tell me I’m “going nowhere in life” because their order got mixed up. A fellow employee had food thrown at him by an angry customer as he was leaving work. If everyone had experienced what it feels like to work in the customer service industry, people would think twice about treating workers so terribly.

What confuses me the most is that all the fuss is over something so trivial. Think about it, just for a second. To get that angry over something can’t feel very good, and it’s all because the food that was ordered wasn’t right or something was forgotten. Seriously? First world problems, indeed.

That’s not to say that customer service shouldn’t be thorough, and that if a mistake is made, people should do everything in their power to make it right. But people need to realize that the person behind the counter is a human being, not just another tool in the franchise’s corporation. Most of the time it’s not even their fault the order was mixed up. Even if it was, they didn’t do it on purpose: They are trying to get through their day, just like everybody else.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s a basic principle in life that people need to try and follow a little better, especially when dealing with those who can’t fight back.

So please, the next time you are dealing with someone in the customer service industry and something happens that you feel shouldn’t have, take a deep breath. Imagine there is a mirror behind the worker, showing you just how ugly you are behaving. Realize that three years from now, this minute blip of an inconvenience in your life really won’t matter, and try to be a decent human being to the poor soul who is just trying to help you.

Kyanna Claybrook

I am a 21 year old aspiring journalist who enjoys culture, and travelling.


  • Avatar
    Reply December 9, 2014

    Max Kirkpatrick

    Having worked in a customer service job I totally agree. I enjoy that you give instructions on how to keep your cool and be the better person. Good job!

  • Daniella Javier
    Reply December 9, 2014

    Daniella Javier

    I can relate to experiences like this. When I started working at Safeway a few years ago, I didn’t feel like going to work sometimes, because I was scared of hearing customers’ comments. I remember one lady telling me to go faster at the cash register, but I was new so I was hoping that she’s have some patience with me. However, some people can really be nasty but that shouldn’t stop us from providing great customer service. Also, I always remember to have patience with a new cashier or any employee because I know what it feels like to start off at a job. Great article!

  • Lauren Rudy
    Reply December 10, 2014

    Lauren Rudy

    Working in customer service has made me become aware of how poorly staff gets treated. Some people get mad at employees when they are just doing their job. A lot of time the incident that happens is out of the employee’s control. People would have more respect if every one had to experience what it is like dealing with these kind of customers.

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