I work in a small local pizza store. There’s usually three people up front to answer calls and be cheerful to the customers, but the rest of us are behind a partial wall cooking food in giant ovens or grills or deep fryers.
Over the summers, when it’s 90 degrees without the ovens and we have no A/C, we also have a deal that if you pick up your orders on Wednesday you get two free toppings. So of course we get a million complicated orders on Wednesday and have to get everything done as fast as if they were fewer and less complicated.
One Wednesday a family comes to pick up their order and the mother decides to walk behind the wall and watch us hurrying around and trying to work as fast as possible. She then goes online and leaves a 2 star review saying “The food was good but not all the employees looked happy, only the people up front were smiling.” So of course the next day the owner comes in furious and says that no matter where you are on your shift you have to be smiling at all times, and he would be having the store manager check the footage to make sure everyone did it.
So now even when we’re getting grease burns and sprinting around a boiling kitchen we all have to be forcefully grinning the whole time because of this woman.
Horrible customer service is almost expected. It’s one of those things we have such diminished expectations for that we grade it on a curve. Like drinking Hamm’s canned beer or losing your virginity: you don’t expect it to be good; you just want to get it over with and get what you need. Outsourcing doesn’t help as most foreigners don’t magically obtain a perfect grasp of the English language by pretending their name is Steve instead of Sanjay. Also problematic are the built-in layers of bureaucracy all designed to force consumers to rise higher and higher through the ranks of incompetence until you reach a supervisor with the actual authority to help you. And lastly, global corporations still seem to think customers will be happy if their employees can do nothing more than say,“Sir,” “Madame,” “please,” and “thank you.” But most customers aren’t concerned with these niceties. Frankly, I don’t care if you call me Senor Fuckwad just as long as you promptly take care of my stuff. (Actually, I care a little. I mean, Senor Fuckwad? That’s just hurtful. Why would you say that? Are you some kind of jerk?)
That’s why on those rare occasions where competent people in a functioning system actually do their job and take care of me, I seriously consider sexually satisfying them. (Regardless of gender or sexual orientation.) I’m just that happy. Such was the case at the Apple store recently. (Yes, Mac fanboys, take a moment to ejaculate in the corner.) My son’s Nano stopped working. Simple matter. The on/off switch was stuck in the depressed position. Some sort of internal spring malfunction. I made an appointment online, drove over to the Apple store, and then proceeded to wait 40 minutes past the time of my appointment while overhearing the obnoxious inhabitants of the Genius Bar shower i-Intelligence down upon the masses. It was quite irritating actually.
BUT, when my turn did come, a nice young lad with hipster glasses took my name, punched his iPad, saw the Nano defect, and replaced the unit with a new one in literally two minutes. My wife was so happy that even though she’d been bitching about using our Mac laptop while her ASUS desktop was in the shop, she instantly converted to a Mac user for life, and I felt a little guilty for making that Steve Jobs joke.
Today I had a young male teenager come into the bookstore
And he was really excited to see what books we could recommend for him. He was the kind of kid that you would [mistakingly] think wasn’t much of a reader, but his excitement and specific tastes in literature both surprised me and made me happy.
I am always amazed when parents come in and talk about their 8 year old avid readers, or with older people reading young adult books, or with voracious readers who leave with an armful of books.
What amazes and humbles me the most, however, is seeing these reluctant readers become excited about literature because of ONE book that grabbed their attention. People like this customer make my job all the more worthwhile.
It just takes ONE book, guys. Just ONE. It’s wild when a reader finds that one book that pulls them in. It’s almost as magical as watching others read–because you’re watching a mind expand, a heart grow, and hope blossom.
I’m not a fan of office birthdays, or Happy Birthday texts from people I barely know, and I definitely hate the 50 or so obligatory Facebook birthday posts. One day last year, I realized that Facebook is now the only source of anyone’s knowledge of my real birth date outside of close friends and family, so I hatched a plan. Two days before my real birthday, I edited my profile and made my birth date 9 days before my real one…7 days in the past. VOILA!!! No awkward cards, no random texts, no stupid gifts that employees of mine scrambled to get last second. Just another quiet day. It was beautiful.
But that was last year.
This morning, 9 days before my birthday I get a call from my boss. He wants to buy me lunch…FOR MY BIRTHDAY. WTF? Uh, sure. He’s a little off, but why not get a free lunch. Get to the office. HAPPY BIRTHDAY from the employees. Stupid card. Cupcakes. WTF? Check Facebook…never changed the date back. Already too deep in the con to tell everyone, so had to pretend it was my real birthday all day. Worst part was the sobbing voicemail my mother-in-law left on my phone late at night apologizing for missing my birthday.
Bath and Body Works workers are so amazing and cute like they wear those adorable apron things and they seem so happy and friendly and helpful and I just wanna give them all hugs and $100 I love you Bath & Body Works people
And yes that is the Build-A-Bear Sonic plush I chose and made in store back on January 21 when my parents and I went to this nice mall in Grand Rapids we occasionally like going to. The line it took to get him made felt it took a while but it wasn’t an unpleasant experience. As someone who doesn’t care being around kids, it was nice to see such happy faces and the employees did seem like they enjoy making kids smile. At one point I had to take off my jacket due to getting warm exposing the Sonic shirt I was wearing and the lady complimented it and I was like “I DIDN’T PLAN ON THIS HAPPENING TODAY!” in a joking way. Felt I couldn’t just not have Tails accompany him so I chose him over any clothes items they had.
What’s between them is a necklace with a purple crystal and a little tagline above it reading ‘Mistress of all evil.’ You know the one.