Friday, May 20, 2011

We Apologize for the Convenience- adventures in customer service.

     Welcome to the first ever edition of customer service stories that you can all enjoy, identify with, and utilize as guidelines on how to make (or ruin) your cashier's day. As long as it's not me, I don't really care anymore- the empathy part of my brain suffered a sever injury from overuse in 2009 and hasn't been the same since.

     Todays lesson: Over-sharing.
  Most of us are aware of the boundaries involved whilst conversing with others. Certain subjects, for instance, should be avoided when exchanging pleasantries with strangers. However, because many people seem fuzzy on what makes someone a "stranger", I will include some helpful tips to help you identify these people.
   A stranger is most likely:
           - Anyone you have never talked to before, regardless of how many times you have seen them from a distance.
           - Anyone whose name you do not know.*
                   *Seeing someones name-tag does not count as "knowing" that person.
            - Any salesperson that you do not also have a personal relationship with outside their workplace*
                   * Running into them once at Wal-Mart does not qualify as a personal relationship.
            - Anyone who starts a conversation with the phrase "Thank you for choosing _______ how can I help you today?"

       If you're still not sure if someone is a stranger or not, try this phrase:
            "My husband died today so I'm just trying to find a container to put all his model ships in that will still fit in the coffin." 
           If the person in question responds with:
                           - Awkward silence
                           - Mumbled apologies while avoiding eye contact
                           - Nervous laughter
                           - Giant, overly-pleasant smile while reaching for the phone
         This person is most likely a stranger.
      Now that we have identified all the strangers in your life, lets talk more in depth about the concept of over-sharing.
      Over-sharing involves the sharing of personal thoughts, opinions, or experiences with a stranger, such as a cashier, that are not directly related to the purchase you are making or, if directly related, are sensitive subjects that should not be discussed with anyone that is not a close personal friend, a trusted family member, or your doctor. These subjects can include:
                - Medical conditions involving: warts, boils, pustules, bodily fluids, catheters, genitalia, drainage shunts, the digestive system, the reproductive system, the urinary system, or your bowels.
                - Your sex-life, regardless of how well or poorly it's currently going.
                - Anything involving hair not on your head. This includes but is not limited to: Back hair, pubic hair, chest hair, and nipple hair.
               - Gossip involving members of your family. ie; "My cousin Veronica? She slept with her sister's boyfriend's older brother. Can you believe that?"*
               *It is important to remember that a stranger would have no problem believing this because they have never met your cousin Veronica.
                - The recent death of a loved-one.*
                        *It's particularly awkward for a cashier to offer you a new odor-absorber when you have just mentioned finding you uncle dead in his apartment. 
     I understand this can be confusing. "That could be anything!" you say. "It's so intricate!" you say. To help you out, here are some direct examples of over-sharing that I have personally witnessed/ experienced.

        - A detailed description of your weekly task of shaving your husband's back hair.
        - A play-by-play of the events surrounding your grandmother's death
        - Asking a cashier if the product you have selected is effective at removing blood from the backseat of a car.
        - Prefacing a conversation with "I'm in the area because my sister only has three weeks left to live and I thought it would be nice to redecorate."
         - Describing to a salesperson the exact nature of the fluid coming from the lump on you foot in order to help them select the antibacterial soap that is right for you.
         - Telling the cashier that you're just wasting time while waiting for your court appearance in a few hours because some bitch in your apartment building accused you of attempted rape but it was totally her fault because she was being all "come-hither" and you were just trying to be friendly and that dimly-lit stairwell seemed like a perfectly legitimate place to get to know a person and maybe take them out for coffee later you know?

             Over-sharing is an awkward experience for strangers. And while it can be fun to do every so often for entertainment purposes, it is very important to avoid doing it on accident. Not only does it have the potential to at the very least ruin someone's day and at most end in the phoning of the police, it also destroys all potential for a future friendship with that person, not matter how hard you try later-on.
           Please take this lesson to heart and make an effort to stop ruining your poor cashier's day.  =)



  1. This reminds me so much of that time when you were underage and got all drunk and were hitting on that bank teller who turned out to be an undercover cop, and then I was like "Oh crap! Ditch the bong Bayls!" But instead of "bong" I said "thong", and we just laughed all the way to our holding cells...

  2. James: Touche, you can reclaim your title.
    Mom: He's lying this never happened.

  3. So I know that because I'm your sister I'm basically required to read your blog but I totally freaking love it. Like for real it is my new favorite thing.

  4. Thanks Lindsey lol please share it with others!!!

  5. Lindsey: Ditto :D
    Baylee: I still think it needs to become a book... for real though... you could make bank.

  6. hahah well if I can get enough followers on here and keep it going then maybe someday it will become a book. Unfortunately people are reading it but not following =/ I have about 250 total views but only 17 followers... but I'll keep it up and see how it goes...

  7. please do, it's pretty entertaining :)

  8. I enjoyed this!

  9. I wish I could remember the hundreds of conversations we've had to add to this blog. The fun is just beginning!