Wednesday, August 13, 2003

So, here I am, after my first day on this new temp assignment. I am SOOOO glad that I postponed starting this until today and took part in filming the commercial yesterday. I'd have hated to miss out on that under any circumstances, but all the more so once I learned that part of this temp assignment involves remaining diplomatic while irate customers rant at you over the phone.

If you live in the southeastern PA or south NJ area, and if you got a call from a Nationwide Department Store (which shall Remain Nameless), rescheduling an appointment from a repairman who was slated to arrive today, chances are you heard from me. This job is in a call center that serves this region. When one of the techs calls out sick, a repair truck breaks down, or a visit to a prior customer's site takes longer than expected, there are going to be customers on that tech's route that can't be served that day. Their calls will have to be rescheduled. I am, at least until the end of the month, one of the people who calls the customer and attempts to reschedule the repairman's visit.

It doesn't sound too challenging, until you remember that there are some people who are more than willing to shoot the messenger who delivers bad news. Most people were polite. Some were polite but frustrated, and I was more than willing to hear them out, because hey... haven't we all had this kind of experience at least once? It's very aggravating, and I can empathize.

What I *can't* empathize with, however, is the mindset of people who are downright mean. There's just no excuse for that. One particular customer whom I contacted will forever stand out in my mind in this regard. Her washing machine is broken. I can understand being upset over that; I've lived through it and it's a pain. But this lady was acting like it was the end of the world... no, let me rephrase that. She was acting as though we evil, evil customer service reps were deliberately causing the world to end due to our boundless malice. She went well beyond the bounds of "frustrated customer" and crossed into the territory of "I enjoy verbally abusing people".

As unsettling as it was to listen to her... and it also shook up the person training me, to whom The Shrew demanded to speak... there was one part of her rant that nearly caused me to laugh in her ear. Thank God I was able to keep my composure. The Shrew shouted, "I took a day off from work for this! I make $200 an hour, are you going to pay me for that? Are you going to do my laundry?"

First of all, I believe that she makes $200/hour like I believe that pigs fly. Her claim was SO exaggerated as to render the entire statement ludicrous. Second of all, all I could think was, "She supposedly makes $200 an hour and she's never heard of a laundromat?" But I kept my mouth shut and let her keep yelling.

What a creep! She threatened to return her washer AND dryer and buy one from "the store down the street". (Yeah, right, someone who makes $200/hour lives right down the street from an appliance store... I'll believe THAT when pigs fly, too.) I don't think there's even ONE person in the customer service department who had to deal with this harridan today who'd be sorry if she took her business elsewhere. The woman refused to let me reschedule the appointment *and* refused to accept the customer service number I was trying to give her so she could call in her complaints. I pity the repairman who eventually does go there, because she's sure to give him at least as much grief as she gave me and the person training me today.

I'll deal with this job for now, because it pays better than sitting on my tail at home job-hunting (which doesn't pay anything). But I intend to keep looking for other positions, believe me. There's no way I could do THIS long-term. The verbal abuse would burn anyone out after a while.

I hope that other job I interviewed for a couple weeks ago, the one where I'm supposedly waiting to see if the client company calls the temp agency back, comes through. The commute AND the pay will both be greatly preferable to what this assignment has to offer.

Oh, well. At least I worked today.

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