An Open Letter to People With Jobs…Who Don’t Want to Work

May 14, 2012  |  

Good evening customer service employees of the world,

You know, it wasn’t long ago that I worked in retail. I know the struggle of the customer service worker trying to make a little money (post college, I was trying to make as much as possible actually) and maintain as much dignity as possible. I had spent most of high school and college waltzing around in itchy dress pants trying to sell overpriced cheap jewelry at Claire’s, risking my life trying to pull down California King sized comforters for ungrateful customers at Linens-n-Things, and trying to let women know that the bra that was giving them double boob DOES NOT fit at Victoria’s Secret. I had been called stupid, been made to think that selling bright sweats to spoiled teenagers in the suburbs was the best I would do with my life, and had enough panties that weren’t on sale thrown at me as a cashier to know that dignity was a hard think to keep intact as a customer service worker. But despite all that, I worked for my little minimum wage and didn’t let people keep me from giving good service, getting promotions and getting paid at my gigs. Maybe that’s why I’m so confused/perturbed about the alleged customer service I’ve been seeing lately from folks. Girl at Aldo, this one’s for you.

I was just in your store on Sunday trying to find a gift for my mother and trying to possibly find some cheap sandals for this hot weather that’s slowly creeping back in. I was tired as all get out post church, but still in a good mood. A sale sign can do wonders for a gal’s mood. But anyway, I asked you, young woman with the big hair and face full of makeup, if I could get a pair of sandals in a 9 1/2. Knowing how busy retail kids can be, I was even nice enough to apologize for interrupting you. In response you said that was fine and proceeded to put a few shoes back and walked away to help others, and to, I assumed, call in my request. In that time, I actually started to think the sandals were still a bit overpriced, even on sale, and that unless they looked stellar on my feet, I would probably pass. But you didn’t even really give me the opportunity to try those jokers on.

After about 15-20 minutes you walked past me multiple times, didn’t even look in my direction as you moved around the opposite side of the store. At first I understood that you were probably busy…and then I realized you were playing with my time. You did more floating around the store trying to look busy rather than actually being busy. While trying to pass the time looking at purses with my friend, you walked near me, smirked and kept walking. I proceeded to stop you with the quickness to finally get it all out there: “Uh, excuse me, are those sandals still coming out?”

You made somewhat of a confused face and then said, “Oh, I forgot!” Thinking about the fact that I wasn’t in love with the shoes, and you clearly weren’t trying to get them for me, I said, “That’s fine, nevermind on the shoes.” I was expecting a quick “I’m sorry,” and then I was going to be on my way. But instead, your response was the following–with a dose of attitude: “Cool.” *proceeds to shrug and quickly walks away*

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  • Gill at Green Rock Connect

    This is a terrific open letter. I wish sincerely that all young workers in the customer service field could read it. Its beyond frustrating when you can’t get the service you deserve and I imagine that for the manager or owner of a store would be mortified to hear about their staff behaving this way.

  • Deedee_404

    So many of these people are overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated and disrespected that it is ridiculous. I have been in the hospitality industry for 10 years. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have had hotel guests talk to me with total disregard for the fact that I am a human being. While I am not excusing poor behavior, there comes a point where people have taken so much that they decide, “I am just here for the check”. Doing the bare minimum for the minimum wage becomes the norm. It never ceases to amaze me that as consumers we expect the MOST out of the people who come to work everyday for the least.

  • AnnaLovesALot7

    The problem is that customer service reps get paid BS for all the BS they have to put up with day in day out AND they get paid next to nothing to do it.

    Lots of factors go into WHY people end up working in cust service…

    and it’s unfortunate that some nice custs have to deal with BS bc of what another cust (or a boss) did (like treat u like @*$& or pay you next to nothing)

    but in any case, most reps then realize it’s time to find a new line of work

    (and I’m one of them…just quit my cust service job).

  • ok , ok i got to the second page i think third paragraph and stopped. you’ve got some excellent and truthful points. but it sounds like you may want answers so i will give you several . the reason is because most of the employees are young teens (like you were) , tight with management, or just tired of rude stuck up customers who think because they’re working retail they can treat them like dirt. you take your pick or choose all of the above. is there any solution to this. well i will tell you what i do i leave…go somewhere else or come back another time. thats all you really can do . but i will say that it does matter. hello kmart? sears? and there is no more linen and things here (shame i loved that store). you could report them but i would not advise going to the store manager , call corporate headquarters to make sure your voice is really heard. 

  • NGP

    I currently work in customer service and it’s not by choice. I work as a cashier at a grocery store and it’s only because I’m a college student with expenses to pay such as tuition, books, etc. However, I am fortunate because my job give scholarships to college students with a 2.0 and above G.P.A ( If they apply), (CLASS OF 2013! 🙂 . But you have to be in good standing with the company. Although I do not like it, I always keep a positive attitude each time I work because it’s a reflection of me. At the end of the day, I know I did a good job. 

  • M.N. Brooks

    This article is long overdue. I am so tired of dealing with young people who have no sense of work ethic. I blame management though because back in my youth, you didnt want to work, or be courteous to customers your butt was send home. Now its almost like the manager is the same age as the rest of the staff & most times just as lazy!!! Thanks for writing this article. EVERY Business owners should read & post this!

  • I HATE working retail. I HATE it. sure I am glad to have a job and everything, but really this is the best I can do. I have a degree but finding a job is easier said than done. I just can’t quit either. I am 29 years old struggling on a 250 dollar (if lucky) bi weekly paycheck. things here are so bad that you can’t even get jobs at mcdonalds anymore.

    I have given stellar customer service and have had people leave my store so happy. claiming they are going to call in on me and commend me for my great service and how they never had someone pay so close attention to them in their life. then those same people would write into customer service, claim I called them b*****s and w****s, talked about sex on my cell phone while helping them, all kinds of stupid stuff (they forward us all the complaints so they do get dealt with at store level) I have witnessed people get spit in their faces and called n*****s and apes. Then I see these same people come back in the store with a customer service giftcard and a big smile on their face, they don’t care if they almost made someone lose the measly job they have.

    I make every effort to help someone but sometimes there isn’t but so much that can be done. I don’t even talk about my personal life with my coworkers, but if it came to a serious health or safety issue with me or my family, I cannot smile in a persons face, I have to step away from the floor and take time for me.

  • Night-Angel

    I don’t work in retail, but I have to interact with the public on a daily basis. Even if I’m ready to drop dead that is not the customer’s fault and it should not be taken out on them, it doesn’t matter how bad they behave. Too many times I have walked into stores and other places of business and its almost as though I have to beg for assistance. I never do. I walk out and inform them before I do that I will not be returning because obviously their attitude is declaring loudly that they do not want my business. 

  • JenkinksJ

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! This article! I’m currently living in Europe (Switzerland in particular) and will be here for a few years for family reasons and let me tell you; I would give anything to have ANY type of customer service around here. It’s “bad” enough that I’m black and haven’t mastered any of the 3 main languages (German, French or Italian) and so by the time I approach anyone for assistance they already look at me like; oh lord, here comes another ape trying to get some service. Most people in retail and in the service industry in general earn decent pay here and don’t need to work hard for their money so try imagine what type of service you may get if any at all especially at Restaurants! woo-wee!. The worst place is going to a grocery store (think walmart/target) which are called Coop and Migros. Oh dear God; the phrase ‘asking for a kidney on the low’ is appropriate here as the customer service agents could care less and I mean, they will look at you as you call out to them, look you up and down and keep it moving! – Anyway, I needed a good laugh and this article just made my day!! I miss home for sure and can’t wait to come back. 

  • aissata

    I agree with u its really a shame wat passes as customer service these days..they act like they r doing u a huge favor when they really r not…if u hate ur job so much and can’t do it well than quit…

  • IJS

    i myself work in retail but at the same time it is not always the cashiers or store associate’s fault. In your case,  your associate was straight up rude. I try my best to treat all my customers the same way I would like to be treated but sometimes its hard when you have customers that make it their mission to act an a** for no reason and give the store associate a hard time. And sometimes even killing them with kindness doesn’t even work when all you want to do is reach across the register. ijs

  • Uaintgotthese

    I agree, I was in cs for 10 years and that has made me appreciate good customer service and i actually try to be the customer that is pleasant to work with, seeing as though i was on the other side of the phone or counter. I was in Aldo last week, and the two pricks that were in there didn’t even acknowledge me, i guess i didn’t look the part (hair was a bit of a mess and i had on a tshirt and jeans, i was with the kids) he actually walked through my daughter and i and didn’t bother to say anything. I teach my children that if you are not acknowledged when you walk into an establishment, then they have non business getting any of your hard earned money. that’s why, i’d rather shop online. 

  • SayCheese

    Yeah she was busy. The Sales Associate was trying to make a sell. I guess you forgot you weren’t the only customer in the store. Maybe your one those customers that goes full retarded when you come into a store. I work in customer service for now until I finish college. But since you decide not to go into the store in the morning before you went to church you would of got help. But noooooo since you partied and sux d!ck all Saturday you woke up late and had to go to the store on Sunday which was Mother’s Day and every where was pack and busy. You would of got better service B!TCH! 

    • november rain

      Wow! Are you THE chick from Aldo or what?  See this is what happens when folks who have NO BUSINESS (or sense, for that matter) get jobs in customer service. 

      •  Lol I know I think that’s the Aldo girl cause she’s taking this a little too personal. Lmao @ the Saturday comment. Lol

    • Bhoobpal

      U sound stupid…..

    • Rochelle

      Say Cheese is angry because she is an unwed mother that has been working at the call center for 5+ years. Get some ambition girl!

  • Love

    I agree that customer service is going down the tubes! Many teenagers work retail, and they’ve been in their rooms behind tablets and cell phone screens incubating an “all about me” attitude for years. They truly don’t know any better. In other places, I blame it on a lack of resources combined with heavier job demands.

    I work customer service at a call center, and even though there are plenty of rude people I come in contact with on an hourly basis, I try to not let that affect the next person. My tone may not always be extra chipper, but I do what I’m paid to do. Recently, we’ve had a lot of additional duties placed on us with little to no training, and it does become very stressful to do the job correctly AND service the customer efficiently. And that’s where the frustration comes in.

    Also, in my line of work there’s a lot of negativity to be absorbed–I’ve been cursed out, cried on, given sob stories, and even dealt with suicidal people. My job description doesn’t include therapist, so I’ve learned to put up emotional walls for my own protection–I can’t cry over EVERYONE’S problem. So keep that in mind the next time you call up T-Mobile, Comcast, the gas company, or whomever….even if you’re angry, a pleasant tone and cooperative attitude will get you much further and will be appreciated!

    And if you don’t feel like you’re being helped, hang up and try again. CSRs really are a dime a dozen.

    • Hope.Faith.Love333

      “So keep that in mind the next time you call up T-Mobile, Comcast, the gas company, or whomever….even if you’re angry, a pleasant tone and cooperative attitude will get you much further and will be appreciated! … CSRs really are a dime a dozen.”

      ^^^^I work in a call center too … And this right here … Co-sign!

    •  I myself work in a call center. Me and my friend (same job) have to get drinks after work once in a while to calm the stress. The supervisors are bi polar and getting screamed at and cursed out every single day for something that I can not fully control has been daunting on my self esteem and mental state. I mean, I am 22 and I have other goals in my life but I need this job to pay rent, food, etc. and survive. The pay is actually pretty good but it’s the stress. Idk

    • Beemo63

      I too work at a Call Center as a supervisor, and what I have really noticed is that people will say ANYTHING over the phone!  I have been cursed, screamed and threatened so much it does not even phase me anymore.  To help others help us as customer reps know this.  “I” did not personally shut off your service, “I” cannot tell you your account info without your acct. number…yes there are a lot of Denise Smiths’ in this world etc., please get off your cell phone long enough for me to help you.  Speak to me the way I speak to you with respect and courtesy  it goes a long way to getting satisfactory service. WHHew! I feel better.  I  have trained many employees and there are many that are not equipped for the job.  If you have not had proper training at home it cannot be expected on the job, “please” and “thank you” are not just requirements on the job but should also be a social etiquette embedded in your personality.  

  • When I worked my first retail job at Wet Seal I made $7.25 an hour. Employees were not even allowed to work full time unless they were a manager. And of course only full time employees got benefits. On top of that, on weekdays we had to call in first to make sure they weren’t overstaffed. Oh, and there was NO commission. I couldn’t believe that they only employed people 18 and over. Like how can an adult have such an unpredictable job? I realized that most of my coworkers were really supported by their parents and spent their entire check on clothes from the store and their cell phone bill.
     I took the job because I HAD to. I figured it would do until I found a more reliable job. Very soon after I took the job I regretted it and I went to work with an attitude every day. Customers are sooooo nasty and rude like you wouldn’t even believe. You are basically doing b**** work, for less than a livable wage. Then the managers treated all the associates like they were children. I asked the girls that were working there longer than me why they let the managers treat them like that, and it turned out that most of the girls were already looking for other work or were planning on quitting when the fall semester started. After my second measly check I was like, “F that.” I never went back. Years later when I go to the mall I don’t even go in that store, and when I hear songs that used to play when I worked there like Rhianna’s Umbrella, it actually makes me feel a little angry.

    Yeah I was happy to have a job, but I sure as hell did not want to work…THERE. LOL! At least I opened that job for the next poor schmuck. Maybe it was just the location I worked at, but I gained respect and sympathy for people who work minimum wage, and don’t have a choice but to stay.

    •  Oh wow. It’s probably a coincidence but me and my mom went into Wet Seal one day and sure enough they WERE blasting Rihanna, but this was the song she did with Maroon 5 “If I Ever See Your Face Again.”

      There was also this girl who worked there jumping and dancing in the front of the store. Me and my mom were scared…

  • PSU Class ’12…..OoooooWW!!

    I work in Customer Service(for now!ha) and I’m rather friendly and helpful.When people walk up to the counter and see a young black woman,they tend to expect the worst from me.Lol!I will say dealing with the public can be difficult but what in life is easy?Though I’m a bit young,I’ve already learned that anger and negativity can’t argue with itself so it’s best to stay cordial or ignore,a nasty attitude makes you look miserable and just like me,customers can have a bad days and that double-charge on the receipt could have quite  possibly just sent them over the edge-it’s nothing personal,it’s life.When you clock out,you inevitably become the customer again until you go back to work,so there’s a very good chance you’ve pissed off a few people yourself so self-righteousness is not needed.Smile,greet,help and make it look like they pay you very well to do it and eventually they will.Besides,it makes the day go a whole lot faster!

  • Drawr60

    To those customers who insult, scream, ridicule and downgrade the company I work for. You  might think you are the only person who is mean and nasty to me . But honestly after 40 hours of insults and rudeness I need an siesta, a margarita and a  qtip to clean out my brain.
    call center employee

    • Nitty

      An siesata???
      It’s a siesta.

  • Korey

    Girl at Aldo obviously didn’t want to make a commission. 

    This is what happened to me at Macy’s. I asked for a pair of black sandals, size seven. She brings me back creme saying that that “is all they had left.” I know it was almost closing time and I get you’ve been on your feet but REALLY? There is a reason why I ask for a specific color… I don’t care if you are trying dumping the last pair on me trying to clear inventory but that is not the color I needed. 
    Ten minutes later I saw old girl on the counter asking her co-worker what time the store closes… Uh… you work at the store… you should know the hours better than anybody. What if I or someone else was an undercover shopper sent to check up on you and your coworkers during your shift? You would be written up or fired because you unprofessionalism…

    Meanwhile, there are people out there that are desperate for those hours and commissions and would the job without even a whine. I just don’t get it. Who did they screw to get the job meanwhile other people need it way more. 

    • Freebee33

      Um, I don’t really see anything wrong with what that employee did, bringing you out the only color in your size. She brought out the shoe in another color, in case you decided you wanted to try/buy the cream ones, I’m pretty sure that has happened before.

    • StrawberryLove

      What did you want her to do? Pull the black sandals out of her a$$?

    • StrawberryLove

      What did you want her to do? Pull the black sandals out of her a$$?

  • GM_I

    When I saw the title of this thread was “Open Letter to People With Jobs…Who Dont Want to Work”, I thought in my mind “oh, so they’re basically sayin an open letter to women” cuz we all know how many of them either dont want to work, dont work, call out sick from work or quit work once knocked up or married…then when I saw the picture of this thread I LMFAO XD…didn’t read the article but the title and picture provided a great laugh for me so i figured i better not spoil humor i got from this site for the day and not read whatever the writer has to say…cuz im sure i took it out of context but the context i took it in is a lot funnier i imagine 😉

    • what the hell are you talking about? I guess you were trying to be funny, but what you said was very chauvinistic, rude, and annoying. Then you had the nerve to say you didn’t even read the article? SMDH

      • GM_I

        I already said what I was talking about in the comment; the way the title is worded & the picture used for the thread made ME laugh, I wasn’t tryin to be funny for anybody at all…the article isn’t even probably tryin to be funny either but it made me think what I said I thought in my first post, thats it…and if u find what I said chauvinistic, rude & annoying than thats even better (even tho it has a lot of truth in it)…So, THANX!!! lol 😉

        • masa

          you’re a idiot!!  go jump off a cliff… 🙂 thanks have a greaaaat day, how’s that for service?

    • Lina

      I feel the same way about this comment.Didn’t read it but once I saw the avi,I was sure it was a hot random rambling mess filled with irrelevant thoughts,lower case i’s meant to be capital and oddly placed smiley faces. I’m sure I took it out of context but the angry stump-foot midget context I took it in was a lot funnier I imagine ;-)…

      • GM_I

        Yeah, i dont always feel like pushin the shift button when im typing the letter “I” or other words when capitalization is necessary (as u can see) on a blog where every opinion is just as insignificant as the next, including mine…so proper grammar isn’t somethin i (uh-oh did it again) care too much about on somethin like this, doesn’t really matter since its not being graded…but you got me there when it comes to the lower case letters that should be capitalized lol XD…oh, and congrats on being able to figure out how to recognize my avi and screename that has remained the same sinced i’ve used it and choosing not reading my comment, knowing what to expect of it (even tho u did and ur sarcasm in ur own post is a testament to that fact) *smiley face*<—-bet a spelled out 🙂 is even more odd, huh???

        • Lina

          Like,I really would take the the time to read that!Pure comedy!

        • Sophie

          you my friend are a troll….

  • Msnaimah1985

    Love, Love, Love it!