I have been in the customer service gig for over twenty years, from being a waitress to a manager and everything in between. So believe me when I tell you, I know the frustration of working with the public. Hell, it’s not good genes that give me my full bottom lip…I got that baby from all the times I had to bite my lip to stop myself from saying what I was thinking about a customer’s behavior. From a temper tantrum over OPI Lincoln Park after Dark being on back order to a mother mocking her teen daughter’s oily scalp to a flat iron being thrown at my head…I have heard,seen and felt it all. Quite honestly, it is getting a little old and tiresome. I have to leave it at the door, I think everyone should as well.
For those of you wondering what the hell I am talking about, let me explain. In the customer service circles, “Leave it at the door” means just that. Whatever personal issues you are having, be it a sick child, a boyfriend who gives the joystick more attention than you (pun definitely intended), or your undies are bunching up – leave them at the door and pick ’em back up at the end of your work day. In other words – to quote Melvin Udall “sell your crazy somewhere else…we’re all stocked up here”. (you know…Jack Nicholson… As good as it gets…sigh). Life gets in the way, all the time. Leave it at the door.
I understand, trust me, how difficult it can be to “leave it at the door”. In one week I had my husband and my father have a heart attack as my daughter was in the throws of beginning high school. Guess what?!? Still had to put on a happy face and be polite. Still had to do my job and help our customers and clients. First of all – that is what you call being a professional. Second, that is called being an adult. Third and most important, using my husband’s or father’s health as an excuse to act like an ass would make me, well, an ass.
What brought on this tale today you ask? Well, let me tell ya, I ran into someone who didn’t leave it at the door, and quite honestly, it pissed me off. There I was, in line at my local grocery store. I have been a cashier in my youth, so I know what a joy that job can be, so I always make a point of being nice. The elderly gentleman in front of me was buying a jug of water and was paying with change. Well, Goldilocks (she had blonde hair), sure didn’t appreciate that. I heard so many sighs I was waiting for a parental advisory to come across the scanner. After the gentleman finished his count, she reached for the receipt and stared me down. Alrighty then. I get up to the cash and say hello to which she barks without eye contact “Need a bag?!?”. Funny, she had no problem with eye contact a few seconds ago… . “No, I brought one thank you.” to which she grunted and began to pile my groceries, on top of said bag. So, I dug threw my bread and berries, got the bag and began to pack it myself. She finished ringing in my groceries, then stared at me. Wow! Eye contact restored. So, I looked at the monitor, saw my total and asked her “so the total is $41.40?” to which she quipped “Yeah.”. I give her my money, she gives me back my change, on the counter as my hand is open and out, and turns back to the next customer (god be with him). I wish her a good night and receive no response. This is when my 10 year old self popped up and I found myself saying “HEY! I said to have a good night.”. She turned, stared and stuttered out “have a good night”. “Thank you, see you again.” is what I left her with. Now, I admit, not one of my finest moments. Hopefully it made her realize she was being an ass and maybe, just maybe she would be nicer to her next customer. Maybe, just maybe, tomorrow she will leave it at the door.
When it feels like life is kicking you in the crotch, why give it more of an excuse to get a few more blows in? If you are being miserable, you are gonna get misery given back to you. If you are being an ass, you are gonna get an asshole convention showing up all damn day. Just leave it at the door, and maybe, just maybe, on your way out the door at the end of the day, the wind will have blown it away.