Before Your First Full-Time Job, Everyone Should Work In Customer Service

Before Your First Full-Time Job, Everyone Should Work In Customer Service

Everyone knows what it's like to buy something. But what does it look like on the other side?


Even before they go to college, many people experience what it's like to have a part-time job. Some of our first experiences making money are working putting clothes back on a shelf or trying to fit various foods in a bag, making it through the week until payday hits and the whole process starts over. When you get back home, there are always stories to tell. Some are about the nice customers who joke with you or ask about your day. But the hardest ones to tell, let alone experience first-hand, are the angry customers.

Anyone who's ever worked in customer service has had a story about an irritated shopper. Usually, it's someone having a bad day already, and then something doesn't work out. It could be an old coupon or a deal that didn't come up, but all the sudden what starts as a small issue becomes something much bigger. All the sudden, there are raised voices, accusations, and even threats.

On the customer's end, everything ends up working out. If they create enough of a problem, many managers will give customers the savings they were hoping for. Worst comes to worst, the customer doesn't get the deal, but can leave the store and (hopefully) improve their mood. The same doesn't go for the employee. Employees have to try to work with a customer who is angry and de-escalate them.

They walk a fine line between an aggressive customer and a frustrated boss. While trying to appease the customer, you have to follow the rules. Some customers will get even madder, claiming you don't know how to do your job or scaring you by saying they will find your manager and try to get you fired. Best case scenario is when your manager comes out and takes care of the customer for you. But even then, negativity continues. You can't leave until the end of your shift. You feel incompetent and upset, and unrightfully so, but the only thing you can do is continue working.

Not all customers are like this. And yes, sometimes coupons and discounts don't work when they should, and when that happens you should speak up. But it's never a solution to yell at the employees working there. If everyone went through the experience of working a job in customer service and went through these dilemmas on the other end, everyone would treat employees with more kindness. Most importantly, remember to treat everyone with respect, whether you're a customer or employee.

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Stop Being Rude To Customer Service Workers

If this is you or someone you know, you're cancelled.

The headline says it all, but let’s go ahead and talk about it. If you or any of your loved ones are rude to retail or food service workers, you’re canceled. As someone who has worked a couple different jobs in the food industry, there’s always one similarity. Regardless of where I have worked or what the job has entailed, I always had to deal with rude, creepy, or intimidating customers. Hey everyone, there’s no reason to be that way. Go ahead and chill.

I will never forget my third shift at my very first job. I worked at a cupcake place in Palo Alto, CA, and I almost thought this shift would be my last. I opened the store with another one of my coworkers and got ready to start the day. A lady walked in first, with a separate couple following shortly behind her in line. My coworker went ahead and took the order of the first woman who had walked in because I was still learning how everything worked, and I was shocked by what happened.

This woman proceeded to give my coworker the most complicated order of a million different cupcakes in a million different, very specific boxes. My coworker was doing her best to keep up, but this woman definitely wasn’t making it easy for her. After a while of going back and forth, the woman grabbed the notepad and pen out of my coworker’s hands, and she started to fill out her own order slip. She caused a huge scene, and it got worse when she demanded to speak to our manager.

I went to the back of the store to grab my manager, who clearly had better things to be doing. That was when the shouting began. This customer started yelling at my manager, saying that my coworker and I were incompetent, unable to handle basic customer service, and disrespectful to her. First of all, I hadn’t even opened my mouth yet, and my coworker was doing her best to keep up with this lady’s complicated order.

My manager seemed nothing short of annoyed and upset, but she kept it professional, just as a respectful person would. She resolved the situation by giving her a few of her cupcakes for free. This bothered me because this woman was exhibiting disgusting, immature behavior and being rewarded for it, but I understood my manager just wanted her out of the store. As she proceeded to scream that she would never be returning to our store, she grabbed her cupcakes and left.

I was absolutely shocked. As someone who was so new to the job, I had no idea that people ever spoke to others with such hate and aggression. So why didn’t I quit, might you ask? Well, remember the couple that followed this woman into the store? The whole time this interaction was happening, they had grabbed napkins and pens, and they had written my coworker and I each little notes that said, “Don’t listen to her. You’re doing great,” with a little drawing of a cupcake.

This couple did more for me than they knew they had that day. They didn’t know I was brand new to this job (or any job for that matter), they didn’t know I was only 16 and scared of the woman in front of me, and they didn’t know that at that moment, I had contemplated quitting my very first job. They just decided it was the right thing to do because they wanted us to know we weren’t all the mean things the woman had said we were. So if this article somehow makes it to the couple that did this for us, I want to personally thank you for restoring my faith in humanity.

Anyway, the moral of the story here is don’t be rude. It literally is not at all hard to be pleasant, so just be that way. Next time your order gets mistaken for something else, the restaurant is taking too long, or the retail store has strict return policies, take into account that the people behind the counter aren’t the ones you should lay into. We’re doing our best, people. Don’t be the reason some 20-year-old girl vividly remembers a horrific work experience she had four years ago. More importantly, if you play witness to a rude customer, level with the workers. Do like the couple did for me, and validate the person on the receiving end of the verbal abuse.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Bercow

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From Art Supplies To Mugs Here Are 12 Things On Every Future Teacher's Christmas Wish List

Everything you could ever want and more.


As a prospective teacher, your wishlist never stops growing. All year long, you see things that could look so cute in your future classroom or help you stay organized in your future classroom. The time has finally come when you can share your wishlist with friends and family and hope for the best. If you're a future teacher, you need these 12 things on your wishlist ASAP.

1. A pretty, new set of pens.

So you can color code EVERYTHING, you know, the way it should be.

2. An agenda for the new year.

Your current one is probably beat up, so a fresh one will get you so excited.

3. A funny teacher wine glass.

One of the cutest items on your wish list, a wine glass like this is a must.

4. A cute coffee mug.

While a wine glass is adorable and necessary, it's also important to have something to hold your coffee for those work appropriate beverages,

5. Signs for your future classroom.

To spice up the place, or to make your desk more personal. Either way, these signs are a hit among teachers and make a great gift.

6. A teacher tote bag.

Tote bags are a necessity to carry everything to and from school. Bonus points if it's monogrammed or personalized!

7. Ornaments.

It's never too early to start filling your tree with teacher ornaments.

8. Clothing to add to your teaching attire wardrobe. 

If you're not officially a teacher yet, start stocking up on the basics when holiday sales are happening! Think business casual pants, cute sweaters, and more that you can ask for!

9. Teacher t-shirts.

Especially if you'll be teaching elementary school...these are too fitting!

10. Candles.

Teachers love candles, so this is a fool proof gift that can do no wrong.

11. Insulated tumblers.

Teachers can never have too many caffeine holders, am I right?

12. Art supplies. 

Freshly sharpened color pencils or a variety pack of markers will do the trick.

The teacher or future teacher in your life would be thrilled to receive any of these gifts! After all, they've been compiling a wish list all year long!

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