How to catch an elephant

Why I work with computers

Thursday 11/8/12 - Ellie Von Bun

I have had a few customer service jobs in my days. One was in a flea market back home and another at a ski resort, so there has been a variety of customers between the ones that has just crawled out of their caves to the rich and proud.

Actually, I'm not very customer oriented, which isn't a big surprise as I am socially awkward, but I've always tried my best and remained positive.


Few cases however has been hard to forget, that has left me laughing or boil with rage.

At the flea market you rented your booth, printed price tags and attached them to your stuff and brought them up and put them up. This is the common custom, and we were happy to sell very cheaply the prints of the price tags as not everybody has a printer.

But there was this obnoxious regular woman who was actually a friend of my boss. She always wobbled in like she owned the place and spread her clothes on the counter.

"Hey girl, come and bring me few of those price tags with ya"

I braced myself and put on my artificial smile and submitted under her bossing.

"Now I say the price, you write it down and put it on the clothes, is that clear?"

So I did what she wanted while calling me "girl" and sometimes making remarks as "Is it hard to understand?" "You know what you're doing right?" "That wasn't so hard, was it?"


It hurt my cheeks to smile like an idiot, but that role was easier to bear. Actually I'm quite sure she thought I was slightly retarded as I never said anything, only smiled with murdering eyes. I couldn't charge from her about the price tags nor the pins that was used for the price tags that normally cost something.

"I know the owner, don't you know who I am, I've never had to pay from these!"

And every single time she left, she would leave her rags on the counter.

"You know which one is my booth, right? It's (pronouncing very slowly and clearly) that, one, over, the, back", pointing to the right way looking at me like I'm the stupidest person she ever met.

"You can take these clothes there, after all, it's your job and you don't have anything better to do. I know the owner and I'm in a hurry!"

And why didn't I say anything? Because if I had opened my mouth she would have died from the killer lasers that would have come out of from sheer rage!


Another weird encounter happened on my second day. We had few anti-theft alarms that customers could buy for their stuff, for example this sticker type that would deactivate once placed on the counter. The whole time I was working there (5 months) I had to remove only couple of these so it wasn't the first thing I checked from the products.

I was especially happy and perky when this older woman with the most weird purchases came up to checkout. She had a small plastic doll which had no clothes and almost all the paint had come off from it's face, a small plastic boat that probably was made for a beach toy with a shovel, and lastly an oldish looking plate with small cracks.

I rang her up and she paid the total and was about to leave.

To my utter horror as she was leaving, the anti-theft alarm started to shout and I realized that the plate must have that stupid sticker and the counter didn't deactivated it.

As I apologized and explained this, she only looked at me with this terrified look that I must be the devil herself.


Ho behold, I was right and I happily asked her to hand me the plate so I could deactivate the alarm, while apologizing again that it was my mistake. She started to mumble that how she NEVER could have stole anything and how she is utterly humiliated and that I am incompetent fool that should get fired and that I owe something for her treating her this way.

Now it was my turn to get confused, I ripped the sticker away while explaining that it was my second day at a new job and I didn't remember to keep an eye for the stickers, especially as they should deactivate themselves.

But it was too late, the woman had gone to her bad place and decided to stood next to the counter yelling stuff, ignoring my apologies and explanations. I simply gave her the plate back, bid farewells and good days while she yelled at me how she was never coming back to our shop (which was fine by me).

And as she refused to leave for a while, all the next customers had to hear her ranting to me and for them while I ignored the crazy woman as best as I could.

Leave a comment. Keywords: customers, work, youth