Wednesday, November 19, 2014


       I've had a lot of weird things happen to me in almost twenty years of working in customer service.  When I come home, I retell the funnier ones for the children's amusement.  Sometimes, they sound a lot funnier to me than to them, and the looks of horror that come across their faces when I'm acting the stories out makes me realize that my sense of humor might be a tad bit skewed.
     Today, I tried to help an interesting gentleman.  I don't like using the term "crazy," as most of the time it's not really nice/not appropriate/too generic a word to use.  I'll just stick with interesting.  He was probably in his late 40's and looked like it was a really rough couple of decades.  He had one crutch, and the left side of his glasses were entirely being held together with duct tape - like it went from being attached to the actual glass all the way to his ear with a quarter sized knob where the hinge should be.  I point this out due to his ingenuity.  During high school, the only way I could keep my glasses together was to use hot glue, because my mom couldn't afford to buy me new glasses.  I never thought to us duct tape.
     He started to become a bit animated in the lobby, so I moved him to my office.  The number one rule with loud/difficult/unruly customers is to move them away from the main thoroughfare.  Patrick Swayze teaches us in "Road House" to be nice and take it outside - this gets it away from the paying customers, protects the breakables and gives you more room to operate.  I can't take them outside, so my office has to do.  "Road House" is an underutilized teaching tool.  I challenge you to watch it again for other applicable life lessons. 
     Back to our story ... The interesting gentleman brought his mother with him.  She kept admonishing him to keep his temper under control and not yell me.  He got more and more animated and agitated anyway.  He had difficulty answering my questions and instead told me why he'd been kicked out of other places and hung up on by customer service reps.  We wouldn't help him ... we'd taken his money ... we'd made him homeless.  He told me that he had threatened to burn buildings down, blow things up, rip people's throats out.  I'm not joking.  He repeated the throat ripping out part several times, adding in the word "your" as he stared at me.  Meanwhile, I kept trying to get the story that led up to all this so I could figure out who to call to help him.  It wasn't working - he was getting louder and his mother was of no use to me.  So, I started to whisper his first name over and over slowly.  He instantly quieted.  I whispered my question, and he answered.  Then I made a call, found his answer, which suddenly caused him to remember that he knew the answer all along, and they got up and left my office.  His mother shook my hand and told me how proud she was of him that he had behaved himself.

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