Thought Bubble | Minimum wage doesn’t mean minimum respect

Many high school students are employed in customer service jobs. These jobs can range anywhere from working in the food industry to retail work. In these occupations, employees have to learn and practice customer service. Whether that’s helping a customer find the right shirt size or just putting on a big ol’ smile while preparing their meal. 

The thing is, these jobs are quite irritating and can sometimes not be worth it. These jobs can pay horribly and the employees are not always treated in the best manner.

Despite this, I think customer service is a very useful skill to learn. I learned how to treat customers, apply social skills and deal with rude people.

Over the past few years, I’ve worked in various jobs where I have had to deal with  and cooperate with many people. Many times people have been disrespectful towards me after I’ve done nothing wrong. I have had people yell at me, complain to me, throw away their food, and one customer (definitely high on something) put a gun on the counter facing me.

All those experiences have helped shape me into the person I am today. When dealing with these specific characters, I’ve learned how to diffuse situations so that I don’t get upset and the other person walks away either pleased or humbled. With that, I’ve also learned how to keep my composure when customers are just flat-out disrespectful towards me. 

Now, there are times when some customers don’t care what I have to say when I try to explain or reason with them. For instance, I’ve had people complain about prices that I do not control or think I rang something up wrong, and they will almost always ask for a receipt that will inevitably prove them wrong. It’s satisfying to know that I’m not the one in the wrong, but also I’m putting them in their place when they think they know more than me about my own job.

A former student I used to work with, Kendyl Bolinder, once got a pizza thrown at her while working at Gambino’s here in Alma.“I wasn’t physically hurt and I can handle the way that customer was verbally super aggressive with me, but what upset me so much was just the other customers in the store standing there watching. I just felt super embarrassed,” Bolinder said. 

Even after all this, most employees still put on a smile and go with it because it is our job. “Customer Service sucked at times but I don’t regret it and I honestly recommend anyone looking for a job to try it,” Bolinder said. We carry those habits and attributes we learned from that job through the rest of our lives and future.

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