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I’m an angry, little person. It’s really the best introduction I can give myself, but it’s probably not what most people would use to describe me. Roughly the size of an Umpaloompa and in possession of a serious case of chipmunk cheeks, older people are prone to calling me “sweetheart.” Everyone else wants to know when I’m going to graduate from high school and if I really am old enough to be swilling Asti straight from the bottle.
Which only makes me drink more.
It also makes me want to set their hair on fire.
But I must manage to hide most of my rage because I keep getting jobs in customer service. I currently work for a Gas Company That Shall Not Be Named in South Georgia. This is our busy season. People are cold. People are aggravated. No, that’s not accurate, people are enraged.
You’d think we’d have more in common.
Funny how we don’t. I guess I take exception to being called a “stupid whore.” But I’m getting ahead of myself. It went down like this:
Customer: “Your driver still isn’t here! It’s 44 degrees in the house! I want to know what you’re going to do about it!”
Me: “I’ve checked with our branch and he should be there within the hour.”
Customer: “That’s what they said yesterday!”
Me: “I know, sir, and I’m really sorry. The ice storm has hit everyone very hard and we’re struggling to get all of the trucks on the road. I’m very, very sorry—“
Customer: “Sorry? You’re sorry? You couldn’t even spell sorry, you stupid whore!”
Customer: “Did you just hang up on me? Reeva, I think the little, #@&% whore just hung up on me!”
I probably should have. I didn’t. Instead, I put him on speaker phone and asked him to repeat himself every time he called me a name:
Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I still can’t understand you. It must be a bad connection. You said I was wonderful?”
One of my coworkers nearly laughed herself into asthma attack. I was up to four “whores” before he caught on and demanded to speak with our vice president. Right. Like that’s going to happen. The day our VP takes a customer complaint will be the day I stock up on duct tape and beef jerky because the world is about to end.
But this is why God invented phone trees. I kept transferring him to random voicemail accounts and he kept pressing the # sign to get back to me. This must have gone on six or seven times. He got tired of it waaaayyyy before I did and hung up, which I consider a win.
Although, I may feel differently if he brings an Uzi to my work.
The theme of stupid continued through the afternoon. Another outraged customer called in. He was English, which had nothing to do with anything until later in the phone call. Anyway, he wanted to complain that his gas had just “disappeared.”
It had nothing to do with it being cold. It had nothing to do with the fact that we were going through a serious snow storm. Oh, no. Someone from our company must have sneaked in during the night and “stolen” his gas.
You can just imagine how well reasoning with him worked. Stupid, which by that point I was calling The Word of the Day, cropped up again with increasing force until it culminated in this:
Customer: “Well, you stupid, American bitch? What do you have to say to that?”
Me: “That I’m not stupid, but the rest is pretty accurate.”
Because that’s me. Romily Bernard. Improving international relations since 2009. Glad to be on board, guys.