Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Observations from behind a Customer Service Desk

There were six glorious weeks over April and May when I was too busy to blog because of work. And although I missed the interaction with my imaginary friends, I will have to admit that truly enjoyed the feeling of being busy and productive for a change.

The upside of all those blogless days was being able to gather oodles of anecdotes to share with you. As a customer service rep in a busy shopping centre I had the privilege of interacting with some very interesting specimens of humanity. Unlike the Oscars where the lists of mentions are long and boring, I've chosen instead to focus on the most brilliant, funny, amusing and touching sightings that I now share with you.

  • A rather large middle aged woman wearing a t shirt that read " Man Eater". Half of me applauded her nerve while the other half was dying to ask her if that meant she had literally devoured one of the male species. She sure looked like she'd had a rather large lunch.
  • Tween gay boys shopping with their tween girlie pals. About the only wise thing I've seen from the girls of this place. Coz really, their boyfriends would NOT put up with long hours of mindless window shopping and of them trying out endless outfits all in a bid for the "Who's Cutest" crown.
  • On the other end of that spectrum, we have the long suffering husbands holding multiple carrier bags either walking a couple of steps behind their bustling wives or standing around at designated spots waiting for the women to materialise out of various shops.
  • Old dears with their bus pass hanging around their neck reminding me of kindergarten kids who have their hankies pinned to their shirts. Ah, bless!
  • Ugly parents with surprisingly cutie babies that make me think about the miracle of genetics.... and hospital swaps.
  • The ability of mums or child minders to simply block out and effectively ignore the otherwise penetrating siren like wails emitting from their charges.
  • Mothers and daughters out shopping together. Sometimes, accompanied by Gramma, Aunties and a cousin or two. Family resemblances abound. Sometimes a blessing, other times more like a curse and a definitive reason for cosmetic surgery.
  • Couples that dress alike. Never a good thing no matter what your age. Particularly disturbing when they get matching his and her fake tans.

There were the folk that stopped by the desk. 95% of the time they wanted directions to the toilets and my colleagues and I used to come up with a number of ways to lead them to the destination. The customer service desk itself was situated on the lower level in front of a large Boots store. And yet, we would have at least one or two people EACH SHIFT who'd stop by our desk to ask directions to..... the Boots store. I would also like to point out that my chair and desk backed the store so in fact they'd actually be facing the store while asking me the question!

Then there was that one time when a lady came up to me asking about the hairdressers on the second floor. I told her that we didn't have one on the second floor, but there was one on the lower level.
Lady: No, No. Its on the second floor of the XYZ shopping centre. I know it is!
Me: Ma'am you do realise that this is the ABC shopping centre? XYZ is across the street.
Lady: Well of course I know that. But this is information isn't it?
Me: *sigh*

Or the time when E and I were approached by one of G Town's finest teenage population.
Boy: Cannae tell me whey *grifbidhvghs* is?
Me/E: Erm... pardon?
Boy: *ahcuyrkjib* - I'm lookin' fore eet.
Me/E: *walking round to be closer to him* Sorry, we still didn't get that.
Boy: *looking at us like we're special*
Me: I know, why don't you write it down for us!
Boy: *walks off in disgust*
E: Pixy, you're asking a NED to spell something other than his name?

Yes, very silly of me indeed. No wonder the lad thought I was special.

While we're at it, we mustn't forget the Grabbers, so called because they'll pick up anything and everything that's not nailed down. Promotion leaflets, discount flyers, free magazines, scraps of paper all of it goes rapidly into their over sized bags already full with junk that they've picked up at various other places.

Also high on the list were the Regulars. The folk who day in and day out were at the shopping centre. Mostly window shopping, browsing, looking around. Characters, each one of them. Some would wave a hello as they went passed, others would stop to chat for a while. One in particular would stay and chat for a while. Sometimes a really long while. But she is a lovely person, just looking to fill some of her day with affable company. I can understand and appreciate that.

There were also a host of lovely fellow centre employees I met during the assignment. Security staff, cleaners, shop assistants and more. Of course, I made friends with the good people at the coffee shop on my very first day! And most of all the lovely Tigger; first colleague and now friend. Sometimes a job can give you so much more than just a pay cheque.


Elli said...


Anonymous said...

Another gem, my dear!

Wandering Wynie said...

Hospital swaps! I love it. Hope all continues to go well ;) x

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