Working in customer service gives people the important skill of interacting with others. Many people start off in a customer service job such as retail or working in a restaurant. In addition to creating basic skills, it also tends to provide some funny stories.
For instance, Ms. Szell shared, “While working in a restaurant, a customer stated, ‘I think I have something you need. One side of you is tanner than the other side of you. Do you know those rotisseries that they make for chickens? I made one for humans and I brought it to Ocean Beach. I spun around in it so much that it made me get sick and then I was kicked off the beach.’” That is definitely not a common interaction that can be experienced on a normal day.
A not so funny story shared by junior Sophie Evans is what some people may call a “Retail Horror Story.” Evans works at Forever 21 and only a few weeks in, she said, “A man walked into the dressing room and I went to pick up the clothes that he decided to leave on the floor for me, and there was vomit on the floor. I had gone to my manager to let him know and he made me clean it up.” Cleaning up vomit is not something anyone would like to do at work, but at least she got paid for it! Similarly to that, Evans’ co-worker senior Yzabella Waddell said, “One time this lady brought her super cute puppy into the store, even though technically they’re not allowed to. It ended up pooping on the floor and I had to clean it up.” Forever 21 is not the only place where bodily fluids have had to be cleaned up. Senior Emma Katherine Smith works at T.J. Maxx and she says, “Right when the dressing rooms opened again after COVID, we had to close one due to it being filled with pee at the end of the night.”
Furthermore, she has had many odd encounters with customers. One example Smith says is, “there is one older customer who comes into the store every day. He plays music from his phone, and dances around the store singing along to the song. My coworkers are amazed with how he drops it low and has so much excitement coming into the store.”
Along with funny retail stories, customer service, in general, has its ups and downs. Ms. Malavazos used to work in a pharmacy where she was considered a “part-time hero” to one customer. She says, “When I worked at a pharmacy a little boy was in the carriage and his grandmother was pushing him around. His leg ended up getting stuck in the carriage and she was freaking out telling me to call the fire department. I ended up grabbing lotion and used a ton of it to eventually get his leg unstuck. His grandma thought of me as a hero and after that, she consistently sent letters to the pharmacy thanking me for saving her baby’s life.”
In addition to a retail story, math teacher Mr. Law shared a story from when he worked at Express. He says, “While in college I worked at a clothing retail store on Long Island. There was a female college student who also worked there who was regularly approached by male shoppers in a way that made her feel uncomfortable. So whenever we were on shift together, she would wear a fake engagement ring and pretend I was her fiance to avoid the unwanted attention.” There may be times where pretending to be engaged to your coworker is a normal experience rather than dealing with dog poop, throw up, stuck babies, and singing customers.
It’s a universal feeling to hate working in customer service. However, getting the experience to interact with others, regardless of how difficult situations can be, is an important building block in someone’s life. People working in customer service have seen it all: from weird, to funny, to downright disgusting, but at the end of the day, there always will be a story to tell.
Senior Emma Katherine Smith is an Editor for the 2021-2022 Horizons yearbook and Colonel Newsmagazine. She relies on Dunkin’ coffee and Yzzy Waddell to keep her sane.
Senior Yzabella Waddell is a staff writer for the 2021-2022 Horizons yearbook and Colonel Newsmagazine. She loves animals and her bff Emma Smith. She also plays for the girls’ soccer team!