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Josh on Customer Service


No one likes dealing with customers. Itís a proven fact. Just go to any large store, and chances are that there will be a separate line for customer service, or ďcustomer relationsĒ if you will. Why is this? Why canít you just explain about how your VCR broke to the checkout counter lady at Best Buy that you bought your VCR from, and have her give you your money back? Obviously the VCR was defective when you bought it, and obviously the channel selector only went up to 10 when you bought it, and not because your 4 year old dropped it when playing Nintendo. Why is that people who want to sell you things donít want to answer any questions that you ask them?


Could it be that cranky customers arenít a good way for a business to make any money?

Is it possible that rich owners of Fortune 500 companies donít actually relish giving any of their hard earned money back? Is it possible that selling avocados is profitable? Could it be that when you return something, the company you bought it from loses money, and that losing money is not on their agenda, and so they donít put a high priority on paying people to lose money?


With these questions in mind, and understanding the fact that in this consumeristic nation that we live in, making money is the first and only priority for any company, no matter what, customer service is way down on the priority list of most companies. Ha ha! Did you notice that I repeated myself in that last paragraph to this one? Itís just one more bit of evidence that I am of a singular mind, which is good because I presently have only one mind, unlike Steve Martin in that movie the Man with Two Brains. Oops, sorry to get sidetracked, lets get back to talking about how evil you consumers are.


Think about it; you donít make any money in customer service, all you do is give it away, or explain calmly and politely to rude people about why you canít give it away, and thatís just at McDonaldís when you beg for a Big Mac, and they donít even think about giving it away. Oh, the humanity!


Oh yeah, did I mention how much I dread having to get a charge off of my credit card? First you call the number on your receipt, and then you wait five minutes while listening to the latest classic from Michael Bolton, or an overly cheery commercial for a product that you obviously donít want. Trust me, commercial programming works in small, you know, 30 second size commercial doses. If youíre forced to listen to the same commercial over and over again youíll either really love the product (probably not gonna happen) or will hate it and blame it for the falling economy (more likely). After the commercial, if you still havenít been scared off, you will frequently be hung up on. I swear, itís like the customer service phone people are like ghosts in a haunted house, and youíre the kid whoís going to try to spend the night in the spooky house with the Scooby Gang. They try every trick they know to get you to leave, and if you stay long enough you just might get something, or you might get lost in the horrible maze of button pushing, or fall asleep while waiting for customer service to talk to you. Itís a really unpleasant situation, and they arenít equipped to come to your house and wake you up when this happens either.


It also seems that the phone people are trained to screw you out of your money by finding technicalities in what you want to complain about, and proving to you why you donít deserve anything. Hereís my favorite example of the time this happened to me. It involves a certain popular cell phone company, that I donít want to name, but it starts with an ďSĒ. This is sort of a re-enactment of that wonderful phone call. Ahem


Me: Hello. I have one of your cell phones, and a button is broke on it, and the antenna is completely gone. I would like a new one since I already pay you 4.95 a month for your ďreplacement policyĒ.

Guy on the phone: You originally reported this more than 60 days ago.

Me: Has it been that long? Wow does time fly. Yeah. I finally broke down and decided that the 34.95 charge for a new phone after Iím already paying 4.95 a month would be worth it I guess.

Guy: But you reported this more than 60 days ago sir.

Me: So.

Guy: Your event has already been reported, and so I would have to report a new incident, and therefore can not issue you a new phone at this time. Is there anything else wrong with the phone?

Me: NoÖ

Guy: Then I canít give you a new phone under your policy.

Me: So let me get this straight. Just because itís been more than 60 days, and keep in mind, no one ever told me that I had a time limit after I reported my broken phone to actually pay for my broken phone, I canít get a new phone.

Guy: Thatís correct sir.

Me. Uh huh. So what if I lost another button and water damaged the screen tomorrow, but after reporting it to you and not paying 34.95 I forget again for longer than 60 days again. Then shortly after that something else goes wrong and I report it, and conveniently enough for you, I forget to pay for it again. And so on, and so forth, until finally at the end of many 60-day periods my formerly brand new phone is now almost completely non-existent and definitely non-functional. Would I then be able to get a new phone?

Guy: You mean outside of the 60-day period?

Me: Yes.

Guy: No.

Me: Youíre an idiot.


And then of course I hung the phone up, waited three weeks, and then threw my phone up about fifty feet in the air and made sure it landed in a bucket of water. It was a sad moment indeed to realize that I had another ďeventĒ to report. Of course now I have a phone with all of its original buttons attached, and the evil phone company has 34.95, so I think everyone really got what they wanted if you think about it. Itís just that in this particular case, they made it really hard to take my money. Man, what were they thinking?