Every Young Person Should Work A Customer Service Job

By Alisa Patience

Every job I’ve had so far has been customer service related, from my first job as a Sales Associate at Rue 21, to my current job working at Panda Express. I’ve had six jobs in three years, and from each one I’ve learned a lot. When I turned sixteen I told myself I wouldn’t work in fast food, but I quickly learned that money is money and in order to make it I might have to build a little character along the way.

At Rue 21 I learned patience, as it was a place where customers always seemed to feel entitled to discounts that had expired. I also learned that picking up an item and placing it somewhere random is a rude move. By the way, if you don’t see an item you want to buy, it’s probably not in the back. Usually when stores receive shipment, they put everything out on the floor immediately or within a couple of days if it isn’t out of season. So, unless you can’t wait a couple of days for a specific item, please don’t make that worker go in the back to look for it. It is a waste of your time and their time.

At Applebee’s, I became less of a wuss. I had to learn how to not be grossed out by used napkins shoved in soda, wash a million dishes, take the trash out and stand on my feet for eight hours. It also made me a better customer. I no longer walk into restaurants right before they close because I learned that every table has to be prepped, served and cleaned before the workers can leave, so walking in last minute is also rude.

Additionally, I learned that even though there may be a lot of booths open in a restaurant, that doesn’t mean there are any booths available because servers have sections and the hosts seat you at specific tables for a reason. If one server has the booths in her section, it isn’t fair to quadruple seat her and stress her our while every other server walks around with their hands in their pockets. I also learned to always tip no less than twenty percent because servers don’t make a lot, and they usually work multiple jobs. So, even if you didn’t like your service, by not tipping you’re hurting them. And most importantly, I learned how to hold back tears during a confrontation and to hold it in until I got home. If you want to toughen up, I highly recommend working in a restaurant.

Customers can be impatient and entitled, which is understandable since they are the ones paying for food or services. However, if everyone worked in one of those jobs for a decent amount of time, whether it be a sales clerk, a server, a host, one of those people who drives around stores on a fork lift or works in a drive through; everyone might be more understanding and patient. Every time my boyfriend asks for a booth I quickly step in and tell the host, “only if there’s a server with a booth available,” because I know that the host will be yelled at by someone if we demand a booth otherwise.

When someone hates their job, it makes their service bad. When you receive bad service, it makes you a bad customer. When a worker has multiple bad customers it makes them hate their job, and so the cycle continues. But even on their worst days, a single nice customer can completely turn a worker’s day around. Working in jobs that everyone hates makes us polite and understanding. So be understanding towards those working in service jobs. It isn’t always easy to make you happy.