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As you may know, I work at a call center for my day job, and I've bounced back and forth between different centers and outsourced contracts for about a decade now. Over the years, I've been shunted from tech support to escalations to billing... and as of this writing, I'm on a mixed billing/sales team.

You may have also gathered from my writing that, in spite of what I may have parroted during all my job interviews and supervisor coachings, I do not actually have an enthusiastic passion for outstanding customer service. Most customer service people don't - we are, by and large, a disgruntled and sarcastic lot... at least when the customers can't hear us.

(There are a few coworkers I've met who do sincerely have an enthusiastic passion for outstanding customer service, and, quite frankly, those people are scarier than Stepford wives.)

It's not that we dislike customer service, necessarily. It's certainly not that we hate our customers or hold them in contempt. About 99% of the people I talk to in a given workday are perfectly normal, polite, rational human beings.

But you just can't filter out that 1%. And try as you might to clear your mind once the call's done, there's always that little bit of stress and irritation and trauma that lingers in the back of the brain.

So, like Scott Adams before me, I'm distilling all of that fermented job stress out of my hippocampus and making a little storyline out of it - one that I expect will resonate with any of my readers who have also had to do customer service. Hopefully it'll be nice and cathartic for you guys.

All of this is to say that if your response thus far has been "wow, that misandrist is incredibly hostile and rude and Ted Peterson is entirely justified", you are, quite frankly, factually incorrect..... and I really hope you never call my center.

(Thursday morning, INT: Overdrive Computers)

TP: I don't want this thing if I have to pay full price for it.
LH: Of course. I apologize for the misunderstanding. The way our system's set up, I'm unable to put money back onto your credit card, but I'd be happy to reimburse you out of the till, here... and hey, let's not deal with change, I'll round it up to an even seventy dollars. You just made a buck thirteen off us, congratulations.
TP: So... you're giving me the router for free, then?
LH: Uh... no. No, that would be me undoing the transaction.
TP: And then putting it through correctly?
LH: If by "correctly" you mean using the coupon, then no. No, I would not do that.
TP: Why the hell not?
LH: As I advised you, I can't. Can not.
TP: And is there somebody competent who can, then?
LH: Certainly. I understand the employees at Best Buy are very well trained.