Saturday, November 24, 2012

Unplesant People

I've been working for a little over a year doing phone tech support for a major satellite television provider.  It isn't a particularly good job for a career. In fact it sucks.  For someone working their way through college, it would be an excellent job. Since I am technically working my way through college, again, I guess I could look at it that way, but at my age, and with trying to start a family, it feels a bit different.

Probably the most difficult part however is dealing with unpleasant people, and customers can often be extremely unpleasant. I generally find sports fans the worst.  Somehow their team is more important than everything else, and they can't imagine how anyone couldn't be just as in to their team as they are. 

I once had a woman call me screaming to the top of her lungs that she couldn't get "The Game".  When I tried to find out which game she became totally incoherent with rage. I didn't even know what sport she was talking about.  Since there were at least 40 different games on various channels at the time in various sports, I couldn't help her until I had a little more information. She ended up demanding immediate cancel because I was so incompetent as to not know what "The Game" was.

While Sports fans are the most commonly unpleasant, they aren't by any means the only unpleasant people out there.  One man I talked to was angry because he was told his bill would be about $20 per month for the first year.  He said he paid it, and suddenly he owed $40, and he paid that, and was absolutely having a fit that he now owed $80.   He yelled at me for over 30 minutes, and berated me for incompetence, even though I could see what the problem was from the minute I saw his account.The amount he owed was negative.  In other words, he had been paying the credit amount.  It took me another 30 minutes to get him calmed down enough to comprehend that the amount he saw on his billing was not how much he owed us, but how much we owed him. 

It is interesting how often people get an idea in their head, and are either completely unwilling or unable to get over it sufficiently to actually hear what is going on.  A lot of liberals, particularly university professors, like to tout being open minded, but when it comes to tech support (actually anything other than what they want to believe) they're about the most closed minded people out there. They refuse to understand what you're telling them when it comes to what you need to do.

TheWife worked at Taco Bell before I met her.  She talked about people seeing you as a glorified vending machine.  I'm OK with that.  It's the ones that consider you less than a machine.   Some people feel that since you are paid to see to their needs, you are somehow less than human.  That it is somehow their right to abuse you. 

I think that part of this is a relatively recent development in our society.  There was a time when people wouldn't consider abusing someone serving them in a business, and if they did, they would quickly become a social outcast.   Now however, we've lost all of our manners and self control.  There are no consequences for being an unpleasant person.   There are no real consequences for losing control. In some subcultures, it is actually seen as not only reasonable, but a desirable personality trait.

I have no idea how to solve the problem. It seems to be a form of barbarism.  As I write this, there is a program on that was talking about the fall of Rome.  It pointed out that as Rome started to fall, things got really bad.  The Barbarians came in and took over.  Now however we don't have barbarian hordes outside waiting to take us down, we have barbarians already here ready and working to take us down without even knowing. 

I'm not looking forward to what's going to happen, but it should be interesting to see how things shake out.