the peon manifesto

i think there should be rule that everyone at some point early in their adult life should be required to hold a service job – waiter/waitress, store clerk, customer service representative – for 6 months or a year. i think everyone should know what it is like to be in those sorts of jobs. people might treat service people with a little more respect.

i am currently a csr, workin’ the phones, taking orders, answering questions, occasionally taking abuse, etc. with that in mind, i offer this:

Before you call to place a phone order:
1.    Have some familiarity with the catalog. Take a look before you call. Perhaps fold over a page corner or two.
2.    Have your credit card with you. Don’t waste our time together hunting around the house for it. You probably knew you were going to need it before you called. Plan ahead.
3.    A pen and paper is handy to write down an order number.
4.    Wait to call until you are fully awake and/or sober. Preferably both.
5.    Turn on your hearing aid.
6.    If you don’t speak and understand English, have someone with you who does.
7.    Do not use the speakerphone. I know it makes it easier for you, but I can’t hear you.
8.    Do not call when you are driving. If your life is so busy that you have to place your order while driving your car, perhaps you need to re-examine your priorities.
9.    Turn off the radio or TV. At least turn them down.
10.    Put the dog outside. Or feed it, or something. Maybe put the kids out as well.
11.    If you have to cough, belch, sneeze, or hawk up a loogie, at least turn away from the phone.
12.    Finish your breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack before you call. Do not chew gum – it sounds like you are chewing a rubber band.
13.    Do not chew rubber bands.
14.    If it is early, and you need your coffee, please drink it before you call. I’m awake; it’s nice when you are, too.
15.    There is no need to be rude or abrupt. When you call, I’ve more than likely been taking phone calls for several hours, and I’m tired. If the item you desperately need is out of stock, it is not my fault. Be polite.
16.    When you are all done, say goodbye, and hang up. Thank you is nice, too.

you’d be amazed how many people don’t follow these simple rules.


2 thoughts on “the peon manifesto

  1. Amen, brother. I worked in retail stores all through college and it is brutal. I like your list. Only I’d add this (prolly under my breath):
    “I reserve the right to hang up on you if you start calling me names. They don’t pay me enough to be insulted and/or yelled at.”


  2. I’ve waited tables off an on through High School, College and when my kids were young. I worked at truck stop diners, drug store lunch counters, and upscale expensive, listed in zagats, fancy-shmancy places. The truth is…people I served at the diners were by far the nicest.

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