Posted by: madamm | October 11, 2007

All in day’s work

I don’t think I’ve ever made a secret of what type of journalism, specifically, it is that I do. Assuming that the culture of anonymity is still synonymous with blogging, I’ll take my chances.

Service. Customer is King. Complaints. Compliments. Me.
For the most part, I’ll let a cashier who’s having a bad day slide. Ironically, I absolutely cannot stand confrontation. My mother is exceptionally good at getting a point across though.

Me? I’m just doing my job by investigating, deliberating, reasoning, arguing and never – yes, never – losing my cool. It’s hard. But I don’t represent me and I have always understood that.

Yet on days like today, I  expressed my utter disdain, no contempt for people in the service industry who I feel, quite simply need a good ol’ slap across the face.* 

Scenario One: This morning I called the American Embassy in Johannesburg. Someone other than who I usually speak to picks up and is snippy as hell. “Yes-no-whadoyouwant-snippy”. Yet the minute I asked her her name (and surname), she seemed to morph into a sucrose-filled popsicle.

Lesson One: GET THE NAME. It doesn’t matter how nice you have to be when trying to get a visa to move to the United States. You are not a dog. You are a person and deserve to be treated as such. Always.

Scenario Two: Walk to the restaurant downstairs. Get a coffee. You realise you have no cash, so you whip out your debit card and the cashier (who you see everyday) waits a while for the transaction to go through after you key in your pin. With a mischievous glint in his eye, he sighs and tells me exasperatedly: “Insufficient funds.”  Followed by what feels like a century long pause as the people behind you shift their weight uncomfortably in your moment of mortification.  “What?!!!” you shout, wanting to hide under the coffee in your hand. He hands you a till slip and laughs out loud: “Only kidding!!!”

Lesson Two: DON’T SHRUG IT OFF. “You don’t do that to your customers,”I say very very seriously. “Ag, I was just pulling your leg, ” he laughs. ” I don’t happen to think it’s funny at all,” I say before I stomp off to the manager to complain.

I don’t like confrontation. Seriously I don’t. But I cannot stand incompetence, insults or a shrug-of-the-shoulders-attitude with clients. It makes me mad as hell.

As jy nie die fokken pie wil hê nie, fokkof dan. (said to me at a pie shop) before my mother slapped her across the face. twice.



  1. I’ve started to enjoy confrentation with IT as they are someone to take my frustration out on.

    Unfortunately things have been really hectic at work at the moment and my poor housemates are having to deal with my confrentation over stupid stuff as I’m just looking for an outlet. *sighs*

  2. Next time, take it out on the person who deserves it. Just…these things need to be incredibly well-timed.

  3. I can’t believe that stunt he pulled with the credit card…I would have lost it too! 😐

    My mom is also very effective at getting her point accross…she only ever has a problem at a store once – after that they tend to recognise her and run to assist when needed. It’ quite inspiring to watch.

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