It’s something I hear on an unfortunately regular basis. I don’t know if it’s just the empathy I have that stems from years of customer service experience or just the fact that I’m apparently just an abnormally patient person. Maybe both. But it can’t just be a coincidence that I hear this from a variety of different sources. 

It just seems like our overall infatuation with immediate gratification has consumed our way of life that we just can tend to forget that there’s usually another person on the other side of the counter/phone/email address/chat support box. And especially in those latter cases, if we’re not looking the other person directly in the eyes, we for some reason use that as an excuse to jump on our high-and-mighty horse to tear the person on the other end a new one. Strangely, we get a high from it, I guess? As if it’s entirely their fault that the Christmas gift didn’t leave the warehouse the exact second it was supposed to.

It always kind of reminds me of an old Jim Gaffigan comedy bit where he’s talking about how the fast food industry has ruined us for eating out at sit-down restaurants….

“Whenever I’m in a regular restaurant, I’m always like, ‘Let’s see, I will order the hamburger….. where is it?’
“’Uh, sir, how would you like your hamburger done?’
“‘Uh, right now. Where is it?’”

Always cracks me up when I see this clip. Yet this little conversation translates into essentially everything in our daily expectations. 

We want what we expect we deserve, right now. And if it’s not given to us in that instant, we freak out, Jerry MacGuire-style.

So… how do we change this guttural response?

It has to start with knowing that… (wait for it…) not everything is within our control. And, within that, being able to maintain an ability to adapt. Be ok with things not going exactly how you want them.

It’s also remembering the fact that (usually) the person standing in front of us, or on the other end of the phone, is still just that…. A person. Not a robot capable of withstanding any sort of expletive and moving on like nothing happened. There’s a human being that’s doing their damnedest to make every effort to accommodate a lot of other people. 

It’s why, for whatever reason, I hear that phrase more often than I’d like. “I wish all my customers were like you.” I’ve been there, so I’m willing to show a little compassion towards them. I also know that it’s not the end of the world if they’re so backed up that maybe my truck doesn’t quite fixed in the timeline they suggested it would take… I can adapt. And there’s no reason for me to bite their head off.

Ironically, it kinda just seems like if we all acted like we wanted to hear the words, “I wish all my customers were like you” more often, they wouldn’t need to be said in the first place. And I’m totally fine with that. And the person behind the counter probably feels the same way.

Shit happens. Sometimes things take a little longer than they should or were promised. Sometimes a Christmas gift gets delivered a day or two after Christmas. What’s the point in yelling about it?    

Be that customer they wish we were all like. It’s really not that hard…

“I wish all our customers were like you…”