Little Tantrums

Customer Redemption

Customer Redemption (Photo credit: Neil T)

I’ve not written much this week due to having had a busy week at work which included being attacked by a sheet of glass that shattered on me and pierced my glove, leaving a nice chevron shaped hole above my thumb.

Twas but a scratch.

The thing about this week that I feel like writing about here is some people’s attitude and behaviour towards others when things aren’t going quite their way.

We all have situations in our lives which are not ideal – something doesn’t go according to plan, something takes longer than expected, something breaks.  Most of us though have the ability to cope with these difficulties – major and minor – with grace and a level-headed attitude, but today it seems increasingly true that people are becoming less tolerant of problems in their lives and instead of dealing with them in a reasonable manner they immediately lash out and throw a tantrum at the first person they encounter.

So often this is a shop assistant, call centre employee, delivery driver, the list goes on.  But most of the time this person is not responsible for the problem and would probably like to help to solve it given the chance.

In my job this week I have had one customer immediately start ranting that a product was not perfect and before I could even offer a solution this customer began loudly telling me, in a very patronising manner, what I would be doing to to recitfy it.

The other began calling me various unflattering names because I couldn’t instantly provide an exact date for when a product would be available.

Both are symptomatic of a sense of entitlement in society, often associated with percieved status – whether it be financial or a sense of self-importance – combined with a lack of respect for others which leads people to believe that if they shout loud enough then they’ll get what they want, because they should have it, right now, not tomorrow, why should they wait, they’re important!

I find that I’ll go the extra mile for a customer who is polite and has reasonable requests, and that’s true of many people I know in customer service.  Perhaps these people did get what they wanted when they threw tantrums as children, but I think part of the problem is the recently more widespread idea that we can have what we want whenever we want it, and indeed we should expect it.  You get too used to that idea and it comes as a shock when someone says “no”.