So I was struggling with today’s post. A little bit of fatigue and writers block. As I was flicking through an old phone of mine, I stumbled on an old short story that I have yet to share with you. So here is it. A little different to the others but I hope you enjoy it all the same.
“Hello, how can I help?”. A phrase to many in the customer service that has burrowed its way in and stuck on repeat. An industry of people helping others for their purchase while being paid just enough to put food on the table. For many this is a job where biting your tongue and having to take crap is just a part of life as eating and sleeping. Especially if you are a Barista.
Meet Owen. He like many is your typical nice guy barista. Polite, happy and always willing to help. To be honest Owen hates coffee and never quite understood how he ended up here. But there is a secret to Owen, he has been broken by the industry. Years of being used, tormented has chipped away at him. Now if he gets annoyed he bites back using mostly sarcasm. Trust me some of the things are hilarious. Kind of makes me want to try. Today I will tell you some examples of his “banter”. So buckle down and be prepared.
Owen always starts the day this same, tired, wishing it was another day off and weetabix. well breakfast is important they say. After he gets ready its always a simple walk to train station. Music blaring in his ears and ignoring everyone that walks past him. As he gets to work that’s where the fun starts. As he clocks in, he realises for the millionth (not literAlly before you start) day in a row they have run out of vital stock. I say vital, well milk is important. As Owen serves his first customer he finds himself asking the same question he has to ask every customer. “Small, medium or large?”. This baffles Owen. They read the price list above hum, some seem to study it for hours it seems as if some sort of memory exam. They must see the 3 different prices, 3 different size of cups and still mutter just the drink. After he takes the money and hands them their drink, the customer walks off, but a word is said. Owen is stirring now. Manners really don’t cost much. He bites his tongue and gently says Thank you.
This is surprisingly calm for what may follow later. But he holds his head up and carries on. About half an hour passed without incident really. I know I couldn’t quite believe it myself but it happened. But sure enough we enter incident number two. This is however not one of annoyance. A tall gentleman walks through the doors, I know right through them, and proceeds to head to the selection of cheap *cough* sandwiches and pastries on offer. As he finally makes his choice, in sure he inspected every last detail of them, he walks over and as he hands his product to Owen he says with a. Slight foreign twang “can this cook?”. Now Owen knew full well what the gentleman wanted but never to miss an opportunity he went for it. He calmly looks up and in a split second replies “no sir, its a pasty”. I mean its terrible. Funny but terrible. Okay I giggled abit. Okay quite a bit. How Owen kept a straight face I don’t know. But thankfully the gentleman also found the funny side.
Few hours past and as Owen is working with his good friend and colleague a rather odd situation occurs. As Owen is on the coffee machine and his colleague is serving, a young lady comes to the till and starts complaining about everything. Now for context the two guys have been rushed off their feet and haven’t had time to clear a table yet but I digress. As she complains about the table she wants having people on it, to the prices and so on, her final quip is that they had run out of the drink she had wanted. Owen knowing full well they had run out, calmly says to the woman that he will check the back. Few minutes past before Owens voice is heard from the cupboard. “Ben” he cries out to his colleague. “I found it”. Ben looking rather confused simply replies “what?”. “My field of fuck. Awwww its still baron. What the hell. Looks like no focus given again”. Ben is now laughing alot, woman storms off presumably to complain and the others in the queue are a mixture of amused and shocked. As Owen runs out he lets out a laugh. Same old Owen using humour as his best tool.
I have many more stories of Owen and as time goes on in sure ill happily sit here and let you know every detail. I know most of you will understand what its like to be in customer service and have customers never understanding how you are and the strain it puts on an individual emotionally and physically. But some will see him as rude. Its the generation we live in where people never see past their own bubble.
Hope you enjoyed today’s post.
As always, have a great day 🙂