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Thread: Anyone work customer service?

  1. #1

    Default Anyone work customer service?

    My day job is working customer service at a video store. This includes cash and floor service. If transactions are issue-free, usually I'm issue-free too. But there are the odd people who feel like starting arguments over return times, prices, policies or whatever, and I have to try and be a problem solver. A daunting task in itself, which can be even harder when you're trying to tame the Tourette beast at the same time.

    If only people knew that in addition to trying to solve their problems, I'm also trying to hold back urges that could potentially be swears. My bosses know of my condition; I was hired through a disability program. So if they see I'm in trouble, they can be quick to step in. Still, I don't think they'd be too understanding if some foul language made its way into the conversation. Swearing tics are rare for me, but it'd still be wise to try and defend against something that could be an insta-fire.

    Thankfully, swearing hasn't happened at work, but other tics have escaped my wall of protection. One time, I'm examining someone's account to try to figure out an issue. I was alone, and three people were behind me, so I was trying to be in line-killing mode, but this was a complicated issue and it was taking some time. I'm deep in concentration, and all of a sudden, the phone rings. With that, my arm jerked up and hit the underside of the keyboard of the vacant computer next to me, and I made a grunting noise. The frown I was already getting from my customer turned into a death glare pretty quickly. After putting the phone-caller on hold and re-adjusting the keyboard, I apologized and just kept going. I mentioned Tourette's, but she was just like "I don't know what that is and I don't care, I'm speaking to your boss tomorrow." Funny enough, though, none of the bosses ever mentioned it.

    Another issue that happened early in my employment. A man I was serving got offended when a facial twitch happened and told me to "stop making faces" at him. When I told him I had Tourette's, his remark back to me was, honest to God, "People like you should not be working here." I didn't know what to say. In fact, I don't think I said another word. Just finished the transaction with silence and a glare. Later, my boss told me I could refuse service if it happened again.

    If anyone has any customer service stories they'd like to share, I'd love to hear them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    St. John's NL

    Default Re: Anyone work customer service?

    Hi Thebard

    I have worked retail my entire career. I did not know I had TS until my son was diagnosed. I agree with you it can be difficult to bite my tongue but a skill I learned early in my career.

    It is great to hear you have such an accepting employer and place of work. Some customers will be rude regardless of how "normal" we are or appear to be.

    I am convinced that some come into our stores just to have a fight. I don't have any interesting stories I can think of but I certainly feel the symptoms of my TS when dealing with difficult people and my urge to swear is not a tic just a level of frustration for some who just "don't get it" but over time you come up with strategies that work and you build on them.

    I am the store manager of where I work and I do have a behind the scenes story to share. When I was doing an inventory count one late evening we were going through the final section of cluing up the totals. Part of this process is to lay count sheets throughout the stock room and the sales floor and they are laid sequentially. Toward the end they are picked up sequentially so I was doing this with one of my employees who has worked with me a long time and as I collected them she double checked their numbers but I held the stack... I had a massive urge to toss the stack in my hand, it was all I was thinking about... I was so distracted. Finally I had to tell her what I was happening. She laughed and said "can you imagine?" It took every bit of strength in me to not toss the stack so I had to pass it to her and switch roles.

    I am glad you shared your stories I am sure there are others who have more. I have been in retail 25 years and majority of customers are not that difficult but there is definitely a lot to learn about different types of people. Have fun with it and please continue to share here.
    Janet, mom of 4

    TSFC Homepage

    "Intelligence is always increasing; accommodation allows your intelligence to do what it has always done." Cassie Green, Washington College

  3. #3

    Default Re: Anyone work customer service?

    Try to find a job that doesn't involve interacting with people. From outsider's point of view you could have said my tourettes were worse few years ago but it was because I had little control over it and it didn't take too much to suppress the urges, hence i was fine working as a cashier.

    More recently, I have been gaining so much control over my symptoms that I am self conscious whenever i'm in public and anxiety takes control over so i had to drop out of school and quit my job.

    Funny enough, all the people i personally know or people my friends know that have tourettes are auto mechanics and they have explained it is one of the most comfortable job to have with tourettes.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Anyone work customer service?

    If I worked on anyone's car, their wheels would fall off on the highway.

    Nah, my job is cool for now, it's just for supporting myself until I can get some good paying theatre work. There are days I feel like quitting, but I never do.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Anyone work customer service?


    do u mind saying your age and gender? and if you have any post secondary education? Cause I'm really curious how people with tourettes do it. But I guess it's because i fall into the worst few percentile pile.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Anyone work customer service?

    Yeah, I'm 26/m. Just one year in university before I left. Nothing to do with TS, though, just a lack of direction.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Anyone work customer service?

    was it odsp employment service that you used to get job at video store?

    what are u doing now a days? whats your goal?

    I'm holding off school until my conditions hopefully improve so i can go back to college to become a police officer. Just working now at an inventory company..... im 19 btw from whitby

  8. #8

    Default Re: Anyone work customer service?

    It was ODSP indeed.

    I want to act, basically. Stage, film, whatever. I've been taking community theatre gigs to pad the resume until I can make the professional leap. Which will hopefully not be too far away.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Anyone work customer service?

    o man, good luck with that.

    With my condition, that would not work

  10. #10

    Default Re: Anyone work customer service?

    4-5 years ago I probably would have said the same thing. But since actually getting diagnosed and learning how to channel myself and build up that wall of defense, I feel like I can do it now. Some of it could be the whole "getting better with age" thing, too. Who knows. Point is, it's not stopping me anymore.

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