Customer service claps back


By Maddie Baker

Illustrated by Camille Sweeney-Carter

One milestone for teens’ search for independence is getting their first job. However, the jobs available to teens tend to be minimum wage, customer service jobs. While they smile and nod to their customers, here’s what they’re really thinking.

Molly from McDonalds

What she says to customer Karen: “Hi! Welcome to McDonalds. How may I help you?”

What she’s thinking: The downfall of man began when people stormed into McDonalds demanding a taco, the one item that the fast-food megacorp does not offer. Most part-time jobs available to teenagers put them on the receiving end of every rushed soccer mom and entitled CEO that enters the drive thru. As if it wasn’t bad enough that I already reek of grease and humiliation everyday after work, I really don’t need the passive aggressive comments, Karen. I only make $8.25 an hour, so cut me some slack, and please, please, please, for the love of all that is good in the world, show me just a little bit of respect. Is that too much to ask?

Steve from Starbucks

What he says to customer Susan: “Here’s your drink. Have a wonderful day!”

What he’s thinking: Most adults cannot seem to grasp that just because I am younger than they are, does not make me dumber than they are. I was hired for a reason; unless you want me to do some Cirque du Soleil acrobats for entertainment while I serve you, I am able to follow your requests, okay Susan? You want a nonfat soy caramel macchiato with an extra shot of espresso. Your order was clear enough the first time, so you can stop squawking like a bird. I got this.

Polly from Port of Subs

What she says to customer Dave: “Would you like white, wheat, or flatbread?”

What she’s thinking: Despite popular belief, I do not dabble in the mystic arts. I don’t know exactly how you want your sandwich, and I will continue to lie in ignorance until you explain it to me. Food also doesn’t appear out of thin air; it actually needs to be prepared, crazy right? Somehow staring me down does not speed up the magical process of sandwich-making. Unfortunately, they didn’t get into an accident at a chemical lab that gave them sandwich superpowers—quality might take a minute or two. If you didn’t want to cook dinner for your seven kids, Dave, then you should’ve been ready to wait for your eight six-inch sub sandwiches.

Dylan from Dillards

What he says to customer Craig: “Sorry, sir, there aren’t anymore in the back.”

What he’s thinking: To every person out there who thinks that “the back” is a portal to their hearts’ desires, I hate to ruin the surprise, but it isn’t. Generally, products are ordered and stocked to maximum capacity in the store. The sad sap sent to check on your request awkwardly stands in the storage room surrounded by empty boxes and despair, waving to the spiders as they scuttle past. Asking for a manager after hearing “Sorry, sir, we’re out” for the second time will not change the outcome. Managers aren’t genies; they aren’t going to appear from “the back” to grant three wishes, Craig.  

The moral of the story is that minimum wage is not reward enough for having to deal with every complaint while keeping a pleasant and positive demeanor. Customer service employees are bitter and tired. They just need gas money, so Karen, Susan, Dave, Craig, if you’re going to whine and cry about how you can taste the two percent milk in your soy latte, at least leave a tip.