The CSR Diaries: Holding Me Hostage

It's been my observation that as a CSR, people respond to good and bad news the same way: they just won't get off the phone.

"I just don't understand."

Let's say you're a doctor.  A patient who's morbidly obese after years and years of basically abusing his/her body has just died in your OR.  There was nothing you could do.  You make the painful trip down the hall to explain to the family what happened and why.  At least relatives bursts into tears and proclaims, "I just don't understand."

Now, as the doctor, there's this weary voice inside your head which says, They overate junk food for twenty-plus years and never went for a walk.  1 + 1...2.

But no matter which you way you slice it, grieving, disappointed relatives "just don't understand."

And while you're inclined to empathize with the loss of a loved one, trifling, irresponsible customers who expect to receive services - regardless of whether or not they're paying their bills  - are a whole other story.  Because at that point, after explaining 1 + 1 = 2 about a thousand times in a row, you just don't give a fuck.  You want to flat-out state, "Oh, please.  You understand.  You just don't accept.  The answer to your question was not the one you wanted to hear, so now you're wasting my time."

But decorum dictates you have to  (politely) reply instead, "What don't you understand?" thereby triggering the broken record.  Meanwhile, your average talk time is skyrocketing, and depending on where you work, your supervisor is either giving you the evil eye or sending you a message to terminate the conversation at once.

"Okay, then.  Now what about....?"

The people I'm about to describe are more annoying than the folks above.  They come in two kinds: conversation-greedy and money-greedy.  The money greedy ones don't really want to spend too much time chatting with you (bless them), but no matter how many discounts you give or credits you apply or fees you waive, it's just never enough.

Thankfully, a CSR in that situation can seize the moral high ground and remind the customer that you didn't have to do all the things you just did, and that which can be done can just as easily be undone.  This usually shuts them up pretty quickly.

But then there's the conversation-greedy.  These are the people who are absolutely worthless.

Mind you, there's an exemption clause to the conversation-greedy: it doesn't apply to lonely old people who miserable and talk to someone maybe once or twice a week.  Those folks are just so sad; you feel forced to bite the bullet and endure.

But then you get the ones who have no damn business running at the mouth, especially after you've just given them a hook-up.  This one client of mine was a wealthy man who thought I was white, and he went on a rant about the "illegals" (of color) and how they're responsible for all the DUIs and car wrecks in his state which, by the way, is 76.1% non-white Hispanic.  He specifically singled out the immigrant relatives of a certain wealthy political Black family (you already know which one) and went on a long-winded tangent about the bullshit changes to the insurance laws.  Every so often, he returned to those goddamn "illegals".

Now, the ranting had gone on for about 10-15 mins after I'd already wrapped up his issue and I was ready to go.  So when he once more brought up the unfair lenience towards the family's immigrant relatives, I shrugged and replied, "Rich people."

The sheepish chuckling and stammering which followed was actually quite amusing.

Him: Well,'s not rich people. *chuckle* Um...I don't think that's it.

Moi: Sure it is. If those immigrants didn't have wealthy, powerful relatives, they would've been ousted decades ago. The rules don't apply to the rich; they can do pretty much whatever they want.

The conversation ended very quickly after that, but I would've loved to elaborate on that a bit more. Like the fact that I bet he's not bothered by white illegal immigrants, or the fact that only Black people's wealth bothered him. I would've loved to ask if he was this troubled by rich white folks openly breaking the rules.

But we already know the answer to that.

My point?

Don't hold me hostage.  Makes me want to start tampering with things.  Aside for resolving your issue and getting you off the phone, CSRs in general couldn't care less about what you have to say.


  1. I just had this build with an individual complaining how difficult it is for this man to get employment just because he has a prison record. Really? You went to jail because you didn't want a square job, and I'm supposed to feel sorry for you because you limited your own opportunities? I suggested he learn to cut hair since they tend to be independent contractors. He said, "I don't think I'd like that." While his baby's mother who is supporting him and their entire family on assistance hustles at the strip club. AMAZING!!!!

    1. Leo Princess5/1/12, 11:58 AM

      *head desk* I've never been to prison, I'm just about ready to graduate college, and I know I'll have to grab whatever I can get in the job market - and this 'more strikes against him' ninja is turning up his nose at a skilled job that he could build on later? I also side-eye his family and other-half for babying him, too.

    2. Well, if he got someone taking care of him, then I'm not mad at his hustle or lack thereof. I do want to grab the baby momma and shake her til her teeth rattles. *sigh*

      I know that I could never be a phone CSR. I would have been fired fifteen minutes in...

  2. truthbetold5/1/12, 12:08 PM

    K, I lied at this one job that I had a 50% defect in one ear so hearing was a bit hard for me. There was this one white woman( for some reason, they can't leave me the f*ck alone!!! My negress blood fuels their desire) who tried DESPERATELY to know my business. After saying, " I'm sorry, what did you say?" after almost every mind-numbing question, she finally gave up and left me alone.

    Now, whenever I feel that urge to crush someone's head with a table, I say, " Sorry but I had an injury as a kid. I'm partially deaf so...what did you say"?

    Works every time.

    1. I'mma have to remember that one.


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