Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Assholes and Idiots

Having been in and out of the service industry for the past 18 years--wow, that's one long low point--I've encountered my fair share of each of these types of obnoxious customers. Or "guests" as we call 'em on board the train.

I'd add "The Nic Fitter" to the list as a transportation specific problem customer. This is the asshole who asks twenty-five times when the next smoke stop is, if you'll wake him up when we get there, constantly pulls his pack out of his pocket and stares at it longingly, tries to sneak a smoke in a washroom or vestibule and then pretends he didn't know he wasn't allowed.

And a somewhat less job-specific jerk is "The Raging Drunk." On the train, this is someone who brings on their own booze, because most train staff--unless they're gettin' real well tipped--won't serve a person till they're in a state of incoherent incapacity. Some of these drunks are Jekyll and Hyde types, sweet as pie when they get on the train, unable to walk and talk or abusive six hours later.

The best thing about the train is that, whether it's the Nic Fitter, the Drunk or the Ticking Timebomb, I have the option of removing them before their stop--and have exercised that option several times. There aren't too many jobs where you can get revenge on the asshole customer. The other categories I pretty much just have to put up with. I actually have to court "The Soapbox" in one of my train jobs. But I also make better coin than most service industry pros, so I shouldn't complain too much.

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