Monday, April 8, 2013

How Can You Work Customer Service If You Can't Parlez Englais?!?

So, I'm grabbing some quick lunch for the fam from my local fast food joint the other day, and I need some artificial sweetener.[1] I kindly ask the woman at the window for some Sweet -N- Low. Trouble ensues.
AB: "Could I have some Sweet -N- Low, please?"

Puzzled Window Lady: "Swing Low?"

AB: "No, Sweet -N- Low."

Puzzled Window Lady: "Coffee?"

AB: "Yes, the stuff that goes in the coffee."

Puzzled Window Lady: "Coffee?"

AB: "No, Sweet -N- Low."

Puzzled Window Lady, handing me a coffee stirrer: "Here. You go now."

AB: "No, Sweet -N- Low. It's like sugar. Pink packet!"

Puzzled Window Lady: "Sweet?"

AB: "Yes, Sweet -N- Low."

Puzzled Window Lady, handing me a pack of Sweet & Sour sauce: "Here. You go now."

AB: "NOOOOO!!!! Sweet -N- Low!!! It's like sugar. It goes in coffee! Arrgghhh!!!"

Suddenly Gully Window Lady, tossing me BBQ sauce: "Here. You go now. Line stop. You go now."

AB: "D MOTHER******!!!!! D!!!!"
Yeah, it almost got this bad.

Seriously, shouldn't there be some sort of language requirement when the job's main function involves speaking?

Before anyone gets bent out of shape, this isn't a racial issue. Yes, the woman behind the window was Hispanic, but I've has similar experiences with folks from all races. The gas station attendant at the Sheetz in West Virginia. The gum poppin' Safeway cashier in Soufeas'. The offshore client services agent now handling my account inquires for Bank Of America. It's all the same.

Question: Should certain jobs have a baseline language competency requirement? Do you have any similarly aggravating customer service stories?

[1] Unless you haven't eaten a single meal from a window/bag in the past year, please don't judge me.

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