Doing battle with daily dragons

Friday, April 29, 2005

All the Right Answers

Disclaimer: I promise this will not turn into a job blog. But as I’m angling for a new one at the moment, I’m just letting off a bit of steam.

When attempting to get hired in retail, the two weasel-words that are guaranteed to get a potential employer’s attention are, nauseatingly, “Customer service” This is a nice way of saying:

If a customer comes in and behaves like a complete horse’s arse, under no circumstances will you tell them to take a long walk of a short pier. Instead you will smile and apologise repeatedly for whatever incompetancy you are guilty of and offer to anoint their dirty feet with precious oils.

I feel that I acquitted myself well in my interview yesterday. The people who were doing the interviewing were friendly, shy and bookish and recognised the inherent ridiculousness of asking me questions like:

"Why do you want to work here?"

Right answer: I’m an avid reader. I love working with other people and enjoy uniting a customer with the right book.

Wrong answer: Because I work in a tiny box all by myself and am going a bit peculiar for want of intelligent conversation. But that girl at the till when I came in…I won’t be working with her, right? Cause, like, she give me some serious evils when I brought in my application. I feel, like, you know, I’m a good judge of character and she seems like a real bitch right off the bat.

"Can you give an example of when you’ve given good customer service?"

Right answer: Last week, a woman came in looking for jewelry for herself and her bridal party. Due to my in-depth stock knowledge, I was able to find all of the right pieces for both her and her bridesmaids. She was very pleased and I was glad to have been able to find her everything she needed.

Wrong answer: I find stuff for people. But man, we have this one lady who comes in and she’s all like, “Fix my shit” and I’m all like, “It’ll be two weeks” and she gets in my face like, “I need it tomorrow!” and I go, “I’ll just go get my magic wand” and she gets all “Uh, uh, I wanna talk to your manager.” Jeez, some people.

"What duties and responsibilities did you have at your last bookstore?"

Right answer: I was responsible for the children’s section. I engaged in customer service. I met with trade reps to purchase new titles. I engaged in customer service. I assisted customers both in the shop and on the phone with inquiries. And did I mention the customer service?

Wrong answer: I picked up mostly trodden on and unsellable books that the little bastards dropped on the floor and then did a Mexican hat dance on. I got yelled at for stuff that my manager forgot cause he was too busy smoking weed out back with the stock boy. And I had to find titles for total brain donors who came in and were like, “I saw this great book in the paper the other day. It had a blue cover. Do you have it?” Wankers.

So, until next Tuesday, I’ll have to wonder if my right answers were right enough.