Little Known Fact

“Ryder Customer Service. This is Jacki. How may I help you?”

Yes, I was a customer service representative for Ryder rental trucks. Long time ago. A friend of mine had the gig and said they were looking for summer help. The pay was impressive at the time – somewhere in the $8/hour range – and that went up $.50 if you worked past normal business hours. I copped the 2-10pm shift and was, therefore, making bank for an incoming high school senior.

The job essentially entailed wearing the stereotypical little headset and answering incoming calls one after the other. I’d either book your rental, help find a mechanic to fix your broken down rental, apologize for your crappy rental, or refer you to my supervisor so he could compensate you for said crappy rental. Now to be fair, no one ever calls just to say thanks for the great service, and the ratio of sucky truck rentals to overall truck rentals was considerably low – or so we were told. But sitting in a cubicle listening to unhappy people for 8 hours minus a 45 minute dinner break paints a very bleak picture of the state of service and customer service.

You don’t always get what you pay for, and when you don’t get what you pay for, you’re not always compensated for the difference. Life’s not fair. No one cares about your drama as much as you do. Your issues aren’t new.

But – and here’s the good part – sometimes there is a kind voice on the other end of the line. Sometimes things go a little more smoothly than you expect. I refuse to abandon hope in the possibility of being pleasantly surprised.

I think about my summers at Ryder – yes, there were two of ’em – every time I have to deal with someone on the other end of a toll-free line. I’m moving soon, and that means cancelling accounts, opening new accounts, transferring services, hiring help, and general customerservicepalooza.

As freaked out as I am – and considering I am off-the-charts on the stressometer these days – I’m determined to stay optimistic about what I’ve got to handle. And while the realist in me knows I am more likely to get Captain I Couldn’t Care Less than the high school senior psyched to have a decent paying job in a real live office, I’m still hoping for more of the latters than the formers in the next ten days.

“Ryder Customer Service. This is Jacki. Wish me luck.”

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