I loved working in a bike shop for a number of reasons. But, I think the primary reason was the same reason for loving my coffee shop: I like working with the customers.
But, you occasionally have a customer who makes it hard to like them. I had one such, at Destinations, one day.
This guy called up, with a complaint, and I took the call. As Service manager, that was part of my job, so whoever answered the phone passed it along to me. I really can't even recall what the complaint was, but I can tell you that the guy on the other end of the line was not looking for a solution. He had called up in order to bitch, and nothing I could say was going to help.
Still, I tried. But, no matter what I said, no matter what I offered to do to make him happy, he wasn't satisfied.
Finally, he pulled the trump card of irate customers, and demanded to "speak to the owner". So, I put him on hold, and yelled to Scott, in the office, "Scott...this asshole just has to talk to you."
Unfortunately, I had hit the "Intercom" button, rather than the "Hold" button on the phone. I realized it, just after the words left my mouth.
I then actually put the phone on Hold, so Scott could answer it, and just collapsed in laughter. I knew that I was in trouble, but I still found it hilarious.
After he got off of the phone, Scott came to me.
"Luckily for you, that guy really was an asshole," he said. "Don't ever let that happen, again!"
And, I didn't. In fact, I took it to heart that how we referred to customers among ourselves, even when they couldn't hear us, mattered. I made it a rule that we refer to customers as "fellows" and "ladies",rather than the coarser-sounding "guys" and "women", in the shop.
I think that it actually resulted in us being a friendlier, more respectful Service Department.
Too bad I had to be an asshole to realize that I needed to be more respectful, full-time.