Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An Infidel Newspaper Carrier's Guide To Training Your Most Beastly Customers

As a newspaper carrier of many years I've learned to endure a lot......harsh weather, crappy pay, getting followed/stalked on my route, extra work for zero compensation, higher gas prices, having to pee in the middle of the night without a toilet in sight, irascible customers. I liken it to hard-core training. See, I'm stoically building up my strength both physically and mentally. It all grows thicker each and every day too because steely carriers like me don't get days off. One day I'll just naturally evolve and my chest will become bullet-proof and I'll sprout a titty arsenal like Austin Power's Fembot mercenaries.

Anyway, there's this one customer in particular on my route who suffers from an extreme bout of A-Hole Entitlement Syndrome. Poor thing. He's quite fond of standing outside in the pre-dawn hours with the express purpose of bellowing at me while waving his arms around wildly. You'd think that balding, middle-aged men residing in half a million dollar homes would have better things to do than harass their paper carriers, but no.

He demands his paper at 5:30 A.M. on the dot. That's not a problem for me because contractually that's the delivery deadline anyway. However, he's such a freakin Hershey Squirt, I purposely re-routed my entire delivery area to ensure that his paper will not arrive even one minute before 5:30. Mr. Hershey Squirts favorite trick is to wait outside on his sidewalk, cell phone in hand, to call the Chronicle the second his clock displays the magic numbers of 5-3-0 to report a 'NO PAPER' complaint. He does this incessantly even though at that same exact moment he can plainly see me making the curve to deliver his house. For those lucky individuals ignorant of the customer complaint system, the carriers get charged for complaints and it affects our overall service performance ratio. Yeah, as though this job isn't sucktastic enough. The least Mr. Hershey Squirt could do is call in a 'LATE PAPER' even though that's as dishonest as his 'NO PAPER' complaints and he knows it.

Our passive-aggressive tete-a-tete has gone on for the past year. Unbeknownst to Mr. Hershey Squirt though, my boss hates his pissy whining and always convinces the Chronicle to erase the fraudulent complaints off my record. So, basically the war between us had reached an impasse as both sides stalled in our obnoxious tacticas de guerra......until a few weeks ago.

The fluorescent green numbering on my truck clock read 5:31 A.M. I had already thrown the paper on the other side of the massive yard to escape the wrath of Mr. Hershey Squirt. He was waiting for me. He stepped out of the shadows and commenced to screaming hysterically while flailing his arms around.

Mr Hershey Squirt: YOU'RE LATE!!!! YOU'RE LATE!!!""
(He was so Mad Hatter-ish in his indignation I almost started singing, "FOR A VERY IMPORTANT DATE!" as a retort.)

After I made sure I had distanced myself enough from him that he could hear me but not box me about the ears with his fists of fury furry, I stopped my truck and frosted him:

ME: "According to my clock I am NOT late. And you know what else? (I began crazily pointing my thumbs to my chest) I'M THE COMPLAINT PERSON! That's right. Every.single.time. you call in a complaint it goes directly to ME, sucka!"

And then I sped away with my heart thudding and my newly woken up 12 year-old daughter, Stef Knee, sleepily rubbing her eyes while saying "Wow, I had this weird dream that you were calling some guy a sucka."

Yesssss, I have reigned victorious. Mr. Hershey Squirt has not called in a single complaint in three weeks. I emasculated him. I owned. I broke his spirit. I said I was going to bring it and I done brought it. I made him worship at the altar of Elastic. You see, Mr. Hershey Squirt is a wild and woolly rodeo beast in dire need of taming. If he was featured on Animal Planet he'd be classified as: a hideous hybrid creature consisting of mostly horse's patoot. I've been training for the big showdown with Mr. Hershey Squirt for nearly a year now. Who knew that the grand finale would boil down to an intense 8 seconds just like something out of a cowboy movie? 8 seconds was all it took to bring Mr. Hershey Squirt to his pudgy little knees. 8 seconds to reclaim my dignity and honor as Houston's number one newspaper carrier. 8 seconds to GLORY!

*As though you needed any further evidence of my awesomeness, here's my ranking as of May 12th. That's right, numero uno, baby! It's now May 27th and I've only received one complaint for the entire month. I told my boss that he should just address me as 'My Number One Carrier Of All Time And Eternity' from now on because it's the truth and the truth shall be proclaimed!


*I actually prefer working at night under the cloak of darkness. It's like a secret club and I can allow the naughty side of me to shine through more than I ever dare during the daylight hours. This------------> is how I "wave" to the select few customers that seem hell-bent on making my already difficult life even more difficult.

45 comments:

omar said...

First!

Way to put the Hershey Squirt in his place, yo. And good job being #1! But next time, I'd like to see you break the 5700 paper mark.

omar said...

Kidding about that, btw. Unless you get more money for doing 5700 papers, that is, in which case, I'm here to help root you on to give you the encouragement and motivation you need to get those extra couple of papers.

What's SCPM?

Hey It's Di said...

That Mr. Hershey has a lot of nerve and I'd like to stick that paper where the sun doesn't shine. (and yeah, I am sure you have thought of that many times:)

Way to go Elastic! Show him who's #1. . . and who's #2!

Amber said...

Unbelievable. I love your passive-aggressive approach to him, though. Less people would cower in his presence but not my favorite infidel.

I was once on a small commuter plane with an OCD flight attendant. I was in the front row and she was compulsive about my bag not sticking out even half an inch. So what did I do? Pushed it into the aisle whenever she wasn't looking...

Suzanne said...

5698 papers!?! Wow, Elastic, you are one dedicated lady. And yay for teaching him who was boss. What a jerk. He obviously has some major issues, but you overcame! :) I wonder how many other people he treats like this too...

Jean Knee said...

yes, I've heard stories about this very Hershey Squirt. What a sad, miserable little life he must lead to act so obsessively. We should pity him really.




good job kicking his arse

Alice said...

You go girl! I sound like you. I have to get worked up to a boil before I go into any sort of verbal assault.

I'm so proud!

Stacey said...

Go Elastic!...It's your birthday!...delivering papers!...taking down hershey!

Melissa said...

You go girl! Maybe he's moved on to bugging the mail man...

Nancy Face said...

You picked the perfect name for that poopy faced excuse for a man! I LOVE that you always deliver his paper last, and never a minute ealier than the deadline! That is SOOO someting I would do! >:)

YOU WIN, WOO HOO! :D

Nancy Face said...

SomeTing, someTHing...whatever.

Lisa said...

I'm just sitting here shaking my head at what people have time for. What the heck? Go drink some coffee dude!

Way to go all around!

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

Well, its one of those things that I do have to appreciate my customers because without them I wouldn't have a job at all. But on the other hand, they're getting a product delivered to their doorstep for pennies a day every single day. Really how entitled should one feel given those facts?

Don't get me wrong either. I have a LOT of customers who are so flippin nice I will go out of my way to make sure they get the best service possible whether that be double-bagging on a rainy day or getting there extra early. You know why I do that? Because they've been nice enough to tell me or my boss how much they appreciate my good service or they wave and smile at me every morning or they send ginormous tips at Christmas. Niceness counts, people....in ALL aspects of life. This is a very valuable lesson that makes me sad that Mr. Hershey Squirt at his advanced age hasn't learned yet. WHen you huff, and puff and demand things in a rude fashion most human beings will react abrasively.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I'm off to work again. I'm way behind on my blog rounds but I'll get there eventually. Thanks.

Carrot Jello said...

you should of swung at him with your extra strong arms.

damon said...

I'd be throwin old papers at him.
Does his contract say 5:30 for TODAYs paper?

Let him suck on that!

Bee said...

You know what? No matter what those tiny wieners say or do, you know you always rock the Kasbah!

Since I’m bi uh… lingual, I also help out with Spanish speaking patients I consider this as part of my duty as a HUMAN BEING because I’m helping somebody out. I don’t get paid extra for it nor do I get bonuses nutin’. So when a certain lady calls to ream ME because the doc told her he’d see her Wednesday and she takes it literally and doesn’t bother to make an appointment… well, the gloves cometh off! She also complains that I speak Spanish too fast. Que? I speak it at the appropriate speed as mandated by the SSS (Spanish Speaking Society).

Keep on rockin’ it sister soul! [fist up giving you black panther salute]

Bee said...

OH, AND CONGRATS!

Anonymous said...

The eldest and I laughed and laughed. Sorry to laugh at your pain. Does it make it better or worse that we also laughed at your triumph? Way to go! Down with jerks!

Jami said...

Hey wrong button. That was me.

Klin said...

You can always give him my phone number as the complaint department. I'd love to have some fun with a neurotic paper receiver; especially after a bad day at work.

Elizabeth-W said...

But what if he ever finds out the truth??

aubrey said...

elastic, you are my hero. i bow to your superior confrontational skills. i would have just sputtered out something unintelligable.

Anna Maria Junus said...

I've done the paper route thing.

When I was 23 I had a paper route, I was also married with 2 kids and a stepdaughter.

My customers all thought I was 14 and treated me with contempt, until my husband showed up to get the money. But then they thought he was my dad (only five years difference).

Lori said...

Bwahahhahahaha too funny!

I fear we may have been this customer when we first moved here. But damn! It took them freakin 2 whole monthes to remember we were on their damn route. His 'payback' to us was dropping our paper right in front of our paper box.

Our war has been over since the day he started remembering us for EVERY paper. Now he just drives up (actually, I'm not even sure it's the same guy), puts the paper in the box and drives to the next house. And we leave him alone. Although, we are HORRIBLE about tipping...

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

Lori- Sometimes us carriers get the wrong information on our daily mail. Once a month is 'Deadbeat Day' where my boss cuts off customers who haven't paid. Inevitably though someone will call in and gripe because they did pay and the Chronicle screwed it up. I'll get vacation stops and starts for people that claim they NEVER called in. I'm a paper carrier not a psychic. :)

Oh, and I totally sympathize with the customer(in most cases). You know, you're paying for a service and you want it done right. I got no problem with that. But just because I'm working a manual labor job doesn't mean you can treat me like your indentured servant and stand outside screaming at me with little to no provocation. Like I said I pity this guy that he hasn't grasped on to the fact that people generally react more favorably to being treated nicely and the odds are greater that you'll get what you want if you just control your temper and pretend like you're a decent human being. Hey, I'm not his underling, his kid, his wife, his dog.....I DON'T have to tolerate being yelled at.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

Omar- SPCM is the service complaint ratio thingie. I deliver close to 550-600 papers every day600 is generally my Sunday count. We're also expected to throw the Wall Street Journal(I have 80 of those!) The New York Times, Financial Times, and IBD papers alongside the Chronicle. Yeah, I'm delivering FOUR kinds of papers on my route.

By the end of the month I'm actually throwing around 20,000 papers.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

Oh, and I'm usually tongue-tied and I abhor confrontation. However, eventually even the meekest non-abrasive person will rise up if you abuse them over an extended period of time. The fact is I'm a really good carrier. I hate the job but I have to recognize that it kept my kids out of daycare and has kept us fed, clothed, and sheltered for many years now and I appreciate that. I just want these bitchy customers to realize that I'm the best of the carriers in this district and they should be thankful for such good service instead of nitpicky and difficult.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

Okay, so I was working one of my other jobs yesterday out in the country. I took my oldest daughter, Sunbum with me.

We passed by these two high school guys who had just gotten off the bus and were walking home. The one guy purposely stopped walking when he saw us to make a big display of scratching himself......scratching himself in the "nether" regions!

I leaned out my window to say something but thought better of it. Sunbum goaded me into yelling it out the window though when we had to pass by them for the second time. I totally messed up the clever line when I got my big chance and Sunbum laughed at me for the rest of the day.

This is what I planned to say:
"Hey, you should try Gold Bond Medicated Powder to clear up your flaming case of jock itch."

Here's how it came out:
"You should get some Gold Bond for your jock itch problem."

Not nearly as awesome. :(

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

So, there's this customer on my route that I blogged about last year. He's a FREAK! I have until 5:30 to throw the paper but he DEMANDS to have it at 5:00. Again, another person who thinks they deserve special treatment. He called in 10 times to complain on a morning where I was stranded in the middle of the neighborhood because of high water and because a freakin tornado touched down less than 1 mile down the road. But oh no, the paper is sooooooo much more important than human life to this asshat.

Anyway, I purposely irritate him because he's a rude mofo. Last week he was standing in the street in his boxer shorts at 5:05 and shaking his head like he had some kind of palsy. Usually I get amused at this but on that day I was just plain tired. As I passed by him I sighed loudly and said "Awwwwww, poor baby. Too bad, so sad."

Ummm, he HEARD ME!!!! He started hopping around and screaming. I jammed on the accelerator and got out of there. He's another guy that calls the complaint line not realizing that it goes directly to me. :)

Elizabeth-W said...

So the complaint line does go directly to YOU? Awesome!

nikko said...

LOL. I *love* how you call him Hershey Squirt. That made my day.

the Bag Lady said...

Awesome! Wish I had been there to hear you!
And the Bag Lady never gets to stand outside in her underwear at 5:00 in the morning to yell at paper-carriers - we don't even get our mail delivered out here...
Of course, the Bag Lady could stand outside starkers at 5:00 in the morning and no-one would notice. Except the satellites.
Okay, not doin' that.

JustRandi said...

I liked this story even better than "Rudy". Much more inspiring!!
You go girl! And congrats on the number one ranking. That's amazing!

Millie said...

Mr. Hershey Squirt sounds suspiciously like a couple of family members... and sadly, yes, there are grown men and women who live to catch people in the act, whatever "the act" is.

"For a very important date" cracked me up. :)

Tracy said...

There is something seriously wrong with this guys life if his day starts out with him waiting for the paper to be one minute late so that he can yell at you.
And then when he finally yelled at you, you won the battle.
Hershey Squirt is officially a LOSER!
Good for you!
And thank you for the socks! I just posted them on my blog. You are my new favorite person!

Stacey said...

I think it's still cool the way your gold bond remark came out. It could have been, "Hey flamer! Up your jock itch with gold powder!"

That's the way it would have came out if I tried to say it. I'm just not cool.

Physcokity said...

All in favor of showing your Senor HS the new company hand shack say *nl^hn*

Physcokity said...

okay so that didn't turn out quite like I thought...it's supposed to be your no so secret "wave" to your PITA/GoTH customers.

carronin said...

You rock! What you did is what we call at my house, teaching someone a lesson.

I avoid confrontation like the plague. I had a customer like that a crabby old broad who would call at 6:01 so I completely reversed my route to make her one of my first deliveries.

Suburban Hippie said...

I'm laughing so hard I can breath! Funniest story ever!

hellesbelles86 said...

LMAO Seriously but way to go for telling him off in the best possible revenge lie! Its like totally a white lie if its for the better, right? I did retail for a long time and I swear there were customers who made me want to scream, "I graduated f*cking 4th in my class asshole! I'm not THAT stupid so treat me with a little respect or I WILL have my revenge!" Can you tell I worked customer service? At Wal Mart?

jams o donnell said...

What a jerk. I take it that complaining at 530 am was the only thing giving his sad life meaning... and you broke him like a twig.. NICE ONE!

glittersmama said...

So I'm just catching up on my reading after vacation. You kill me. Too bad that BP '08 isn't going to be in your neck of the woods. We probably would have to do something to Mr. Hershey Squirts' yard. That would take me back to my glory days! woohoo!

Lisa said...

Just thinking about you and this post and this guy. What is he going to do now that there is a curfew in Houston? His paper will not be arriving at the blessed hour of 5:30 a.m for a while.

Hope you and your family are doing well and that you have electricty soon!!!!!!! Some of my family is without as well. Boo.