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That’s not angry. Let me show you ANGRY!

But that’s not angry, Eric. That just miffed. You should try dealing with Verizon, lol.

You say you sometimes lie when dealing with the phone rep, because you are angry and trying to get help. You are fighting a system that sure seems to have been built to keep you from getting what you need. And that’s frustrating. But actually, you’re being cheated, Eric. It’s not stupidity and ineptness that keeps you away form the answers. It’s greed. And so when you insist and demand and demonstrate short patience and raise your voice in frustration, you’re not being unreasonable. Your just elbowing your way to the sale rack at Filene’s. Filene’s is a business. It put that sale rack there. It set things up that way… in the basement. Regular customers have to pay full price. They have to go along, play by the rules, follow the path, do what they are told. You elbowing your way in to get something not available to everyone is according to somebody’s plan. It’s marketing, Eric (or perhaps merchandising).

I bought a cell phone from Verizon that promised the world. It didn’t deliver Hoboken or even Jersey City. By the end of a month I would have settled for Cleveland (but that would have been a mistake). It’s when Verizon started double billing me that I got miffed. But that’s not angry. Angry is what I got when Verizon’s collections department started calling my wife and my home phone at all hours.

Angry is when you call them back to have fun with them at their expense. Angry is when you answer questions the wrong way because you not only know what the right answer is, but you know how to navigate their support script. Do it right, and you can go from one dept to another and back again. Tell each one how the other told you they would be the right person to ask, even though it’s not at all true. Do that right and you can learn where their own internal conflicts are (that line of hatred that exists between data comm and telecomm, the network guys vs. the tech support guys, who is still unionized over there, and stuff like that). You see, Eric, miffed is when you’re frustrated and willing to settle for a loss if you can just get something. Angry is when you don’t care what it takes, you will cost them money and you will cause them grief.

Angry is not pretty. Angry is when you get a support rep to yell at you, and then get him fired for it. Angry is ugly. Angry is when you manipulate a newly-hired college grad into 3 rounds of “No, I’m not / Yes, you are” and then tell her you just recorded her being that childish and that you can’t believe the company puts completely untrained people on the phone with valued customers (even though you know she just finished her training). I kid you not, she responded with a demand that I cease recording or she would hang up on me, to which I replied “no, I won’t” to which she replied “yes, you will”. You won’t believe me if I say she went three rounds that time, too.

Companies today seem to design their systems to get you miffed. Miffed is a small price to pay. Only a small percentage of customers utilize the features and systems enough to encounter those bugs and errors, so a support system that ties you up on the line just saves them money and justifies buggy releases. The longer you are stalled, the more likely you are to drop the line and go away.

But angry customers? Ouch. They don’t go away. They can cost you time, effort, and reputation. They can confuse your own support systems, because if the reported evidence is logical (even if untrue), the engineers might actually look into it. What does a network engineer cost per hour? A supervisor? And what about that interdepartmental trust? What is an internal reputation worth, if a savvy angry customer feeds a sales rep just what that sales rep’s belief system is waiting to hear about the uncaring, rude and brutish tech support department? How much is it worth to actualy have something added to an internal meeting agenda, when it wasn’t actually an issue?

Congratulations on your integrity and compassion, Eric. You thought you were angry, and you even apologized for it. I hope you never have to learn what an angry customer is really like.


  1. Jill wrote:

    Note to self — don’t ever piss John off…

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 7:58 pm | Permalink
  2. I haven’t fed my rage monster in recent years, but yes, I’ve done the very, very angry customer thing. It felt righteous at the time, but I really didn’t like the person I became when I devised evil plots to make dickhead salespeople and their dickhead managers suffer.

    I know what you mean about the system being designed to thwart and cheat the customer. Pity the poor saps who have to defend indefensible business practices, while knowing they could solve a customer’s problems with a couple of mouse clicks.

    Speaking of crappy business practices, I used to order pizzas from Domino’s. I’d phone up and ask for a good deal on some pizzas. After they’d tally up the $38 charge, I’d say, “Oh, this week’s flyer is beside our phone, and it says you’ll give me those same pizzas for $24. How about we do that instead?” As soon as they try to screw the extra $14 out of me, they’ve convinced me to shame them for lying to me about what their specials are this week.

    When you finally find a company that treats people like human beings, you become a bit of a fanboy, wanting to share your good experience with your friends, relatives, friends, enemies, whoever.

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 10:23 pm | Permalink
  3. john andrews wrote:

    Hi Eric. Thanks for stopping by. BINGO for the part about “Pity the poor saps who have to defend indefensible business practices, while knowing they could solve a customer’s problems…” Not everyone recognizes that riches in life are not always monetary. I’m still wonderng when the Google Ph.D.s will wake up to the fact that they expend their glucose figuring out how to plaster the world with eBay ads. That’s gotta hurt, no matter how rich the stock options.

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006 at 8:29 am | Permalink
  4. IncrediBILL wrote:

    Note to Jill: John is a pussy cat and his Angry is the first stage of Bill going ballistic.

    Note to John: Most sense you’ve ever made in any post anywhere, ever, good stuff.

    Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
  5. John Andrews wrote:

    Thanks, Bill. I am not surprised it took a post about ranting like a crazed lunatic to earn your approval. I suspect you set the standard in that department.

    Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 10:09 pm | Permalink
  6. IncrediBILL wrote:

    John, I don’t go over the edge until people push me REAL hard.

    Examples of Bill starting Global Thermonuclear war:

    – My cable bill is paid in full AUTOMATICALLY every month but they disconnect my service 6 times in 3 months because, at the time, Comcast didn’t have a digital connection to the BILL PAY service. Their hired clowns doing data entry mistyped my account number out of THOUSANDS of accounts on a single header from a single check form BILL PAY, which is my problem how?

    – My checking account was suddenly emptied of 10’s of thousands of dollars when Wells Fargo somehow substituted my account number for an internal banking transaction routing code in my local branch and told me it would take weeks for the money to get replace, took about 2 days after I rained on their parade

    – Or, the best yet, when my daughter died from pneumonia at the hands of mismanagement from doctors trying to rush everyone out the door without treating them properly, incorrect diagnosis and wrong treatment after several weeks of doctor appointments, thanks to the money grubbing morons at Kaiser Permanente. The entire ER fled for cover when I came out, the doctor soiled himself when he was certain I was going to end his life where he stood, and I turned and knocked 2 bullet-proof sliding glass ER doors completely off the track when I walked right thru them as they were still closed and walked many miles thru Santa Clara one night with police looking everyone for me, while I was in a blind rage just to keep from hurting anyone as I knew I would had I stayed. They found me a few hours later and even the cops weren’t stupid and knew to leave me alone when I told them I’d walk back on my own, many miles away.

    Yup, I’m setting the standards in that dept.

    Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 10:49 pm | Permalink
  7. John Andrews wrote:

    Wow. Sorry for your loss, Bill. And thanks for sharing.

    Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 11:26 pm | Permalink
  8. IncrediBILL wrote:

    I don’t even know what possessed me to post that, one of those kind of nights I guess.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts.

    Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 11:33 pm | Permalink
  9. dead dog wrote:


    Thursday, February 8, 2007 at 1:14 am | Permalink