TikToker pretends to be an extremely disgruntled employee insulting customers

Originally published at: TikToker pretends to be an extremely disgruntled employee insulting customers | Boing Boing

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I see a business opportunity.

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“Oh, sure, ma’am let me see if I can help with that, right this way”

You lead Karen to a small room with an exit door in the back. You step out, lock the door, and press the small button on the keypad. The lights cut out. This TikTok suddenly projects on the wall, Big Brother style. It loops endlessly.

“How long do you think she’ll last?”

“Record’s 41 minutes, Stu. Depends on when they start…”

As if on cue, yelling and pounding commence inside.

“Think that baby’s gonna hold another day, Stu …”

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I worked at a pizza place for close to a decade. Having a discussion with a deeply unhappy customer I informed him that he always has the option of not coming back. This set him off. A few days later corporate surprised me when the regional supervisor stopped by and told me about a complaint from said gentleman and said I did nothing wrong.

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It occurs to me that most of these involve people fundamentally unable to get their minds around corporations. Psychologically, they can’t deal with the reality. They want to turn the corporation into a person, and they want that person to be the one who they’re interacting with. And part of that is because corporations play this game where they want their employees to pretend to (or, more perversely, actually) care about the business as if they did have a personal connection.

Also, people weirdly still think businesses necessarily have a “back” area where stock is stored, even though that’s increasingly rare with “just in time” delivery infrastructure (which causes retail shortages when it gets disrupted, but I’m guessing these people still won’t connect any dots there). Given that Ikea clearly doesn’t have a stock-room, it’s weird that anyone would refer to it.

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The ominous soundtrack music really makes this bit work.

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This is the hardest thing about communicating with an intransigent corporation; not confusing the person’s role with their role’s limitations. I really try not to call customer service and when I do, it’s a pretty big deal like when my mom’s engine shat the bed under warranty and took the catalytic converter (and the entire exhaust system, too apparently) with it. They replaced the engine, but refused to repair the exhaust that was destroyed by the failing engine. It was a few weeks before my wedding and she was crushed that she wouldn’t be able to afford the trip. I had to research the warranty for hours and gather all kinds of info like the mileage when it entered the shop, service records and kinds of shit like I was a PI. But I got them to pay for the damn repairs and the loaner car they had already refused her for two damn weeks. Ha! Take that Hyundai of America.

Anyway, I tried not to be a dick to the person on the other line. It was… not easy.

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The customer is always roasted.

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How do you tell the difference between a TikToker pretending to be a disgruntled employee and a disgruntled employee pretending to be a TikToker?

A: The shoes.

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“Can you check the back?”

Employee leans to the side and looks down the aisle before saying, “I’m checking right now and I can see that we clearly do not have any more of the item that you’re looking for.”

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Yeah but Ikea does actually have a back area warehouse where they store things, customers are forced to walk through their warehouse.

And there is still a receiving area in every retail store and shelves aren’t stocked until overnight typically. It’s reasonable for a customer in need to hope their item may have just arrived that morning and its sitting on a pallet, instead of having to make another trip to a store they didn’t really want to be at anyway.

It’s a funny joke because he is being mean, but there isn’t much of a truth message about it.

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Often, even physics. I was behind a woman at the local Postal Annex Plus, who was berating the clerk because the Amazon delivery alert was a full hour before the Postal Annex Plus receiving scan. She seemed determined to make that clerk pay for “lying” to her.

Two different companies! Two different systems!

You Just Dont Get It Austin Powers GIF by reactionseditor

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I’ve worked retail. Yes, retail where we had things “in the back.” We’re not going to keep products from you if the shelf is empty and we’re not going to check the back for every customer because, surprise, there really is often nothing in the back. The restocking gets done at night. The refilling gets done during the day and has been at nearly every store for the past 30 years. If it’s not on the shelf, that means it’s likely not in back.

And IKEA’s “back” is offsite, which means it’s not in the store. You walk through the rest of their “back” on your way to check out.

He’s not being mean. He’s just being honest. The back of house at IKEA is basically where the employee break room is and the management offices.

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But the Ikea warehouse isn’t a secret “back” region - as you say, the customers literally walk through it, so they can see exactly what is or isn’t there (and it’s not like someone on the showroom floor can easily nip back to the warehouse to check the stock, either - not that that’s what’s being demanded, though). And if something’s still sitting on a pallet in the receiving area, it might as well not even be there.

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Most of the customers don’t know how the Ikea warehouse works, all they know and see is a warehouse and hopefully their lamp will be back there.
When I was working grocery it was common to check receiving for a customer and a lot of times they would get lucky. Shoppers are accustomed to it regardless of Ikea’s inability to do so.
The guy is just being a jerk for the sake of humor.

You know this wasn’t how he responded to actual customers, right? This is just a guy venting on TikTok.

Are oft-abused retail employees supposed to project cheerful obsequiousness even during their off hours?

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On the contrary, having worked both retail and as a server, (not to mention a whole slew of other, thankless slave-wage jobs) I find it quite amusing and cathartic.

Also, these were the same petty complaints from the last time this comedian was discussed.

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Oh sure. I think the guy is hilarious and I like the gag.

Yes, that… and the instantaneous and sudden cuts to the next encounter!