Working in customer service has taught me a great deal about society as a whole, working for what is almost 3 years to this day I have seen the slow but noticeable decrease in people’s ability to socially interact with others in person. When I first started people were more friendly, more respectful and you could literally name off your regulars off the top of your head, those were the days. They were almost like friends, you would see them in public and stand and chat and you would feel as if these peoples appreciated how you treated them. Today the term “Regular” barely exists (Not for lack of trying) maybe this is located centrally within the vicinity of my workplace? But people are leaning towards avoiding social interaction all together.
For example, here is a (Typical) conversation I have had with anti-social individuals tonight.
Me: Hey how are we going tonight?
Them: No reply/Good
Me: How was your day?
Me: Have a nice night
Them: Ignore/I will/Nod
- It this the culprit?
Does this sound familiar to anyone in the CSA business? People do not want to talk, they want to avoid you completely and some are so awkward with this face to face interaction, you would think they are new to the thought of it. This is certainly not every customers but these conversations seem to increase daily. Almost as if a creature is venturing throughout the land, sucking the ability to interact with people in person right on out of their bodies, maybe there is? I am also stating people are becoming ruder by the day, my work area is surrounded by the rich who act as if we are back in “Ye old” days and I am a peasant/commoner that they should not be seen talking too. Or they even ignore you in public, not just customers, but people in general.
I have had countless friends/acquaintances ignore me in public because they do not want to have a face to face conversation, especially people who I used to go to school with. I have seen them hide, turn away and avoid me or flat out look into your eyes and turn their head…One even had the nerve to ignore me completely as I greeted him with a friendly “Hello mate, been awhile”. My friends have complained about others doing this to them as well, I was never the most popular in school and same goes for my friends, but this is not the way anyone should treat another person? Surely.
Manners are a thing of the past, nobody says the words “Please” or “Thank you”. Just tonight I said “Bless you” to a girl who had sneezed at the counter, she looked at me as if I was a creep who had tried to crack onto her, while her boyfriend (Who was clearly not going to say it) glared at me as if I had insulted his honour. Was what I did wrong? I was brought up to be civilized and to treat people with respect. For some reason these traits are becoming old and outdated, why? I can think of 3 main reasons that I will touch on later.
- Social Media
- Government treating us like children
Nobody knows how to interact in front of others these days, they act awkward and you can see not many people actually enjoy it, almost as if they do not want to be judged by others or open up to new people. These days customer service is being moved to self service, where people are replaced with machines and 1 singular worker has to keep them running. To quote my Mother “I only go to shops with self service these day, I hate rude customer service”. This is a cycle, customers are rude to us because they know they can get away with it and that we cannot reply with anything, since it will cost us a jobs if we do (Most likely). So CSA become negative/judgmental themselves towards customers and then we stop being the friendly CSA people want. When it is the rude customers that made us like this, the cycle continues.
I tried to help a customer once and warn them about something they were doing wrong and that it may harm them, they took it as me being arrogant and rude. I later found out I was reported for apparently swearing and flat out calling the customers dumb (Which neither occurred). Things like this stop CSA’s from caring, but then these people will be the first to then dob you in if you didn’t warn them and the back things had occurred, A never ending cycle of social interaction going sour.
Let’s shed some light on the 3 reasons I stated earlier.
1. Social Media: Facebook and Twitter are booming, people don’t remember birthdays anymore, invites to parties are almost all digital and comments on Facebook cannot be replied to and its no big deal, the personal touch is lost. This has become the social norm. People now do this in real life, walking away from a conversation mid-sentence to go and speak to someone else. Being cooped up in the “Giant bubble of social interaction” known as social media has stopped people from communicating. “I hate phone calls, who wants to waste time talking to people when I can just text”, something my friend states often.
This is the problem, people I know literally ignore phone calls so they can text back when it feels right to them, even though someone may be in trouble because it is an inconvenience to them, they do not care. What happened to people caring? Then we have forums/blog sites such as MyIGN, where some certain individuals will hate and abuse someone so much, that if they had done this in person they would most likely receive a black eye for their trouble. Yet people constantly do it…Frankly, because they can. What happened to treat others how you want to be treated?
2. Government: In Australia a few years ago there was a government uproar regarding Santa (Of all things) apparently him saying “Ho Ho Ho”, like he always has was now considered derogatory. Then we have such things as games being banned because they touch real world problems/issues, or for a latest example Lara Croft being “almost” sexually assaulted or the infamous Hitman: Absolution trailer. Sure one was a little more in your face then the other, but was it that these game companies tried to either give an emotional connection with a character on one hand and simply get people excited for the game on the other. Was it us who read too much into them and overreacted?
The world is being treated more and more like a child, most whinging at the smallest thing imaginable because they have seen others successfully whinge enough to make a difference. Why can’t people be shown crucial real world events that occur everyday, sexual assault sadly occurs and this scene was clearly a tame version of that, yet look at the outcry. Majority of people do not think this, but because the government is slowly taking away any freedom we have virtually or in the real world, people tend to overreact more because they know the vocal minority are heard the most. My point being is that we are being treated as if we are children unable to think for ourselves and this way of thinking has converted people to be the socially awkward child who will whinge if they don’t receive what they want (Mass Effect 3 ending).
3. Technology: Ever been home on a weekend night and seen Facebook light up with these updates, “Having a great night”, “The Club is pumping” or “So glad I went out tonight”. These people use their upgraded technology to tell others how amazing their night is, the question is if it is so good why are you on Facebook and not enjoying yourself? A mate of mine will jump on Facebook within 2 minutes of coming to visit or play a game on his phone. Some people have lost common courtesy or their attention spans have shortened significantly. Having to endure a face to face conversation with someone is considered boring to some these days.
Sure technology has improved our lives immensely, but it has also made us rely on what it provides a lot more then we should. If something happened to technology and it went down, how would us lucky enough to have it be able to deal with it? I know I would slowly feel disconnected and miss it. That reliability on technology, has made us socially weak when it comes to interaction. Who knows what my friend would do if he couldn’t play Bejeweled anytime someone dare speak to him.
The thing is I do not see society getting any better, if anything the world will get less and less inclined to socially interact with others when future generations are born into this world. When all shopping is online, when leaving your home seems foreign, these days will eventually come. I still think social interaction exists, but it is slowly dying. I will continue to act the way I brought up and try and make others do the same, Facebook is a personal nuisance to me and the day it becomes “old” I will rejoice and delete the annoying addition to my bookmarked pages. If it was not such a key to my interaction with my friends, it would be gone now.
Will the world get worse? I truly hope not, when we lose social interaction we will lose something that is very special to human beings, the most important thing we have to offer the world…Our humanity. And if we lose that, what do we truly have left?
Jamie works in Customer Service, he loves lengthy conversations and will always bless you after a sneeze. You can follow his well mannered material on Twitter @Jamierock50, YouTube and all his published reviews on WeekendNotes.