Don't Take Any Shit

by JC Axe

Dont take any shit

Most people want a lot out of life. They claim to anyway. Everyone I know says they want more money, more respect, responsibility, whatever. Not me though, I just want a job where I dont have to take any shit. But realistically, thatll probably never happen.

Everybody takes shit. I take shit from my manager, he takes shit from his manager, she takes shit from the area manager, and he takes shit from the agency. The agency takes shit from the client, the client takes shit from Ofcom, and Ofcom take shit from everyone.

You see, even the richest, most successful captain of industry takes shit; from his customers, from his competitors, from his shareholders. My manager says thats just a part of life, and Ill never ever have a job where I dont take any shit. He says taking shit is a good thing, makes you do your job better, gets things done quicker. Its all about how you respond to the shit, that builds character. You can crumble under pressure, or you can take charge and do something about it, pretty soon youll feel even better than you did before.

Now personally, I think thats a load of bollocks. I think that everything would run far more smoothly if everyone had a little bit more respect, especially for the drones on the front line, the under-achievers, whose hands are so deep in shit theyve forgotten what shit looks like, theyve forgotten what their hands look like, they begin to think they are shit!

Im a drone. Just another drone, drowning in apathy with the rest of the losers. Im a cog in a machine, an arse on a chair in a 21st century factory, in this giant workhouse industry we affectionately call customer service.

Good afternoon, youre speaking to Daniel at the Phoenix Welcome Team, how can I be of service to you today?

Ive said these words so many times now, that they have lost all meaning.

Yeah listen right He states in his mockney accent, Ive had this letter right sayin my activation date is gonna be on Thursday yeah?

He probably calls me a Pencil Squeezer Geezer to his upper middle class friends.


Thats what we call a verbal nod.

Well you need to do it today, I cant wait til Thursday.

Not that simple, sorry sunshine.

Im afraid I cant do that sir, the activation date is a set time for an area on a pre-set date. Its not something I can control unfortunately.

Well its not hard is it? Just to flick a switch, cant you do it now?

Could it be youve overestimated the simplicity of connecting a complex series of underground wires and data signals?

Its not something I can control. I reiterate.

Just activate it now, its not hard, just click the button and-

Synchronising millions of lines of data one zero one zero one zero zero one zero one one zero zero zero-Sir, its not that simple. If I could do it just by flicking a switch, Id have done it by now. Youll go active at some point on Thursday, any time up until midnight.

Midnight?! He shouts, So now youre telling me Ive got to wait until midnight to go active? Are you taking the fucking piss?

What a nice fella.

Sir, I didnt say it would definitely take until midnight, I said it could go active at any point on Thursday-

Thats a load of bullshit.

Sir, if you continue to swear at me I will be terminating the call.

Let me speak to your manager.

Hell just say the same thing. Hes just a drone like me. At lunch, well probably have a good old laugh about what an idiot you are.

Im afraid he is in a meeting right now.

Well to be honest, I dont fucking believe ya.

Believe it sweetheart. I wouldnt need to lie to fool you.

Its irrelevant whether you believe me or not, it will not change the fact that I cannot get my manager on the phone, and speaking to him will not alter the conclusion of this phone call.

No, youve lied to me. Youve lied to me and I want to speak to your manager.

How exactly have I lied to you?

You lied to me because you never told me it was gonna be midnight before I go active.

Actually, thats exactly what I told you, less than a minute ago. I pause, No, in fact, I told you that it will go active at any point throughout the day.

Telephone tough guy.

Are you proud of yourself? You stupid little man, you fucking idiot. He shouts,

Now that hurt my feelings. Im not little.

Sir, Im going to remind you again that if you-

Youve got a shit job because youre uneducated, youre lazy, youre a loser. He growls, I run my own business, Im losing three hundred pounds a day because of you. Ill sue you for loss of earnings. Give me your name.

Ive got you now, big man. That sounded like a threat to me, and I dont respond well to threats.

You are using your service for business and commercial purposes? I ask.

Yeah, and youre costing me-

I feel I should remind you that it is illegal to use this product for commercial purposes, you need to buy the business package, which is eight times more expensive. As you are currently breaching your contract, you wont be able to sue me for loss of earnings, and I am within my rights to terminate your account.

So shut the fuck up.

So I can upgrade your account to the significantly more costly business package, or I can terminate your account completely. Which would you prefer?

Now thats what I call putting the customer first.

Id also like to remind you that these calls are recorded. I smile weakly.

A brief interlude of silence follows.

Fuck off you prick.

My smile fades.

It is half past 11 by the time I get home. Another day, another headache. I make a cheese sandwich and hastily eat it, smoke a cigarette, then change out of my work clothes and flop on the bed. My mind fades to blank for a while, before I remember that I have to return to work tomorrow at 11am for another 12 hour shift.

Life could be worse I guess. Better to be a loser than an arsehole. Or is it?Maybe he was right, maybe I am a bit stupid for going back to that place everyday to swallow shit sandwiches with a smile. Maybe I am a bit stupid for salivating like a Pavlovian dog at the prospect of getting my monthly bonus.

Well, at least Im not completely stupid. Maybe it was my accent, my dopey northern accent that tricked him. Hed have never guessed I lived in the south. Hed have never dreamt I lived just three miles away from his house. His road is actually on my bus route home, it goes right past his front door actually. Over the phone, everyones a tough guy. To him, I was just another drone, another customer service slave, who needed a good whipping. How foolish to talk that way to somebody youve never met, especially when they have your name, address, bank account details, phone numbers, and email addresses right in front of them. Its just madness.

The first time it happened, I couldnt hold back. I snuck into the house through the back door, and stabbed him with a screwdriver a few times. But this one, Ill take my time, work him over for months on end. Ill start by reporting his business for those little tax evasions he seems to be so proud of. Then Ill jackpot his bank account. Ill wear him down with phone calls, emails, and parcels containing all sorts of foul things. I bet I could get him on the Sex offenders register, or destroy his credit rating with repeated loan applications. Then, when Ive worn him down to a pathetic little nub, Ill slip into his house at night and bleed him dry. Guys like him have always made more than just a few enemies in life, and who would ever expect that an anonymous phone operator would ever take things that far. I guess thats my problem; Im petty. Childish. Im tit-for-tat and toe-to-toe, and Ive got nothing better to do. But I guess thats life really isnt it? And youll have to accept it, because youll never be in a position where you dont take shit. Its all about how you respond to the shit, that builds character. You can crumble under pressure, or you can take charge and do something about it, pretty soon youll feel even better than you did before.

And I feel great.

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