Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How can I help you help me feel great?

Here begins the newest, most amazing musing from The Loudest Fan. Bow appropriately:

I'm baaaaaaack! I refuse to apologize for my extended absence. Deal with it.

Recently, I was perusing what I believe to be the most entertainingly intelligent content on the web: cracked.com. In their recent article entitled "5 Reasons It's Still Not Cool to Admit You're a Gamer," reason #1 discusses general issues of entitlement that prevent the gaming industry from respecting its clientele, thus preventing gamers and gaming from ascending beyond their social stigmas. The article as a whole is precise in its analysis of what plagues the media form of gaming, and reason #1 is absolutely the most insightful of the 5, clearly demonstrating the human tendency for short-sighted selfishness.

It is this tendency that I want to evaluate further. We are selfish pricks, to the point of hurting our chance of survival on this planet. That's nothing new, and neither myself nor Cracked are original in pointing this out. I just aim to illustrate how deep this tendency goes, and detail how it factors in making customer service the Hell that it is (more on why I chose that later).

First, I want to point out something that was pointed out to me over a decade ago, but has always factored into my perspective on selfish idiots (read: people) ever since. One of the founding principles of moral attitude in Western thought is the Golden Rule: Do unto others that which you would have done unto yourself. Granted, it is specifically a Christian principle, but you'd be hard-pressed to argue that it doesn't inform Western culture as a whole. I bring it up because it is an altruistic teaching, yet it founds itself upon an assumption of selfishness. It is not "Do unto others that which is only good." Rather, it uses self-interest as a motivation for altruism; altruism is communicated in terms of the selfish.

I love working in customer service. I really, really do. I even have a knack for it. Working to help strangers and creating a peaceful, pleasing environment for the customer are things I actually enjoy. Do not let this fool you, though: nobody, including myself, does it to help people. At least, "helping others" simply for the sake of just that is never our motivation.

Customer service is a competition. Unlike sales, which has quantifiable outcomes (e.g. commissions) that justify the competition, customer service pits employee against the customer in a war in which the only reward is entitlement. The best customer service employee never loses. He will often tie, but only because the customer failed to challenge the employee. Thus, tying, for the customer service employee, is only another form of winning.

Losing is yet another form of winning to the employee, and the degree to which the loss is a win is proportional only to the skill of the employee. If a customer proves to be so difficult that the customer service employee cannot help them, the employee leaves the confrontation knowing that the customer was stupid and at fault for everything, considering that everything the employee does is literally designed to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for the customer. If a customer is too difficult, it is usually because he is ignorant to that which is best for himself. The more difficult he is, the more clearly ignorant and stupid he must be. The only exception to this is the customer who is difficult only to entertain himself, but they usually tend to only be other people with experience in customer service. Those cases are as close to "sport" as customer service gets. Everything else is war.

Winning outright is easily the crown jewel of customer service achievement. An employee yearns for a customer so difficult that he can walk away feeling superior in every way, and to have that difficult customer yield to the will of the employee by the end. The most altruistic customer service employee is the most sadistic. Patience has nothing to do with it. Nobody hurries through that which they enjoy.

Customer service employees like me help others in order to feel superior to the general population. Writers like me write in order to feel superior to the general reader. Commenters like you write in order to feel superior to me. You will fail entirely.


  1. i agree with your insights here man. people need to feel like they're getting something out of any situation to make it worth thier while.

  2. This text made me feel to think about how to life a live. Thank you for the great moment!

  3. you reeeeaallly bring up some good points here...

  4. As much as it's "hip" to be a "nerd", I still don't think it'll ever be "cool" to be a gamer.

  5. There are some of use who aren't short-sighted, but rather imply taking advantage of a clearly intact system. It also helps that social stigmas don't affect me.

  6. I used the video game article as a jumping-off point. Anyway, you say "taking advantage" yourself. Regardless of whether or not you care about gaming and the gamer being painted as infantile, you still subscribe to the entitlement to which I referred ("I deserve to have this game for less than what the time invested in making it is worth"), and from which the rest of my point grows. BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA.

  7. You made my day... its nice to see people who are not short sighted and ''like other''.. we have to be unique ant THINK...

  8. Nice to see that I'm not the only one that thinks like this...

  9. My girlfriend isn't a gamer, but she loves the fact that I do play games. We're able to joke around about it all the time!


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