What exactly does an English teaching assistant do over the summer when school is out? Come back home to suburban southern California to mooch off her parents, convince old jobs to rehire her, and replenish her travel funds, of course.

I’m afraid I’m back to a very un-Spanish life. I stepped off the plane and straight into 40 hour work weeks (A step up from 12 hours in Spain) at my old job as assistant manager of a movie theater, which graciously took me back for the summer. What I do isn’t terribly exciting, but I work with fantastic people. I also get unlimited free movie tickets, which my friends and family definitely take advantage of.

It’s been strange coming from Spain, where the concept of customer service is nonexistent, to here, where my job is to bend over backwards to make each and every customer happy, because after all, they’re always right.

Why yes, we oversold the auditorium and it’s my fault only the front row is left when you showed up five minutes late to a Friday night movie on opening night. You asked for 17 pumps of butter on your popcorn and then it leaked onto your pants? No shit, Sherlock! Oh, you have your 3D glasses from last time? That’s nice, you’re still paying the surcharge. None of the following are acceptable substitutes for an ID when buying a ticket for a rated R movie: telling me how old you are, tattoos, facial hair, being tall, or my personal favorite, being pregnant. (All of these are true stories).

Observe an ordinary day at work:

Customer service in Spain isn’t too far off from that. If what you’re asking for is completely ridiculous, they will laugh in your face and tell you so. To many foreigners this comes across as rude, but usually it’s just brutal honesty, which I would love to give my customers. Here, I have to hold my tongue, smile, and somehow make this person happy. Having a shiny name tag with the word “Manager” usually helps.

But like I said, I have awesome coworkers and employees and at the end of the day we all get to laugh at each others customer stories, and share funny videos of things we would love to say.

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3 Responses to Un-Spanish

  1. James says:

    Transitioning from living life as an expat to America is always strange. I love our customer service. Though it must suck to deal with irrational people, sometimes it's nice to be irrational.

  2. Danielle says:

    omg!!!!!! i just watched this video! i cant breathe! im laughing so hard!!!!

  3. Lauren says:

    I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog, and as someone who has worked in customer service in the U.S. for years (read: waitressing), I LOVE the video. If only we could talk to unruly customers that way.

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