Let Me Get My Violin

Let Me Get My Violin

We find ourselves playing the role as listeners, counselors, advisors, and compassionate, caring people.

A fiddle and a violin are the same thing, but we use the term fiddle when used for music played in an upbeat manner that makes you want to dance, and a violin is more often played with lower tones and a slower pace, indicating sadness and depression. The melancholy sound of a violin is well recognized as a symbol of these somber emotions.

So, I always wanted to buy an old one and hang it up front and center on the wall behind the service counter. Then, when I couldn’t take the relentless sob story that someone was laying out about their terrible hardships and why they couldn’t afford to fix their car, I could reach one hand toward the wall, look them straight in the eye, and in a monotone voice devoid of emotion, make the rather snarky statement that is the title of this article.

Of course, I would never do that because it would be rude and poor customer service, but it sure would be funny! We’ve all been there and played along in a compassionate manner, apologizing for all the terrible things that have happened in a customer’s life that are taking all their money. But how did we not know of any of this until they had an expensive car repair come up?

More often than not, this customer is forgetting about the last time they were in. They were elated because they were only getting an oil change, and it didn’t cost them too much. Life was good. As a matter of fact, they had just gotten a tax refund and bought a new big screen TV. Plus, they just got back from a trip to Disney and were going on a cruise later in the year.

What’s even better, they tend to forget that we have mortgage payments too, and car payments, and relationship troubles, and doctors’ bills, and the house needs a new roof, the water heater started to leak, and the furnace went bad all in one week! Need I go on?

And did I mention, this particular customer has a really big house in a really nice neighborhood? And instead of buying a moderate vehicle that would be reasonable to maintain, they opted for top of the line with all the bells and whistles and low-profile tires…i.e. ex-pen-sive! It’s okay for them to spend money on what they want, but not what they need.

That’s all fine with me. I have no problem with what people spend their money on. I waste tons of it on old cars and what may be silly hobbies to some, and I lean toward the “can’t take it with you” mentality. But I also sacrifice certain luxuries so I can pay the rest of my bills. I don’t complain because nobody likes to hear sob stories, and if money is tight, it’s only one person’s fault: mine.

But that’s part of our jobs, especially when you interface directly with the customer. We find ourselves playing the role as listeners, counselors, advisors, and compassionate, caring people.

Truth is, we are these kinds of people, and we do care about others, but it’s not an easy role to play. Negativity and depression can wear you down, and when we hear it repeatedly, it can have a negative effect, yet we can only listen, empathize, and let it roll off.

So, the next time you’re on the receiving end of one of these stories, envision the instrument that you could have hanging on the wall, and what you could be saying to your customer. But be careful – you might have to hide your smile. TS

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