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Customer service is dead

I have worked in various retail jobs part-time for the past four years, and it has always been my experience that happy customers are good customers. So I try my best to be friendly and courteous towards them. Customers are not only essentially the source of my paycheck, but they are also human beings. They have mood swings and bad days, the same as I do.

I cannot control a customer's mood or what happened to them before they entered my store. I can, however, be polite, courteous and helpful when I deal with them. Maybe it was the way I was brought up – be respectful, don't act obnoxious, and follow the "golden rule" – treat others the way you would want to be treated.

That's why it's so surprising to me when I go to a store, restaurant, or even a campus office and receive the bare minimum of courtesy or amiability. Nowadays people seem to instead follow the "silver rule" – do not treat others in a way you would not want them to treat you. It sounds similar to the golden rule, but is decidedly less proactive. And it means that an employee exerts no effort whatsoever to be polite and helpful.

The truth is that people today are looking out for number one – themselves. It is important to remember once in a while that we, as college students and as both employees and customers, should think about the other person. Customers, take into account that employees are probably overworked and underpaid. Employers, take into account that customers are probably busy and confused, and just need some help.

I, as an employee, am in no way perfect – I get frustrated and tired. But I don't let it affect my work ethic – I treat the customer at the beginning of my shift with the same courtesy as I treat the last customer.

I can only hope that members of the Seton Hall community remember the importance of friendly customer service. There are countless times I have heard complaints from students about the unprofessional way they have been treated by employees in campus offices.

For the many times I have been treated as a nuisance by employees in some store, I have come to the conclusion that customer service is dead, or at least on life support.

But then every once in a while I see a great example of customer service – like when I go to PCSS with a laptop that just crashed, and one of the technicians decides to stay an hour after his shift ends just to make sure that he can save all of my files. Then I think maybe friendly customer service is still hanging on.

Erin Bell is a junior journalism major from Burlington, NJ. She can be reached at

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