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Now, down here in the south, it's not uncommon for southern gentlemen to throw around the occasional "hun" or "darlin." That doesn't bother me. They're not being demeaning, it's just a way of speaking.
What bothers me is the number of recent calls I've taken where I've been called "honey," "baby" and worse. And although I've been working customer service hell for over 5 years now, this is a new experience for me, and here's why:
Previously I worked in the drive-thru. I have a customer service voice that sounds like Minnie Mouse over the headset, but I don't have the look to match it. After pulling up, the driver would be confronted with me, wearing my blue waterproof apron, my sleeves hiked up so they don't get soaking wet, covered in a mixture of dishwater, flour, and some unidentified sauce. After about 9:00 pm, I would be all out of smiles, and my hair would look like something the cat dragged in. Even the most polite southerner would have a hard time matching up this image to the word "darlin."
Now, in call center hell, those same men never see me. They hear my voice and picture the sweetest young thing their hearts desire. For the first time I'm having to deal with a whole new line of condescension and people hitting on me, and it's really getting on my nerves.
Now, I'm sure a lot of retail slave girls are out there rolling their eyes at me. I know there are a lot of you who have been dealing with this all the time, and I want to know how you do it. Or better yet, how do you make it stop? I can't just tell them off: the calls are monitored. And all you guys out there, on what planet is this deemed appropriate behavior?