When I, the CSR, broke down crying to a customer

I worked for years as a Customer Service Rep for the local electric company. When we had major storms come in, you were required to work for up to 16 hours, 8 off (no matter how long it took you to get home), then back for another 16.

So one time I was on my second 16 hour shift, answering the phones for people who were incensed their power was not on. Never mind that probably 1 million people were without power (I lived in a large city).

One lady comes on and starts haranguing me about not having power, throwing in that she felt her neighborhood was being ignored because it was in a poorer area. She said that nobody was working to get the power back on.

“You know,” I said in a quivering voice, “I have been here for my second 16 hour shift.” Sob. “We all have to work 16 hours whenever there’s an emergency, and that includes the outside guys.” Sob. Sob. “I’m so sorry your lights aren’t on,” sob sob sob, “but we are doing the best we can!”

She was quiet a minute, then started apologizing left and right, and saying she didn’t mean it, finally hanging up in mortification.

Big breath. On to next call …

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So I’m going to rant.

The most satisfying callback ever