Putting up with “Karen”
Updated: Sep 21, 2020
We’re living in an age where one could easily be put into stardom and even easier be cast into the limelight for the wrong reason. A series of miscalculated moves is all it takes to tarnish a reputation one has strived to build. FluffyBBunny, a staff writer at Quattro Communications, brings you on a journey of how keeping cool in an unpleasant situation actually pays.
If you’ve had a gig or building a career in the customer service industry, chances are you already know what’s a Karen, not who.
Wikipedia refers to “Karen” as a term for a woman who perceives herself to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is considered appropriate or necessary. Now, before you jump with sexism, there is a male version of it too. The male counterpart however goes by many names. But among the most used is Male Karen.
Having worked in an international coffee chain and a homegrown burger joint myself, I can assure you from my personal encounters that these people do exist.
While it is normal to make requests, Karens tend to make it a memorable one. They abandon etiquette and dive straight into “It’s your job, I’m your customer” or “I’m paying you” without knowing head or tail of what is happening behind the scene.
It makes me wonder if the person who coined the phrase “customer is king” ever serviced a customer.
Being on the other side of the counter, you would think that surely we would not be another Karen to someone else, especially after personally going through it – not quite.
Writing during this pandemic time, let me just clear the air by saying, being Karen is not a contagion. Although Karen is what we secretly want deep down. What is that you ask, simple - power and authority.
Have you ever driven an 8.0-litre, quad-turbocharged, W16 cylinder engine Bugatti Veyron? Neither have I. But can you imagine the power that runs through it with just a slight push of a pedal. Now, what good is it if it’s only to be viewed and not put the pedal to the metal? But, what’s this got to do with any of this – wait.
We’re not that different too, we toil hard in what we do just to have a better future from what our parents did. Definitely with the expectation that the toiling would land us a better pay package and certain seniority in place. You could say that in a parallel universe, Uncle Ben would have told Peter Parker “with seniority comes power and authority”.
With power and authority flowing through our veins, we mistakenly get lost in it, eventually placing ourselves above others. Often times thinking that we are more deserving because of what we have accomplished.
Talking down and assuming we’re a know-all are all too common among Karens as we try to make a scene and demand the attention of a superior to handle the unpleasant situation that we’re put in.
While the customer service representatives would have been trained and equipped to behave in a pleasant manner to all customers, surely the public would have a role to play in it too.
Below are some ways we could prevent an unpleasant situation from going viral:
1) Never think highly of yourself. Ego destroys a man.
2) Know to understand the situation
3) Put yourself in the shoes of others (figuratively).
4) Calmly and politely work out something.
From experience, creating a scene does not get you anything besides leaving both parties embarrassed, especially in a time where things can go viral real quick. Work it out behind closed doors, you may just get a better deal or be better treated, while saving the humiliation.
Because ultimately who really is Karen? We all are.