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Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
#1

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
I started writing this in the IT thread but then realized how much I am writing and decided to make it a thread instead because I can see how this might potentially derail the thread over there. I am assuming that this thread fits in this section best but if not, feel free to move obviously. 

Also yes, I am very aware that this is opening a can of worms.

BUT

Please understand that customer service people are people. We are not machines and we are here to help you. 

I am writing all this because I keep seeing people ranting about support in the most petty ways. Usually about things that support just can't do. There are limits and this is something that some customers just don't want to understand. There is a ton of entitlement where there should be none. 


And rarely will you see somebody in the support field just giving you this insight, so here it is.



Background information:


I work in tech-support. Just to be clear, I am not writing this to represent my company. I have worked in many support roles over the years and the things below are re-occuring in variations across the support industry. 
My job is to reply to support emails and I am also one of the armee of people that answer support chats. 
Most issues, I can either fix or enable the customer to fix. Once in a while, I will have to send the issue on to another team, but again, that's rare.
So in my current role, I support all things website plus things like billing, bugs, complaints, etc.

Also, obviously not all customers are difficult. Most of them are very friendly or at least reasonable and willing to work together to get their issues fixed. Many even read up and try to fix things themselves before so we can already talk on a more advanced level when they get in touch.
In fact, the best customers we get are those who are also working in tech or in some support role because they know how to be super efficient with these things.

So the following rant is about those that are just.... well... difficult for different reasons.


Here comes the rant:
(And yes all this happens every day)


"Hi, my website doesn't work."
--> This is not enough information. I don't know which is your website when you are not giving me any details, not even your email or domain, to look it up.
--> What does "doesn't work" even mean? Are you getting errors? Is it not loading? Is somethign behaving or displaying in unexpected ways? 
--> When did it work last and what did you work on right before it stopped working?
--> Did you do any troubleshooting already and if so what did you try?
--> Please please give me a screenshot of your whole browser window and not only the error message. The rest of your browser window gives me important information too.

"Hi, my website doesn't load, here is my website <add domain here>"
--> Your website and your domain are not the same thing. (I have to explain this 5-10 times a day)
--> If your domain doesn't load up the site AND everything else is paid and works in the editor, check your DNS and SSL settings. I can guarantee the issue is one of the two.
--> Again give me a screenshot of your whole browser. It reallllly helps, believe me. 

"I don't know how to fix this"
--> When I give you detailed, simple steps to resolve the issue - follow the steps. I promise they will fix the issue or get you at least closer to a fix. 
--> Don't ask me if you should click the thing that I told you to click. Just click it.
--> If you don't see something or it looks different from what you expect, in relation to the steps I gave you, make - a - screenshot!
--> When I give you a link to a guide, click the link! I would not link the guide if it didn't have an explanation and resolution for your issue.

"You have to fix this for me because I pay for this service"
--> I have no permission to make ANY changes to your online presence, even if you tell me you allow me to do it. This is legally verrrry grey water and therefore I will not touch it.
--> I am giving you simple steps to fix your simple issue, follow the steps. 
--> The other 60 people who are waiting for somebody to take their chat are also paying for this service. 
--> The world does not evolve around you and your website that does nothing but highlight your fucking instagram and facebook.

"I am too stupid for this":
--> No you are not. If my mom can do it, you can too.
--> Stop talking yourself down like that, you are putting a hurdle up for yourself.
--> Just because you don't know how to do it or you are new to doing this, doesn't mean you cannot do it.
--> This stuff is complicated, yes, and everybody has a learning curve. It does not mean that you are stupid.

"As you can see in my screenshot...":
--> Please attach a jpg, png, or gif. Stay away from fancy formats. Our interfaces (depending on the company) often can't read other formats.
--> There is no need to make a photo of your screen with your mobile phone.
--> There is no need to save your screenshot as pdf.
--> There is no need to add your screenshot into a word document.
--> There is no need to save your screenshot in another service just to link us there.
--> There is absolutely no need to zip the file, I will not - I repeat - I will not open any zip files!


Also here is an FAQ


"Am I the only one, you are chatting with?"
Chances are no. I will very likely have a second person open right now as I talk to you, because a lot of people need help. I still am keeping up with your issue and checking in with your progress. I am still going to answer any follow up questions you have.

"Does my vote on your chat make a difference?"
Some companies have this in their performance metrics, so yes some people can get into a bit of a pickle if they get many downvotes. Even if it is not a performance metric it is still helpful to learn from the feedback. And every positive comment does really really make a huge impact on our work days! 
If you have a criticism about the product and you know the support was not at fault for not being able to fix something, give a positive vote and write in the feedback box that the support was fine but <criticism about product>.

"Why are there always so many tech support people in India?"
While the "cheap labor" might be part of it, most of the time it is simply to make sure that you can get support around the clock. I personally sit in Ireland and my company has no tech support sitting in India at all. We still cover 24/7 all year including holidays and pandemics.

"What if I am really upset?"
Say it normally. Don't curse us out because we can't change anything. If you need to vent, punch a pillow. We are always happy to take and forward feedback. And it is also absolutely ok to say at the beginning of your chat or phone call that you are upset becasue - and then give your reason in a normal tone. While we cannot take your upset away, we can absolutely understand it, and that is not a phrase, we do understand it. 

"What if I want to speak to a manager?"
Well Karen, we are happy to get you in touch with the manager, but the manager follows the same rules and procedures that we do. So in all likelihood the manager will give you the same reply. Usually the manager will come back to us and ask us about our opinion and plan to solve your issue anyway. So all you do, when you ask for the manager is, take time from me, my manager, and yourself. It does not speed anything up. Managers are busy people and it will take a while before they can get back to you.

"What if I tried all your steps and instructions and it still doesn't work?"
Tell me everything you did, which guides and help pages you followed and read, which other things you tried. Give me links to everything you read so I know where you're at. Give me screenshots. Give me screenshots please. 

"What if I don't know what something is called?"
Explain in your own words. Chances are high, we will understand what you mean. If we don't know what you mean, we will ask probing questions to get to the bottom of it. 

"What if I am new to the product / service?"
Say that. We are happy to take you step by step. Just let us know that you are new to it all so we can pace the conversation in a way that is appropriate to your situation. There is no shame in that.

"Are you allowed to drop my chat?"
In certain circumstances yes. For example if you become unresponsive, we will usually check in a couple of times and then close the chat. This is because there are other people waiting, who need help, and we cannot keep waiting for you to maybe come back to the chat in half an hour.

"What if it is urgent and I reply to my support ticket a few times to check in?"
It depends on the support system. Some systems will keep all your replies in one thread. Some systems will create a new ticket everytime you write in.
Either way, it will not speed anything up. In fact in some systems, every new reply will automatically send you to the end of the ticket queue. 
So the best you can do is, write your email / support ticket and then wait for a reply. You are not forgotten or ignored, it just takes a bit to get to your request.

"Do you remember some customers?"
Absolutely. Sometimes a whole team knows a specific customer - especially if the customer was abusive. 
We communicate a lot. Say if the connection dropped, somebody was abusive, if our shift ends and we need somebody to take over, etc. 
And of course the funny ones are in our minds too!

"What if I have a lot of questions during a chat?"
Depends on company policy. What I do these days, once a chat has been longer than an hour (happens way too often), because there are so many questions, I will offer to the customer to tell me all the questions for me to then send them one big email with all the answers. And generally I will add to that the fact that we have been talking for a while and explain that there are other customers waiting. So if there are more questions we should take this to email.
Hint: Most customers are actually super receptive to that. They just forget time because they are focussing on the chat. 


In closing:


People who work in support are there to help you, there is no need for you to be snarky or sarcastic.
You are the one contacting us because you need help, so please refer from being a wiseguy. If you did in fact know it all, you would not have to contact us; Just answer our questions because there is a reason we are asking them. If you are not sure why a question is important, feel free to ask clarification. We'll explain.

Sometimes it might take a few minutes for us to find an answer because we need to test stuff as well. Often, if we see that the issue is not your fault, we also have to find out if there is a known bug, a workaround, etc. So give us a couple of minutes so we can help you.
Often there can be different reasons why an issue comes up, so we need to do some troubleshooting with you. Work with us and be patient so we can help you.

If you have several questions that are at least somewhat similar, for example different questions about website design, write them all into one email. This way you can get one email back instead of being spammed with replies to all of the ones you sent.

If you are abusive as fuck during our interaction, chances are, that we are less willing to walk the extra mile for you. Basic service and basic answers will be all you get.

Again, we do understand when somebody is frustrated. At least in my specific role because the techy things can be complicated. We aren't trying to talk down, we are trying to make sure that you know, we are doing our best to help you. So even if you wish to rip somebody's head off, you will profit so much more if you can set that aside and work with us. 

Sad truth, some things, like some features or functions or service or whatever are just not possible. They will not be implemented even if we send feedback and feature requests to those in charge. This is because while it might be important for you and even for many people, engineers need to prioritize. And when things are completely broken, they will be dealt with before the things that are only kinda broken but also kinda work. And those completely broken things take longer to fix. For example if there is a font you want to use but it is not available in the editor, your site is not broken and things work because you can use a different font. But the that issue that breaks the checkout on all stores on the platform is just more urgent in that moment even if you don't have a store. I hope that makese sense

Yes, I am aware that there are a lot of support people who are less patient than myself or just not very skilled, be it on a social or on a professional level. However, even those are there to help and they are doing their best. You can always ask to be transferred to somebody else and if somebody else is available, they will probably be happy to transfer you, especially when they know that they might be out of ideas to help you. 
I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a communication "customer would like to speak to somebody else". We don't take it personal, we understand that you might wish for a second opinion or whatever your reason may be.

And one last thing. Stop asking to speak to a man when your support representative is a woman. Yes there are women working in the field. A LOT OF THEM. Get over it! You gain nothing from asking for a man, nothing but the reputation of being a bigot. I will share with you this, my main go-to person for anything domain or email related is a woman (gasp!) in my team! She knows everything. She is a reincarnated encyclopedia on that stuff! Basically just saying: Women in tech are a thing, welcome to this century!


--------

Rant over! Go ahead now, rip me apart ...  Girl_devil
2+2=4
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#2

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
Most of the time I am not just frustrated with the reason I am calling for support isn't just the reason itself, it is often a tedious process just to get to an actual human. I always thank them for their time, and if I was particularly inhospitable, I would apologize and let them know it's a situation that has me frustrated, not them.
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#3

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
(06-12-2020, 09:55 PM)no one Wrote: Most of the time I am not just frustrated with the reason I am calling for support isn't just the reason itself, it is often a tedious process just to get to an actual human.  I always thank them for their time, and if I was particularly inhospitable, I would apologize and let them know it's a situation that has me frustrated, not them.

That's super understandable actually. I was helping my brother to fix an issue with his computer over the past couple days. And today had to get to a customer support that had a ton of levels to get through to a human.

Most chat bots will react to the word "human" or "person" as a trigger. Try that, it should at least skip a couple steps of running in circles with the bot itself.
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#4

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
Everyone has a tough job, the underbelly of any profession has it's hard, ugly side. I am by no stretch of the imagination trying to compare toughness of jobs, obviously some people's jobs are much, much more difficult than others. But nobody thinks about the other person's job, everyone just thinks "hey whatever, at least I get what I want." I always try to be as polite as possible when I'm dealing with customer service, but they are also customer service agents that are just complete fucking dicks! And you can bet your bottom dollar if I'm dealing with one of those individuals, there will be problems.
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#5

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
"My computer is doing weird shit. Here's my password, I'm leaving for the day."
  [Image: pirates.gif] Dog  
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#6

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
When I do my job, no matter how difficult the task at hand is, I do it to the absolute best of my ability. I take pride in what I do, it irritates me when others are so blasé about theirs.
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#7

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
Too many people are in jobs that they know are killing their souls. This demographic is beyond hope and the rest of us just have to work around them.
  [Image: pirates.gif] Dog  
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#8

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
(06-12-2020, 10:13 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: "My computer is doing weird shit. Here's my password, I'm leaving for the day."

YES THAT!!! Here is my password. I have had people type their credit card details in the chat. Just for me to go back in after closing to redact it all! Isn't it curious how many people still do that?

In none of my support jobs have I ever needed a password or full payment details outside of when I worked in a callcenter that was for a car rental - so people would pay. And even there, I was not permitted to repeat the card number out loud.
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#9

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
(06-12-2020, 10:25 PM)leerob Wrote:
(06-12-2020, 10:13 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: "My computer is doing weird shit. Here's my password, I'm leaving for the day."

YES THAT!!! Here is my password. I have had people type their credit card details in the chat. Just for me to go back in after closing to redact it all! Isn't it curious how many people still do that?

In none of my support jobs have I ever needed a password or full payment details outside of when I worked in a callcenter that was for a car rental - so people would pay. And even there, I was not permitted to repeat the card number out loud.
That was at a USN location that was connected to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). I had to send that dude back to sea.
  [Image: pirates.gif] Dog  
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#10

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
I used to be "generic IT suppport" - which ranged from hardware stuff to passwords, so can relate 1000%. An example I have, outside of the regular garbage like "my password doesnt work" is where a chap rang me during a huge server shutdown problem, not to report his own issues - but to tell me he had a dream about what fixed it last night, and wanted to tell me just in case it was true. Yep. [spoiler: it didn't fix anything and was a waste of time].

The flip side of this is before working 'behind the scenes' I know that I was guilty of basically acting the way of all 'users' - just not reading simple messages/trying again/forgetting a password or getting it wrong and not admitting that this was the case. etc. To be fair that was when i was younger and had less patience as well but again it's not an excuse.

Hardware issues: make/model of the hardware effected and any specific issues [error messages on screen/lights flashing and in what order]
software issues: EXACT error message and not "there is an error", what the software is along with the name version number of the software if possible. also, pending the issue, the EXACT reproduction steps to produce this error [for example clicking the save icon and going into File > save are different actions].

Side notes: if you don't know how to gather the information needed - google it. When googling, be literal as well. Searching "random problem with computer" won't help, but "Crashing in office 2016, windows 10" will give you more information. if you have an error, google exactly what it says. Same for hardware, "where to find model number on a compaq laptop" will give you all the info you need.

In short - just be nice and as helpful as possible to support staff. not everything is a stupid question, but be aware some places need to log the EXACT thing you have said to them, even if that contains expletives, which then will be on record for any future issues you might have. [another example: we once had somebody call to say their printer was "ejaculating" paper......thats on record for that company now]

I have a million and one other stories, but yeah, just be nice Smile
#BeExcellentToEachOther
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#11

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
[repeat] When we got our computers at the unit I worked with in 1986 the Master Chief gave me a letter telling me what we were getting. "The computers are here, put them together and train everybody." I took the letter to book store and shoved it at a clerk.

"UHHH!!!"

"Oh, you're getting a DOS-based system."

"UHHH!!!"

"Here's a book."

After I read that twice I got feisty. That was a mistake.
  [Image: pirates.gif] Dog  
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#12

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
@OakTree500 You just reminded me of my callcenter time and this guy was spelling out his name and went ".... V for Vibrator ... "
2+2=4
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#13

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
I am officially retiring from my IT gig. So far I have been very polite but I so want to just blow some shit up. Big Grin
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#14

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
(06-15-2020, 08:28 PM)leerob Wrote: @OakTree500 You just reminded me of my callcenter time and this guy was spelling out his name and went ".... V for Vibrator ... "

I had "H for er....erm....H for erm....Hitler" once
#BeExcellentToEachOther
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#15

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
I feel you man, working with people is hard. Specially technically illiterate people.
Live long and prosper!
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#16

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
It's the ones who have just a little bit of knowledge that are the worst.
[Image: giant%20meteor%202020.jpg]
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#17

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
Try doing free tech support for relatives who don't actually know how to read.
  [Image: pirates.gif] Dog  
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#18

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
(06-19-2020, 12:57 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: Try doing free tech support for relatives who don't actually know how to read.
My brother installed teamviewer when I told him because every time he has an issue, he won't read the error message or use google. So I started doing it via team viewer on his computer while he is watching lol. Hoping he will learn from that.

On Thursday (My Friday because I work Sundays) I had a nice but clueless lady in the chat support. She was trying to set up podcasting on her website. I have no clue about podcasting but she knew even less. So I was going step by step until my shift was about to end. I was in chat with her for almost an hour... But really, she wasn't going to succeed without the friggen audio files which I told her about 4 times until she noticed what I as saying. At the end of the chat she decided to try around a bit. Probably at that time she had already forgotten that she needs the audio files but whatever...
2+2=4
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#19

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
I was just a the supermarket and the amount of shopping carts just strewn about is proof positive that people don't give a single shit about anyone elses job, but damn you if you don't respect what they have to do.

Now sure, I understand that not everyone, can put the cart back every single time, but that was not the case today.
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#20

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
I watched a guy shove a cart out of the space he wanted and into a handicapped space. I put six carts behind his big-ass pickup when I left.
  [Image: pirates.gif] Dog  
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#21

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
Last week on Thursday I had a customer email about something concerning the mobile design of their website.
I explained the issue to them.

Couple hours later the reply to the ticket and asked the question again, acknowledging part of my answer.
I rephrased my answer, using simpler phrasing.

Today I got back to work. First ticket. same customer replies again telling me I have not answered the question. (I did, twice)
It took me a full 20 minutes to reread the question and my replies several times, facepalming, and feelinghow much more can I dumb it down?
I then spent another 15 minutes writing an extended, extreeeeeeemly detailed email about the qustion and the fix.

Just to clarify, I am not unclear and quite used to rephrasing things to make them more understandable. This customer just didn't like my answer to tried to keep reframing the questions as if they meant something else. It's a certain kind of customer.
2+2=4
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#22

Tech-support rant (from the supporter's perspective).
Today, I bring to you, the customer from hell (CFH).
Obviously, like most companies, we have our own internal chat system to keep in touch and communicate. 


Coworker starts posting in our team chat about CFH in the chat support. Abusive customer. Quotes were provided. We, as a team, encourage the coworker, help, advise, try to keep him sane.

I end a chat and who is the next one that pops in for me. CFH, you guessed right.

Situation, after about 40ish minutes of abusing my coworker, CFH went unresponsive so my coworker closed the chat. I already know from the chat log and the coworker that he did every bit of troubleshooting and has assigned the chat to himself in order to look more into the issue and get back to CFH via email later on.

The messages that popped CFH back into the chat were "FUCK OFF AND DIE" and after an automatic message from the chat system "FUCK OFF".
And in come I, playing dumb like I did not see anything and have not read everything already.

Me: Hi CFH, this is Rob. I see you spoke to <coworker> already, he will follow up by email on this issue. Is there anything else I can do for you right now?
CFH: Yes fix it!
CFH: Do your job, lazy asshole
CFH: I will pay you with fake money you shitheads
CFH: I hate <company name>

- I let him go on and take a second chat because we have people who need help. Also this helps to keep yourself sane in such a situation. Having a nice normal customer at the same time is neutralising some of the hate and keeps your head cool. I also message in our team chat and say I got CFH now. My turn to get encouragement. -

CFH stopped talking after an avalanche of insults and abuse without any issue (not even the previous one) stated.

Me: I understand it can be upsetting when something can't be fixed right away but we are here to help. My coworker is investigating as we speak and he will email  you once he knows more. In the meantime, is there anything else that you need help with?

CFH: You just want to get rid of me.
CFH: You are not getting away this easily.
CFH: You are staying here and you will do your job, genius.
CFH: I have been your customer for years and I hate <company name>.
CFH: Fix this, it's simple!
CFH: Do your job you lazy bastard. Got it?

- I let him go on again and tab out of the chat because he is starting to get extremely abusive even for me and I usually deal with that kind of stuff well (meaning i don't let it get to me easily). Reply to my other chat and help troubleshooting an equally tricky issue. Other customer is super cooperative. We make progress. I vent a little bit in the team chat. -

Me: Please refrain from using abusive language. We are trying to help you here. Some things need further testing and troubleshooting. My colleague is on that already and will email you soon.

- I make screenshot of CFH abusive ramblings and show it to my team lead. Team lead has my back. "If he keeps going like this, send him to me." -

CFH: This isn't abusive, genius.
CFH: Sorry
CFH: Happy now?
CFH: Now start doing your job.
CFH: What are you? Working from bed?
CFH: Fix my <the thing reframed>


- I doubt myself and check with the coworker who had CFH earlier. I also recheck the chatlog. I spot that he is reframing and really not having a new question. But here I go playing dumb and doing some minor troubleshooting to show good will. Obviously the same results from earlier, because my coworker already went through everything which is why he was taking it to email, to do some more research on the issue. -

In the meantime, as this is going on for almost an hour, I have warned CFH again to stop with this language.

Now I provide a quick instruction and making a video of my testing, add a guide from the help center for good measure and context. Look at me being super professional.

CFH starts yelling spitting and clawing again.

I have enough. I firmly restate what my coworker explained already but I make sure that he knows that I know everything.

Me: As you know from my coworker, we are not allowed to make any changes to your website even if you permit it explicitly, which is why I cannot click save here.
You also know that you are simply reframing your question.
As I mentioned, my coworker is investigating and will get back in touch with you via email.

CFH ragequits or loses connection - who the fuck knows at this point.

------------------------

Afterthoguhts:

The audacity of coming for help but starting and maintaining extreme levels of abuse over the course of almost two hours and with two support people.
Looking at his website, it was extremely poorly done. He obviously hates what he does. You can tell from how a website is done, whether the person cares about the site or not. He did not. 

We, in the support there know the whole product, every bug, every current and past issue, every quirk, every integration, every feature request, every template option, every error message, everything about everything he can add, change, buy, book, cancel, complain about, wish for, and dream while taking a shit at fucking midnight. And he treats us like we are the idiots in this scenario? Are you fucking kidding me?

How can somebody so undifferentiated, to come into this scenario as the one looking for help, and treat another person like this. If he hates the product so much, why is he still using it? Something must be keeping him there. 

I can perfectly well forgive somebody being in a mood or being upset about something that doesn't work. Just tell me and I will make sure to match my tone and energy and make sure you feel heard and cared for. But this behaviour is just so absolutely unacceptable and unreasonable. 

How much time some people have just to be toxic and fuck up somebody else's day. It's beyond me. I can be in a lousy mood too, but I will not make somebody suffer for my mood.

Please don't be this guy!


Thanks for reading my rant.
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