Hi, I’m Karen, and I Wanna Speak to Your Manager


The only phrase I hear more often than “In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous….” is “this call may be monitored for quality assurance……,” to which I usually reply “Well, I fucking hope so.” 

I guess I am a “Karen.” I always wanna speak to the manager. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a bit much sometimes. I run a little hot. If you ever heard my stand up, I have a bit about losing my mind over some salad dressing. Parts are exaggerated for the sake of comedy, but overall I tend to get a bit worked up when I feel as though something is unjust. 

I preface that joke the same way I preface this article. I, at no point, expect any empathy or indulgence in this behavior. I am aware that I am a hot mess. Is my life that hard? No. Are these gross injustices? Well. Depends on the mood I am in. 

I’ve had my fair share of suffering in life, but I haven’t found a way to make any of those tragedies funny yet. So today I’m gonna talk about customer service (or perhaps misplaced anger?). 

In my old age, I have turned into a bit of a customer service nightmare. I say this because I’ve only been sober nine years, so every call I made before that doesn’t count. But I’m willing to bet this isn’t a new thing or an old age attribute. I will say the frequency and intensity have grown significantly enough that I will carve time out of my day as I do for other appointments. 

8 am: wake
8:30 am: coffee and oatmeal while catching up on correspondence
9:00 am: shit
9:05 am: call AT&T

I get my headphones out so I can be hands free to text, play games or shadowbox during the countless minutes I know they’ll keep me on hold. 

Sometimes my anger is completely warranted. I mean it is indeed a first world problem I’m usually experiencing, but I will fight to the death to receive what I have paid for and heaven help you if you try and stop me. 

There are times where it’s things like stones falling out of my engagement ring, and then while my ring is being fixed it goes missing. And then I get it back and more stones fall out of it and over the course of the year I am very patient and calm and finally I give up and suggest they just refund the money so we can get a ring that won’t fall apart. And they say no. That’s when I put on my Karen mask and ask for the manager (I got the refund).

Then there are times where I am home alone eating my favorite gelato and I notice there aren’t as many dark chocolate caramel truffles as there used to be. I chalk it up to a bad batch. Then I notice a couple weeks later a new container with the same problem. I give it a third chance before I pen an email to customer service. “I’ve noticed lately there are less dark chocolate caramel truffles in my sea salt gelato. Is this a fluke or is lack of quality what I can come to expect from your product?” I never received a response to this, which is actually okay because I felt incredibly sad after writing it so it was best that it was never brought up again.

Most times it’s phone companies. I use to imagine holiday parties at AT&T where they were standing around a punchbowl playing recorded calls from “that crazy twat, Erin” and laughing at how worked up I got over my bill being $5 higher than it was last month “FOR NO REASON!” Seriously though each month I would have to call and dispute a new charge. I would typically get it refunded, but for over a year having to make this monthly call which would take close to an hour grinded my gears.

Lately it’s airlines though. I realize I am fortunate enough to fly the friendly skies a little more often these days. I probably wouldn’t notice a $5 bump on my phone bill because I’m SO successful (although ten dollars will get you killed). I’m also traveling a bit more for my career and so I fly a good amount each year. I used to love Delta. They were always a little more expensive but seemed to have less issues than the others. But now it seems as though they’ve all banded together and said “Listen. If we ALL suck and we ALL raise our prices then what are they gonna do about it, really?” The answer: nothing. Are we gonna not fly? Nope. We’re gonna keep bending over and taking it. Because they’ve teamed up against us. 

When you look up a flight these days, the first thing that shows up is some incredibly low price. “Flights to Santa Fe are now $278!” That’s it? I’ll take it! But wait. Did you want to bring a bag? That’s another fifty. Oh, and carry on? $25 please. Oh I’m sorry, did you want to sit down? That’ll be another $47. And though these aircraft are essentially the same ones they’ve had for years (with some updates), the seats seem to be getting smaller. Now I am by no means a skinny girl but I’m certainly not obese. How is it that my hips can barely fit between the armrests? 

Phone companies are horrible too. Dropped calls, shitty service, slow data… but you NEED a phone so you’re left to pick the lesser of all the evils. You’re still going to get terrible service, but maybe it’s slightly better than the other shitty services. 

It’s like playing a game of ‘would you rather.’ For those of you who don’t know this game, “would you rather” is a conversation or party game that poses a dilemma in the form of a question beginning with “would you rather”. But the “fun” part is to pick from two of the most atrocious things you can think of. 

Delta: Would you rather have your luggage filled with human excrement on your arrival or have the plane crash into the side of the mountain?

Me: Hmm. I mean I really hate poop, but…

It’s as if they’ve all gotten together behind our backs and said “Wait a second. You can charge $500 for basic economy and lose their bags and they’ll still book another flight? Why are we offering this for $475?” 

All I know is I wanna speak to the manager. 

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