How Working At Disney Ruined Customer Service For Me

I have a gluten allergy, okay?

As you might be able to gather, having this presents major problems for my lifestyle and fitting in as a normal human being. When I inform people of my condition they always have the same questions.

"What does it do to you?"

"So what can you eat?"

"Why?" - Always accompanied with a turning in of the eyebrows as if I just kicked a dog.

Ugh. I didn't ask for this people. Yesterday I came into a restaurant which I won't name and saw that the sides to a salad I ordered were bread and a chocolate covered strawberry.

A red alarm started going off in my head.

I'll just ask them for potato chips at the end of the line, I thought. I got there, informed the worker of my condition, and she did something that floored me.

She quite literally couldn't care less.

I asked her if I could possibly substitute the bread for another strawberry. She informed me that she couldn't because of price differences...right before charging me full price for a meal without one of the side items.

Look, I don't care about how full my belly is. I don't care that I didn't get another strawberry. I care about being treated fairly given that I have a condition I can't control.

Which brings me to Disney.

I want to say one thing: Working at Disney absolutely ruined me.

Disney understood a lot of things. They understood that taking a loss on something--like a single chocolate covered strawberry--meant gaining a customer for life.

I mean, I learned this in college, people.

Now I'm here bashing my fingers on a keyboard in a fit of fury because I was treated like a piece of trash. And you can probably already guess this, but I'm never coming back there again.

Good customer service is all about accommodation, patience, and compensating those who do business with you when a mistake occurs. And one blatantly occurred yesterday, and I didn't see any compensating happening.

I can't believe that so many businesses don't understand this. Ever since I stopped working at Disney I realized that most other businesses absolutely suck at customer service.

When a guest dropped a sandwich, we cooked them another. If they wanted crispy fries straight out of the fryer, we dropped a fresh bag. If they wanted us to juggle flaming bowling pins while singing "I Can Show You The World," we would do it. This is the part where I say okay, just kidding about that last one--but I won't.

I remember walking into a special training session at Disney called Traditions. In this session we listened to story after story of guests who had magical experiences in the parks. I realized then that Disney isn't so well loved because of rides, or characters, or the incredible architectural marvels. Disney is an absolute icon because of the people that work there. In two words, it's their customer service.

That's why it was so fantastic to work there, because I got to be a part of that.

It's almost surprising how much businesses don't pay any attention to customer service. And it's been equally surprising to run into a brick wall when expecting businesses to be at least a little bit like Disney--or in other words--a little bit like a real, healthy business should be.

Disney, you ruined me. I truly believe that this is why I'm a freelancer, because I've tried to work at other places and they're just not as organized, efficient, or caring as you. I also think that the lessons I learned while working at Disney is why I've seen success as a freelancer, because I know how to treat my clients well.

And I guess, if I look at it in that light, Disney never ruined me after all.

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