Conrad (A.K.A. CJ) is about to graduate high school. For his final year, he thought he’d mimic the antics of Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club by finally getting revenge on a hated Spanish teacher. Very well done, indeed! Never one to follow the crowd, CJ always opted to map his own way, do whatever he felt like. So, obviously, he was never into any of the important stuff like voting because “politics was like organized sports to me—to quote Simon and Garfunkel: every way you look at it you lose.” (18) But, alas, high school doesn’t last forever and soon he will embark into adulthood with one thing in mind: save his money and move out of his parents’ house. Easier said than done, right? Especially when you have to start off in a fast-food and retail chain in a lowly state like Minnesota.
“Working never struck me as something that I would be very good at: I didn’t take authority seriously, I didn’t kiss up to people who got paid to talk down to others, and most importantly, I felt like I was mentally overqualified for most jobs available to someone within my age demographic.” (5)
“At 18, I couldn’t say my limited life experience had been incredibly challenging up until this point, but I managed to skate by on what I figured most people did in these situations—by bullshitting.” (21) Ah, yes, the interview, where you get to answer half-baked questions like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” and “What are your greatest weaknesses?” But, hey, we need to get paid, right?
“Remember, Conrad: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!” (21) Eeek. And, of course, you’re going to get that customer fighting to the death over the “wrong” change or a stupid return.
“Is this what it was all about? I thought. Will the next fifty years of my life consist of being tortured by some a-hole with an inferiority complex while pulling down minimum wage? A fifteen percent lunch discount? Death row prisoners have it better!” (22) Yep!
Intellectually witty and candid, The Customer is Always Wrong is a delectably humorous and bungling account of working the stale salt mines of greedy Corporate America. I loved Conrad’s snarky and sarcastic attitude. He learns that working a job is a deadpan skewer between the eyes. It’s a cold, cruel jungle out there in the real world. And he narrates it all in this well-versed, satire comedy!
My rating: 4 stars