Stop the emotional violence

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Stop the emotional violence

We must rethink the old adage that the customer is always right. To be appreciated, we must appreciate the service provider, or the people that offer the service. The excesses of the paying end has gotten out of order. One apartment resident angered by a security guard who advised him to keep his voice down upon hearing him talk loudly outside the apartment over the phone after midnight rubbed his cigarette butt on the guard’s face. The security guard was only doing his job by trying to keep the noise down late at night, as specified by his job manual.

A regular malicious caller who had harassed 13 phone assistants at insurance call centers over 154 times over the last five years is under police investigation. He has been making rude and insolent comments at the assistants for as long as three hours because his insurance payout was not paid immediately, and some of the attendants had to pay him out of their own pockets because he insisted on getting mobile gift cards.

Verbal and physical abuse against service providers have been a problem for some time now. More than half the females in the so-called emotional labor industry, where the occupation demands constant smiles and kindness and a suppression of negative emotions, have said they suffered depression, and one out of three thought of committing suicide.

A law on emotional labor workers has been implemented to protect the service providers at the financial sector, and local governments have been carrying out separate action plans. The new police chief has pledged a crackdown against abusive practices and formed special forces at local police offices. Public law enforcement is needed to rein in such malicious practices.

What is equally necessary is civilian decorum. Most people do not know they could be punished if they abuse service workers. Most workplaces also demand their employees to indulge customers no matter what. Each company must act firmly against bad customers and report them to authorities. Human dignity must be upheld regardless of the job.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 29, Page 34
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