Customers Suck (CS) used to be a great website to go to and vent for people who suffered from the trials and tribulations of any aspect of the customer service industry. Unfortunately, when a forum is moderated by people who are also victims of mean customers, incompetent coworkers and poor management, it’s only human nature that those people will begin to abuse their own imaginary authority. What is a power tripping forum moderator but a bullied and insecure child with a magnifying glass and a yard full of ants?
You can read more about these wounded birds, but this post is the tale of a man who had his chance at Internet fame destroyed by CS.
His screen name was Gravekeeper. He was a call center representative working the night shift for a company that subcontracted to other companies like mail order shipping, lottery, legal services, and they even ran a tip line for the US government. Needless to say, this Gummibear had some stories to share.
Every Monday, Gravekeeper compiled his tales of woe and shared them with the other members of CS. He did this for almost ten years. His posting format was accessible and many other members used it in their own posts. But what made him so popular on the website is the way he would recant the tales of abuse at the hands of the late night catalog shoppers and the doomsday callers. The stories themselves were not so remarkable, but if I read his post in a public place, I would definitely draw some attention as I busted a gut reading his stuff.
Eventually, Gravekeeper started making private Youtube videos, where he would regale us with his tales in audio form. He never showed us his face or told us his name and you could only go to his videos through the links provided. The beginning of the end came when he started chronicling the adventures of a street performer who set up shop at the train stop somewhere along Gravekeeper’s commute.
These videos were visual as well as audio. Gravekeeper shared with us the city he lived in many times. We knew him to be from Vancouver, Canada. He showed us a video of the rapper in question and you could see quite a bit of detail on the street where he performed. This might not have been a problem in Gravekeeper’s early days, but by this time, he was gaining new followers by the day. One of these followers got over zealous and used the video of the rapper to triangulate Gravekeeper’s location and somehow, Gravekeeper’s employers got wind of his account on CS and the Youtube videos.
Fortunately, with some clever spin control, the admins of CS did the one smart thing they were capable of doing and removed all of the forum threads where Gravekeeper posted a Youtube link. Gravekeeper apparently worked everything out, but because of his careful wording, he didn’t violate any nondisclosure agreements in his posts so he did not lose his job.
What’s sad about all of this, was that at this time, Gravekeeper had purchased the software and equipment needed to create a comedy show. I have no doubt that if certain members of CS had kept their mouths shut, Gravekeeper would have gone on to become one of the better known internet commentators, on par with Nostalgia Critic and Spoony.
Gravekeeper withdrew from CS, but eventually returned when the embers died out. His posting frequency dropped and eventually he changed jobs and is now working the day shift for another call center. As far as I know, he has not pursued his comedy show for fear of further exposure at the hands of his more rabid followers.
This is a cautionary tale of sorrow and woe on the road to fame and fortune. Sometimes you take a gamble and walk away a winner. This time, someone took a gamble, let down his guard, and his star was shot down before it had a chance to rise.