Stimie, I gotta agree with you here, at least from my own perspective as an actor/director/instructor.
I worked at Starbucks in Modesto for about 1.5 years before transferring to the Starbucks at Rockefeller Center, Subway Level store, where I then worked for a little over a year. And I’ve been working in administration since 2005, which is customer service up the wazoo.
You want to get a crash course in deep-tissue listening? WORK CUSTOMER SERVICE.
You want to get a lesson in how to work with/for jerks with grace and aplomb? WORK CUSTOMER SERVICE.
You want to teach yourself how to make simple human interaction into an art form? WORK CUSTOMER SERVICE.
You want to make someone’s day better (even after someone else has just made yours worse)? WORK CUSTOMER SERVICE.
You want to see how, when ensemble practices are really in place, things go more smoothly, vs. when it’s ‘every one for themselves?’ WORK CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Seriously, I learned a lot of tricks about how to talk to people, how to listen to people, how to respond to what was given to me (AKA: “what does my scene partner want from me?"), how to quickly read the stage picture and figure out where I was most needed — all from working in customer service.
Plus it’s AMAZING character study opportunity! The shapes certain people take—angular, curvilinear, etc—the gestures they use, the tempos they have, the spatial relationship with environmental and personal architecture, the topographies, the repetitions, etc, etc, etc….
So kids, let this be a lesson from your Auntie Mame — if life hands you customer service, welcome not only the paycheck, but the practical application of art!