Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#1
I’m sure many of us heard about and (unfortunately) experienced entitled customers in both the retail and service industries. They can have huge egos, be hot-headed, entitled, etc. Great inspiration for hatable characters! 

Let me be the first to share my experience that gave me an idea for how one of my villain may behave:

I’m a server at a hotel that caters to the upper middle class, the lounge area I work at is used for tea and tea food, we do allow walk-ins but they are pretty annoying since we have to shift stuff around. Once, there were two middle aged men sitting in the lounge without being greeted to, since this was before tea service it was perfectly acceptable, one of them also asked for a drink and we brought it to him. When I asked if they had a reservation the man that ordered the drink said “No, but I’m a guest here and I’m cute.” he said the last part in a mildly joking way but god… we were clearly much younger than him. 


We managed to convince him to come back later when we had a table open. I was told that the day before when I wasn’t there, he did the same thing…but yeah… I’m thinking of making an antagonist act this way.

Any stories you guys have?

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#2
1. I don't write hateable characters, period. If some of my characters are hated or going to be hated by people, then it's ok, they have right to have their judgement. But I never consciously go and make a character just to make them unlikeable or a hate magnet. Not even antagonists. 

2. I also worked in customer service so I can relate to having awful customers~ the kind of people who just wanted to vent and knew that my job doesn't allow me to talk back to them. So I empathize with you. 

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#3

Sake Wrote: 1. I don't write hateable characters, period. If some of my characters are hated or going to be hated by people, then it's ok, they have right to have their judgement. But I never consciously go and make a character just to make them unlikeable or a hate magnet. Not even antagonists. 

2. I also worked in customer service so I can relate to having awful customers~ the kind of people who just wanted to vent and knew that my job doesn't allow me to talk back to them. So I empathize with you.
Customer Service sucks, especially when they specifically ask for you. Then your fricking coworkers are assholes, and puts you on the phone, or to confront them directly. 🤨

So much for taking one for the team…😑

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#4

Edge Wrote:
Sake Wrote: 1. I don't write hateable characters, period. If some of my characters are hated or going to be hated by people, then it's ok, they have right to have their judgement. But I never consciously go and make a character just to make them unlikeable or a hate magnet. Not even antagonists. 

2. I also worked in customer service so I can relate to having awful customers~ the kind of people who just wanted to vent and knew that my job doesn't allow me to talk back to them. So I empathize with you.
Customer Service sucks, especially when they specifically ask for you. Then your fricking coworkers are assholes, and puts you on the phone, or to confront them directly. 🤨

So much for taking one for the team…😑

in kfc, we had literally a rule "agree with the customer, even if they are wrong"

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#5

Sake Wrote: in kfc, we had literally a rule "agree with the customer, even if they are wrong"
I think that was the general rule wherever I worked. Hell, had threats they would report us. Why? I have no idea…

I was usually asked to converse with customers, since I was the most likely to defuse a situation. One thing is for sure, it took a toll on my mental health. Used to get calls at closing time as well. It was annoying as hell…especially when I had to leave to get ready for class the next day. All of us agreed on one thing, my coworkers, boss and I. That was? I have incredible patience…😐

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#6
I work in IT, so I have my share of horror stories, but yeah there is one woman who I despise. I have a character named Norma Dagget in my story that I have based on someone who works in upper management in my department. I dealt with her once about 11 years ago, and having little patience for that kind of cold, arrogant person I confronted her on how she was treating me. Things kind of came to a head, and I was directed not to have any interaction with her anymore. If any issues arise with her name attached, I just wash my hands of it and redirect it to someone else.

It was kind of assumed that everything would go back to normal after a month or two, and you'd think that after 11 years, memories would fade and I would forget about it...but nope. She has forever solidified herself in my memory as an arch-type, and so she's the inspiration for the most hated person in Immortality.Upload. Different names of course, but that attitude is all her.

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#7
I haven't written very many characters with the specific intent for them to be hated with no depth unless they're a very minor character in something, so I haven't used any of my retail experience for that. I have, however, based a villain in a planned project of mine on a particularly toxic individual I once knew who was generally very entitled and acted very possessive of me, so there's that.

If anyone wants some stories of terrible work experiences for awful character inspiration, however, here's some of mine from back when I worked in retail:
- Man who came into the store to buy a laptop. Demanded I make it cheaper because the one we had in stock was the non-touchscreen model which was "only" $50 cheaper. He wanted to speak to the manager. I tried to explain to him that we can't arbitrarily change the price of an item unless it's on clearance, he responded with "Are you the manager?" I sighed, got the manager, and watched twenty minutes of my poor manager trying to tell this guy the same thing I told him. Guy eventually gave up, tried to buy a TV, demanded to know why we don't carry a particular cable, then his card declined and he stormed off.
- Coworker who was just a hot mess of a person. Gossiped about everyone else, constantly argued with her boyfriend who would make personal calls to her through the department phone line while she was on shift. She didn't want to actually work, complained about everything, started volunteering to work in the garden department where she would actually just slack off all day. I once had to stay late because she lied to me about how long she was going to be on her lunch break and there was no one else to cover the department while she was gone if I left on time. She eventually quit but I don't know how she didn't get fired first for just generally disappearing all the time.
- The mess. Customers leaving ice cream cartons behind the boxes of routers in the electronics department. Leaving rotisseries chickens from the deli on shelves. Someone got a pack of fresh fish, also from the deli, walked all the way to the back of the store in the cleaning department, and just dumped all the fish on the floor. A can of shaving cream exploded on one of the shelves, it wasn't any of our jobs to clean it up so it just stayed like that for months. It was still there when I finally left that place.
- When I worked on one of the shelf-stocking teams, we had a new overnight manager come in. Note that we weren't overnight, he didn't oversee us. But he spent his first night on the job walking up to everyone on the team to make sure we were doing our work and saying "Do you want to keep this job? Show me that you want to keep this job."

I have plenty of incidents to talk about if anyone needs terrible retail customer or employee personalities in their stories.

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#8
everybody writes a little of the life they live
it's a habit any decent author will forgive
as for crappy customers, i think they're safe to use
they're a fine example of real monsters who abuse

diaries and notes are healthy ways to deal with hate
working through some tough emotions feels like shedding weight
doing that in public though might not just go as planned
real hatred and prolonged suffering go hand in hand

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#11
Not yet, but my previous boss was a petty, vain, small-minded man who was either so stupid he couldn't keep simple facts straight or was a compulsive liar about random details, and I was never able to decide which.

I legit considered writing a story about his awfulness leading him to a horrible fate, to try and vent some of my frustration with that job.

Thankfully, I don't work there anymore.

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#12
Specifically for hatable characters? No, but I drew inspiration for incompetent military personnel from my own experiences and those of my managers/co-workers. I've had chill managers and others who are strict as anal beads about some policies I've disagreed with and had to put up with customers who won't have any of it.

The closet case I have is a few months ago I started a chapter where a minor background character unwittingly confronts the most influential person in the region (the deuteragonist in this case) about the state of affairs regarding the deuteragonist's faction. It was directly influenced by an encounter I had with a customer that dumped his whole order on my counter and lambasted me for how he should be reimbursed for driving back with gas money and the wait for his food, and ragging on the way this country was heading because of Biden/Trump and how it affects the average person like me, all in front of other customers.

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#14
Oh absolutely.

I used to work in a fish factory for seven years. I worked with two very toxic people.
However, it was interesting, because that was primarily my judgement of them as a young man (19-26). As I got older, I started to learn how people could turn out like them. Where the frustration, anger, and overall disregard for each other begins to grow.

I use those two people as a foundational lesson when it comes to crafting anatagonists now. Because it helps me to remember that everyone, regardless of who or what they are, got there somehow. I try to connect the dots as much as I can.

Re: Has anyone else ever used their experiences in work as inspiration for hatable characters?

#15
When we want to create low grade evil character that just sucks the energy out of you, I do this. That's the thing about experience, some of it is bad.
COmplex characters, however. is something I build from the ground up.

I got one guy who I worked with, at first he was nice enough. Then I started helping him for a bit, just out of kindness. And then he started to call me early in the morning, like 5 o'clock just to add workers into an app. Or 12 at night. People using the apps don't start working until it's 10 in the morning. ANd our office hour is 9 to 5.
Then after that he started trying to control where I do my work. bear in mind that we are both supervisors for different departments. He doesn't have power over me, he threatened to tell my boss if I don't help him.
Then I say. "Go ahead."
And he did.
Little did he know I've already resigned like 3 weeks ago and that day was three days before I go to my next job.
He only knew that I resigned after he complained to my boss.
Then he raged at me, asking me why I didn't tell him.
Then I said. "Because you ain't paying my salary, bro."

It was nice seeing him rage. he used to have 5 men under him but everyone quit because he's always throwing his jobs to other people.