How To Prevent Snake Overload On Your Customers

You Don't Want To Know What Is Inside This Bucket

You Don’t Want To Know What Is Inside This Bucket

My father works at a lakeside campground up in the hills of Los Angeles County.

As a child, there were a few times in my memory in which he would arrive home from work carrying a ZEP bucket that inside, contained a snake.

It may have been a baby garter snake. A giant black and yellow California king snake. A confused garden snake. Who knows. Either way, he found it at work, managed to pick it up and get it into the bucket that had holes in the lid. Then he thought, “I’ll bring this home for my daughters!” because that’s what every father thinks is a good idea.

(Considering my first pet at age 2 was a hairy tarantula from my mother, this does not surprise me.)

At this point in my life, age 6 or 7, I was not yet afraid of snakes. My mother had a fascination with reptiles and when my father brought them home, she always welcomed them in. If she could have set another plate at the dinner table for it, she probably would have done so. That is how much she welcomed them. And, she managed to always have an empty fish tank handy for the snake.

The snake would be horrified and usually strike at the glass of the tank, very unhappy about it’s new home. We’d all sit around the tank, in awe of the legless creature as my mom wrote “Live Mice” on the grocery list.

Eventually, my father moved out after the divorce, but the snakes stayed. And, multiplied.

Because, with my dad gone, there was much more room for reptiles. And, my mother somehow found other people who also brought snakes home in buckets but no longer wanted them in their homes.

Our home became a sort of snake motel, always with a vacancy sign on the door.

However, flimsy fish tanks with plastic lids don’t make for the best snake room.

One day, I arrived home from school and went into the walk-in pantry for a snack. I opened the door, flipped the light switch on and one of the snake motel residents awaited me, as if desiring a snack as well. The giant snake was curled up and ready to strike.

This wasn’t so bad, considering the time I was in bed and heard rustling coming from underneath as I tried to fall asleep. Yup, it was a snake.

Or, perhaps the one day, my sister and I were walking upstairs to our play room and were prevented from playing with Barbies due to a snake hanging out in front of the door. (I sort of thank this snake…its like it knew what effect playing with Barbies would have on my self esteem down the road).

Or, the time one of the larger snakes escaped in the house and we never found it.

You can also add this to the list: opening the freezer to grab an ice cream sandwich and instead, grabbing a frozen mouse. Because snakes like frozen food too!

Needless to say, my fear of snakes grew with each experience. Not that it was their fault, though.

Sometimes, we think we know what’s best for our customers. And we overload them with it.

We start small with an idea from a bucket that might seem exciting. We may not consider the long term effect it will have on our business. We continue to bring in more and more until, Holy Snakes! It has taken over and now people are screaming and running away in terror!

How do you prevent SNAKE OVERLOAD on your customers? 

Think of a feature that you are nonstop pressing on your customers. Maybe you think this is the darn best feature that you offer and you want to market the crud out of it because you know that everyone will benefit from it. You jumped into the snake pit to retrieve it and you want to share it with the world!

Hold on there, Steve Irwin. Step back and ask yourself, “Is this really a good idea?”

What would your customer think today, 1 month from now or 5 years from now, when they are still working with it?

Some things are just one time deals–one snake is better than 50 to share your home with. The San Diego Zoo can do it, but a mother of two with a half acre lot, an emu, chickens, horses, a donkey, rabbits, turtles, cats, dogs and a cow? Perhaps not the best idea.

It doesn’t mean you failed. It means you were wise and thought about the situation long term. Your customers can trust you–you have their best interest in mind. If they want more, they’ll ask. And, you’ll know what to do next.

My sister and I would have never even asked for one snake if someone posed the question to us, but no one ever did because we were little kids.

That said, with all this snake talk, I am freaking out and now must go search every nook and cranny of my apartment to make sure I didn’t just jinx myself and will find a snake in my closet.




Jenny Dempsey is currently the the Customer Experience Manager for She's the co-founder and regular contributor over at She's also a self-care coach for customer service agents and leaders at She is the mother to a toothless rescue cat named Chompers. Avocados and veggie tacos are the way to her heart. Hanson fan for life.


  • Jenny, that is an amazing story. I can’t say that I’m as fond of snakes as you are. If I opened that pantry and saw a snake staring at me, well, I can write what would probably happen (HA!)

    That said, loved the story as it captured my attention. And it led into a great point.

    Thanks for sharing and please keep the good stuff coming!

    • Jenny Dempsey

      HA! Oh yes, meeting a snake in a pantry isn’t very fun! Thanks so much for reading my crazy story and I’m just honored that it captured your attention. I have many stories to tell and will do my best to keep them coming! 😀

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