Winnipeg man hits 1.1 M followers on TikTok highlighting struggles in customer service
WINNIPEG -- What started as a pandemic pastime, poking fun at some of the frustrating customers that service workers have to deal with, has brought a Winnipeg man worldwide attention and more than a million followers on TikTok.
Just over a year ago, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tope Babalola reluctantly downloaded the social media app TikTok as a way to keep himself occupied.
Now, 1.1 million followers and nearly 38 million likes later, Babalola said he is honoured – but still trying to wrap his head around it all.
"I guess when I first started, I wasn't expecting anyone to watch it," Babalola told CTV News.
"It is still hard for me to process, like there are people all over the world that are watching (the videos)."
The videos – which feature Babalola acting out interactions between customers and employees – give a comedic and relatable take on the struggles those who have worked in the customer service industry know all too well.
'For every 10 good customers, there was always at least one frustrating one. So there is a lot of just experiences that came with that," Babalola said, adding he got his first job at a grocery store at 16 years old.
"I just thought it might be funny to kind of call back an experience of mine that actually happened while I was working at a grocery store – I guess a lot of people related to it."
Babalola said his TikTok videos really took off in February when he was featured among 18 BIPOC TikTok creators in Elle Magazine. He said he only realized he had been included in the list after one of his TikTok followers tagged him in the post.
Babalola has now created more than 80 skits on TikTok, and he said some of his videos take on some more serious issues.
"I have been the victim of a racist rant at work, and this is when I was in high school," he said.
"I think it is kind of important to bring up those topics because, like, I was just a kid when that happened to me."
He said he hopes some people may be able to take away more than just a laugh from his videos.
"A lot of customers do have this sense of entitlement that, because someone is working for them or is serving them, that they can treat them however they want, but that is not the case. You still should be treating everyone with respect," he said.
"If anything, I would hope that my videos kind of teach the people how not to be."
Babalola said he has some fresh ideas and plans to keep on releasing TikTok videos, though he one day hopes to work on some longer projects. He is currently going to film school for screenwriting and producing.
-with files from CTV National's Jill Macyshon