This has happened to me more than once and I don’t really know how to respond when it does. I am in the middle of checking out or placing an order at a store and their phone rings.
One time it was like this. The employee stops checking me out to answer the phone, handles that customer’s problem or question or even goes back out into the store to see if something is in stock and then back to the phone to talk while I am still waiting. I said “Excuse me .” and they put the customer on hold. Then I asked politely if they could finish checking me out before the phone customer. I had already waited 3 -5 minutes while they took care of the phone customer and the rest of my purchase took 30 seconds. The employee then chastises me saying , “We are suppose to take care of all our customers.” I was flabbergasted and said nothing.
I don’t mind waiting a few seconds if they have to answer the phone and send the call to wear it should go or put the caller on hold but the “line jumping” phone call sends me into orbit. 0207-12
I had a somewhat related experience as this last week while buying fabric. I took a number and waited my turn. After several customers had been served, my number was called and the first of 6 one-yard purchases was cut. This second customer, who must have been served earlier by the employee now cutting my fabric butted in to ask this employee a question about fabric choices. The employee diverted for a few minutes from cutting my fabric to answering said question. But it didn’t stop there. Second customer began an entire discussion about how wonderful this employee was and how her mother must love her and how her own daughter was not close to her….etc, etc.
I’m a fairly tolerant person but as I stood there watching my time being burned up by a customer and an employee enjoying their mutual admiration society, I began to think of how I would move this transaction along. I was keeping a mental clock ticking down to the point where I’d have to say something. Second customer was not “getting” the non-verbal social cues I was giving her – not turning my body to face her, head down looking at my fabric on the counter, not participating in the discussion, directed and unblinking looks to the employee, shifting weight from leg to leg (subtly, not drama queen style with a flair of the hips). I’ll try all kinds of quiet cues like that to send a message discreetly first. If this lovefest had continued, I would have interrupted and said, “Excuse me. You two seem to be having a lively conversation. If we finish with cutting my fabric, you’ll be much freer to continue this discussion helping this woman.”
OP, you were fine in what you said to the employee. The order of serving customers should be the same whether they are standing in line at a counter or till or whether they call. Callers can be told, “May I put you on hold while I finish with a customer?” And then the employee takes the call in the order in which customers need help. Conversely, customers in the store should allow employees to finish business with phone clients they were engaged with first.