- Jun 2004 Archive
I worked for two years in a small toy store in a mall.
During that time, I witnessed a lot of tacky behavior by customers. Here
are some high - low? - lights:
- An amazing number of people seemed to forget that a toy
store is still a place of business. Many parents felt that their kids
should be allowed to climb all over the store, pull countless toys off the
shelves and spread them all over the floor, etc. One little boy tried to
climb on a stack of mats in the corner (with a posted ‘no climbing’ sign).
I politely asked his mother if she could please not have him climb on the mats,
as he might fall and injure himself. She yelled at me that we shouldn’t
have them stacked if he couldn’t climb on them, then turned to him and said
that “the lady” said he couldn’t climb on them anymore, shooting death
glares at me the entire time. If the boy HAD fallen, I imagine she would
have yelled at me for not stopping him!
- Another time, two boys had taken our entire supply of
plastic dinosaurs off the shelf and had them blocking an aisle while they played
with two of them. I knew my boss would yell at me if he saw the mess, so I
started picking up the dinosaurs they weren’t playing with. They
apparently told their mother that I wasn’t “letting” them play, because
she screamed at me about how I had no right to work in a toy store. I
actually went into the back room and cried, she had been so rude and mean.
- Parents also seemed to feel that ‘toy store’ = ‘day
care’, and would leave their kids to run loose in the store while they shopped
elsewhere in the mall. This, despite posted signs asking parents to not
leave their children unattended, and the presence of an actual day care center
on the other end of the mall. Security had to be called at least once.
These were fairly young kids, too – weren’t their parents worried about them
wandering off, or being kidnapped?
- On at least two occasions, kids peed in the middle of the
store, leaving a lovely puddle on our carpet. Both times, their mothers
pulled them out of the store without a word to any of the employees. Luckily,
we witnessed it happening both times and were able to clean it up before it
- The store was owned by a Korean couple. The husband
had a very thick accent, as well as a tendency to be a bit abrasive. One
night, it was past closing time and a man was still wandering in the back of the
store. The husband told the man the store was closed and he had to leave.
Unfortunately, it didn’t come out as politely as it could have. The man
marched to the front of the store, where I was, and said to his wife, “He says
we have to leave.” “Who?” she asked. “That (derogatory term
for Chinese people) in the back,” he replied. I was stunned, and grossly
offended on my boss’ behalf. In my mind, I was paraphrasing Margaret
Cho: “Hey, he’s Korean, not Chinese. If you’re going to insult him,
get it right!” But I felt it best to keep my mouth shut.
- We had a posted 30-day return policy. One man came in
wanting to return a Giga Pet (an electronic pet game on a key chain) that he’d
purchased a year earlier! He claimed it didn’t work. He wasn’t
even satisfied when we pointed out the reason it didn’t work – he’d never
removed the white tag that was placed inside the toy to keep the battery from
running out prior to the toy’s sale. He became quite belligerent,
yelling about how incompetent we were. I think my boss gave him an
exchange just to calm him down; those items were on clearance at that point
- The younger generation was not exempt from rudeness and tackiness.
We sold rolls of stickers that sat in front of one of the registers. You
tear a perforated sticker sheet off the roll, and it costs 99 cents or something
like that. One girl of about 7 was standing at the sticker rolls, sighing
about how much she’d love to have one, but had no money. It was obvious
she was angling for a freebie. I offered her my sympathies, but didn’t
take the bait. Then she turned and said indignantly, “So, are you going
to give me one for free or not?” I picked my jaw up off the counter and
politely explained that my boss wouldn’t like it very much if I did. She
left the store in a huff.
Don’t even get me started on the fights over new shipments
of Beanie Babies …
My fiancé owns a gas station/garage in a great neighborhood
near downtown shops and restaurants. Customers often come in for oil changes or
repairs and leave their cars to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping. I work
there on Saturdays.
On a particularly busy Saturday, a well-dressed, soft-spoken
gentleman came in and asked if we could sneak him in for an oil change. I said
we'd be able to get it done, but it might be a few hours, could he wait? He said
that was fine, filled out our form, but didn't leave a phone number. I asked if
he'd like to leave his cell phone number in case we had any questions. He said
no, just the oil change would be fine. I asked for the keys, he said they were
in the car, and then he took off downtown.
About 20 minutes later the mechanic was ready to work on his
car, but he couldn't find the key. He and I scoured the vehicle, looking under
rugs, in compartments, around the car in the lot in case it fell out, nothing.
And I didn't have a phone number, so I couldn't call the guy. He had lots of
other cars in line, so we gave up.
The car owner came back about an hour after the mechanic left
for the day, and I politely explained what happened, I was VERY apologetic. He
berated me for being an idiot, told me they were right there in the ignition,
how stupid could I possibly be? This guy was loud, and other customers in the
store were starting to get agitated. Then the guy put his hands angrily in his
pocket.... where he suddenly discovered his keys that had been there all the
time. He said something like, "Well, see if I ever bring my car here
again!" and stormed out. It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for.
I had a friend who worked at the checkout counter of a grocery
store in high school, around the time that they started making fat free
mayonnaise. The store had a big display of the product in question, "Kraft
One night when my friend was working, a woman came up to her
register with an entire cart full of mayonnaise...basically, the entire display
shelf. My friend thought this was a little odd, but rang it all up anyways. When
she gave the woman the total, the woman just stared at her and said, "I'm
not paying that! These are FREE! It says so right on the bottle!" My friend
tried to explain that the label on the product referred to the fact that the
product was FAT free, not that it was being given away at no charge, but the
woman wasn't having any of it. Finally, a manager had to be called over to
handle the customer, who was practically foaming at the mouth. She finally left,
without any mayonnaise. All of which begs the question, even if you're dumb
enough to think that Kraft has created a product that they are just going to
give away free all the time, and even if you missed all the publicity about what
this product was, and even if you missed the price display on the shelf you took
all the bottles from, what in the world is any one human being going to do with
fifty jars of mayonnaise???
Here's a few stories for your customer section.
I worked as a front counter server at a Chinese fast food
restaurant at the local mall. I worked at this job for almost two years to pay
for college, and I sure met some strange people! Some people are just downright
rude - I wonder why it is that if you're a fast food worker, people seem to
think that they no longer have to treat you as a human being. Many of these
people would never treat a waitress in the horrible way that they treat a fast
food worker. Don't really see how this is fair, as having to serve up sometimes
as many as six meals a minutes is very stressful, and a lot of hard work. Even
if I'm just doing my job, I think I deserve to be treated like a human being
while I do it. Minimum wage is definitely not enough compensation for being
treated like dirt. Also, people take out their anger about store policies on us
poor little peons. Like we have any say over what the prices are, how big
portions are, or what selections go into which combo? Sorry, but those decisions
are made by some big suits in an office a thousand miles away in New York or
something, not buy us food servers. If I say that you can't make a substitution,
I'm not doing it for kicks - I'd get fired if I did it!
Anyway, the woman in the first story was more clueless than
rude, but I'll submit it anyway. She was a mall employee, which meant she got a
10% discount on the before-tax price of her meal. She was usually nice and
polite. One evening, she came in an ordered a meal. I served it to her, rang up
the sale, gave the discount, end of transaction. She was actually one of the few
pleasant customers, she smiled and thanked me and left to go eat her dinner.
About fifteen minutes later, she comes back, wanting a refund. Is anything
wrong, I ask. No, she says, nothing is wrong. She wants a refund because she
changed her mind, and decided she doesn't really want to eat Chinese food for
dinner tonight after all. Perplexed, I ask again if the food is okay. The food
is delicious, comes the reply, I just changed my mind about wanting to eat it.
Can I please get a refund?
Huh? What was I supposed to do? Refunds are granted, provided
there is something wrong with the food. Customer satisfaction is important to
us. But are you really required to grant a refund for a product that the
customer herself freely admitted is not only just okay, but delicious? Keep in
mind that I had been working here for over 1 1/2 years; never had I been asked
to give a refund for perfect food.
Not knowing what else to do, I summoned my supervisor, who
gave the woman a refund. Wasn't really much else we could do, after all, 'the
customer is always right'!
Another incident that occurred later was with three teenaged
girls. While they were eating their meals, one of the girls got a nosebleed. The
girl's friends quickly handed over their napkins and the problem was dealt with.
They then came back to the counter and demanded a refund. Again, not because
anything was wrong with the food, but because the blood had grossed them out,
and they didn't feel like eating anymore. Again, my manager gave them a refund,
not wanting to make an issue over fifteen dollars. Still, I think that this was
really an abuse of refund policy, as there was nothing wrong with the food, and
it wasn't like we had caused the nosebleed.
Another, very bizarre incident occurred one Wednesday night
while I was working the front counter alone. A man in his late twenties came up
and ordered dinner. He was very talkative, very friendly. Since it was a slow
night (the food court was pretty much deserted and there were no other customers
waiting) and I'm quite personable, we chit-chatted for a few minutes while I
prepared his meal. Just as he was turning to leave, he stopped and asked if
there was anyplace in the mall that he could get his hair cut at. Not unusual,
I'm asked for mall information all the time. I informed him of the three salons
and their various directions, and also indicated which one I always went to. He
thanked me, saying, "I need to get a new hairdresser, as my old one committed
suicide in his salon six months ago." My jaw dropped! What on earth are you
supposed to say to something like that? Talk about waaaaay to much information!
I finally managed to stammer something like, "Gee, that's too bad." To
which he replies, "Yeah, he was a really good hairdresser." Sure, the
real loss is to you in having to find a new stylist, not to the poor guy who
took his own life, and the family and friends he left behind! That had to be the
most bizarre incident I'd ever encountered in my whole two years of working
there. I could go on for pages about the weird people I had to deal with, but
I'll cut it off here.
For three summers in a row between college semesters, I
worked at the local Wal-Mart in my parents' hometown. While my first
summer (as a sales floor associate) was fairly uneventful, there was still the
occasional bad customer. It only got worse for the second and third
summers, when I was upgraded to the position of cashier.
1) The one really bad customer from that first summer should
have known better, in my opinion. She was an older woman, probably in her
mid-40's (or late 30's), and was browsing the toy aisle near the model Harley
Davidsons. I had just finished straightening that section up (right next
to her, I might add), and as soon as I turned the corner she was digging through
those toys. Taking them out of the stacks, pawing through the available
models, setting the ones she didn't want aside on other shelves between other
merchandise...this woman had no sense of order. When she was finished
looking through them, she simply turned and walked away, leaving a veritable
train wreck in her wake.
2) As a cashier, things only got worse, as almost every
customer in the store ends up at the registers. Before we got upgraded
counters at the express lane, we had a moving belt just like the regular lanes,
although there was a very visible sign next to the lane number explaining that
it was 20 items or less. Many customers demonstrated their lack of
observation skills by bringing a full shopping cart (or more) through the line,
and throwing a fit when I tried to explain that the lane wasn't supposed to take
that many items. It got easier when they upgraded to the standard short
counters you find in most Wal-Marts now, as a full cart load would no longer
fit. It wasn't much better with the various customers who would try to
pass off a fake ID as real, or purchase something with expired coupons or credit
cards and then throw fits over it. One woman refused to accept that we did
not take %-off coupons, despite the very large signs stating the fact at every
3) One time, the moving belt on the express lane had broken,
and I was politely asking any customers who came through to please move their
items up to the register when it was their turn. Most understood,
especially when I explained the situation, and graciously moved their items.
Not this one older gentleman, though. He set his items (including a
one-gallon jug of milk) at the far end of the belt. When it was his turn,
he marched over to the register with his checkbook in his hand, leaving his
items at the other end of the belt. I explained to him that the belt was
broken and asked him to please move his items closer so I could reach them.
He glared at me, then stomped over, *shoved* the items down the belt (sending a
few including the milk jug rolling across the scanner), and stomped back to the
register. I began scanning things, but when one item came up the wrong
price, he threw a further fit. I explained that I could fix it for him if
he would just wait a second, but he said, "I've had enough of this
****" and stormed out of the store without his merchandise.
4) At one point we had a bit of a brouhaha in the store over a
police sting that had caught one cashier failing to card a customer for
alcohol. So, to save our rears should another sting occur, store
management explained that we had to card *everyone*, not just anyone who looked
too young. This included anyone very obviously a senior citizen
(apparently the undercover cop in the sting looked at *least* 40, but the
cashier was still fined). Most of the senior citizens who came through the
store were fine with the new regulation to card everyone, and took it as a sort
of compliment. One gentleman decided that I was being insulting and
stormed out of the store (what is it with these older men storming out of the
store when they don't get their way?).
5) Along with the (temporary) policy of carding everyone,
it was policy to card every member of a young-looking group if one was
purchasing alcohol or tobacco. This was to prevent a group of minors with
one of-age friend getting their hands on alcohol by having the of-age friend
purchase it. Easily bypassed, I know, but we did what we could.
Well, a group of teenage-looking girls came through my line (about five girls in
all), three of whom had individual purchases to make. The first in the
group was buying at least three cases of beer, so I carded her. She's 22,
fine. I then card the rest of the girls with her (because it was obvious
they were a group). The 22-year-old protests, saying that she's the one
buying it, not her friends. I explain the policy, and card the friends
anyway. The other four girls ranged in age from 17-20. I explained
to the 22-year-old that I had to refuse the sale due to policy. She threw
a fit, but didn't purchase the beer.
6) I was not personally witness to this next one, but
heard about it from a fellow cashier who had been part of the mess. A
local mayor is very fond of walking around barefoot wherever he goes, even in
public. From the way he treated my coworkers and managers, it would seem
that most other establishments waive the "no shirt, no shoes" rule for
him. Not us. As soon as he set foot in the store, the door-greeter
(a very nice, polite woman) informed him that he would need to put on shoes to
shop in our store. He completely ignored her. She got one of the
CSMs (customer service manager, the red-vests) to tell him the same thing, and
he ignored the CSM. The fellow cashier also told him, and was summarily
ignored. Store security and the manager were called, and ignored.
Then the store manager called the police, and the mayor was escorted out.
7) Nor was I witness to the customer who came in complaining
about his TV being broken, and demanding a replacement. Never mind the
fact that his TV was two years old (return policy is 90 days maximum), or that
he was the one who had broken it by dropping it, or that it was a brand we never
carry, or that it was purchased at a completely different store. He threw
a fit and would not leave the Customer Service area until the store manager gave
him a new TV just to shut him up. I heard about that one from one of the
Customer Service cashiers involved.
8) One of my "favorites" (I use the term loosely)
was a regular in the store, and well-known by all the CSMs and the cashiers who
had been there longer. My first experience with her was while I was still
fairly "new" (I had just gotten back on the job at the beginning of my
final summer there). Essentially, I was a fresh face to her. This is
important to what she does that makes her so well-known. She likes to pick
out a cashier who has never encountered her before, go through their line with a
bunch of items with several clearance stickers on them, and a bunch more items
that she claims to have comparison ads for to get the cheaper price from another
store (allowed at Wal-Mart as most people will know). However, she did
*not* have these comparison ads with her, and they were for obscure stores for
which we did not have the circular (generally our registers have the circular
ads of other stores so we can verify competitive pricing). She invariably
would claim that she had spoken to "CSM so-and-so," usually the head
CSM, and that it was all right "so long as she brought the ads with her
next time." When she came through my line, I called the CSM anyway
due to suspicious prices on the various clearance tags on a package of socks
(one of the clearance stickers was very loosely stuck on the item--as though it
had been peeled off of another item--and was also for more than one of the
regular price stickers). The woman argued with the CSM, who took her back
to that section of the store to verify the price. When they came back, the
customer was visibly annoyed and the CSM informed me to ring the socks up for
the highest price on the package. The CSM then stood at the register to
personally verify or veto each comparison price, and the customer backed down on
most of them.
The next time I saw her, she was going through a brand-new
cashier's line right next to my register. The cashier had been told to ask
me if she had any problems, which she did with this customer because the cashier
didn't know how to put in comparison prices. I admit an evil smirk crossed
my face when I saw this familiar customer, and I went over to help the fellow
cashier since I had no customers of my own (it was a slow hour). The
customer visibly recognized me, but tried to pull the "CSM said it was okay
if I brought the ads next time" line again. I reminded her that
that's what she said last time, and told her that we would have to call a CSM if
she wanted the cheaper prices without the ad. She backed down again.
I don't recall seeing her there since, though it wouldn't surprise me if mention
of her was included in later cashier training sessions.
I work in a furniture retail store, as an office clerk,
responsible for day-to-day transactions, taking cash, and inputting the invoices
into the computer.
Now, I had put in a sale for about $2000 dollars, not counting
the financing fee and delivery fee. To Finance, they had to fill out a form,
which I take, input in a little computer, and send off to the company. The first
time came back declined. So the man asked his father to be his co-applicant, and
after faxing that away, we received it, declined, again. Of course, I was the
bearer of bad news both times. During the faxing of the 2nd time, two women ( I
assume the mother and the wife) came in to join A (father) and B (son). So I
then had to tell the group that it declined. Well, A cannot seem to understand
why it would. He's bought 4 houses, he paid for the one he lives in now, and he
is good with money. Mom, God bless her soul, chimes in that maybe it's because
they don't have a credit card. Keep in mind, I'm hemming and hawing at an answer
and apology the best and most often I can. I nod, agreeing, as it is quite true
that it makes a difference. As A finally stops brow-beating me, and they all get
up to go, B chirps up that they will just come back with the money. You mean to
tell me they had enough all along???
But, it gets better. Before they leave, A comes back, telling
me to destroy the application that I have to keep so that our finance company
has a signed copy that they allowed the use of the personal information. After
saying no and standing my firm, but small ground, the salesperson asks A if we
can keep the application if we just black out some of the info. What, he thinks
I'm going to take his No Credit, and run it into... what?
Working as a cashier in one of my tiny town's convenience
stores, I've had my share of rude, creepy, and even stalker-ish behavior. But
nothing annoyed people like being denied their drug of choice. I personally
think drinking and smoking ages are stupid, but I was bound to follow the
law--and my coworkers regaled me with true horror stories about area workers who
had unthinkingly sold cigarettes or booze to minors in "sting"
operations, gaining heavy fines and, in one case, jail time.
Our store policy--heck, state policy--was that we should card
anyone who appeared to be less than 26. My very first evening, I was working
with an experienced worker alongside me to show me what to do. I had only just
started, knew no "regular customers", and so had no idea who in our
town was what age. I was paranoid and carded *everyone*, and some people were
nonplussed, but they all produced ID and I gave them their tobacco fix. Then one
woman, whom I had never seen before, came into the store and asked for
"All right ma'am, may I see your ID?"
There was a pause. "You're joking, right?" she
"I'm sorry ma'am, I don't know who you are and I have to
"Well, I don't HAVE my ID with me."
I was mortified, and there was a line forming behind her, but
I insisted I could not sell her cigarettes.
She threw a scene. "This is ridiculous! I have two kids!
I'm going over to the X-Mart, they know me there!" And she stormed out of
the store. My coworker told me I had done the right thing, and I brushed it off.
A few hours later, though, this woman reappeared, holding her
ID straight out in front of her like it was a giant crucifix and I was a
vampire. I prepared for a small scene, but I thought I would finally just sell
her cigarettes, and she would go away.
"I just want you to know," she announced loudly to
the entire store, "that this is my ID. And neither I, nor my husband, nor
my husband's *trucking company* WILL EVER SHOP HERE AGAIN!"
I wanted to fall through the floor. But when I found out that
she, AND her husband, AND her husband's trucking company were on the list of
people we couldn't take checks from, I didn't feel so bad.
When I was in college in the mid 1990's, I was lucky enough to
land a job working the CS desk at a major American luxury car manufacturer. I
worked the 24-hour Roadside Assistance line on the midnight shift. I got lots of
truly bizarre calls, particularly as 2 a.m. rolled across the country and the
One night, I received a call from a women whom the computer
identified was calling from suburban Chicago. She was slurring and clearly very
Me: "Good Morning, X Customer Service, how may I be of
Lady: "What have you done to my effing car!?"
Me: "I'm sorry ma'am, what seems to be the
Lady: "The key doesn't work in the effing lock and I
won't shtand for it. I need to go home!"
Me: "May I have the vehicle identification?"
Lady: "The what?! It's MY car"
Me: "May I have your name?"
Lady: "What the eff for?!"
Me: "Ma'am, in order to send a locksmith I need your
personal information, the car's VIN and your selling dealer. What make and model
of vehicle do you own?"
Lady: "What? I own a Volkshwagen Shetta"
Me: "Ma'am, this is "X" Roadside Assistance.
Have you tried Volkswagen Customer Assistance?"
Lady: "What are you TALKING about. My car is back home in
Me: "Ma'am is the car you are calling about an
"X"? If it is, I can call a dealer near you in Chicago and have them
Lady: "You really are out of your effing MIND. I'm in
GRAND RAPIDS (Michigan)!"
Me: "Ma'am, the computer indicates you're calling from
Lady: "WHAT the F-...wait a minute. Wait a goddamn
Me: "Schaumberg, ILLINOIS."
Lady: "Oh goddamn, goddamn, where's Ricky?"
Me: "Ma'am, I don't know who you are talking
Lady: "What do I do now?"
Me: "Could you possibly be trying the wrong vehicle? Is
there another car in the vicinity that could be your car? What color is your
It was only later that I'd realized what a moron I'd been
helping the drunk fool get out on the road!
My customers from hell ordered two children's meals from our
fast food restaurant. On the menu, these meals are one price, but on the
register the clerk has to ring the meal and the drink separately. Somehow,
despite the correct total (menu price times two,) the customers were convinced I
was trying to cheat them. I patiently explained - at least four times - that the
meal was $x.oo and the drink was $o.xx which equaled the price stated on the
menu, $x.xx. No good. I was repeatedly called a thief and an idiot. To avoid
losing my temper, I called over my direct supervisor. She explained in almost
the same words how the children's meals were rung up. After two explanations
from her, the store manager came to see why I was taking so long to serve one
customer. (We were supposed to get the order to the customer in less than 2
minutes.) The store manager uses the same explanation that the couple has
already heard six times from two different people. The couple says, "Oh!
Well why didn't she say so?" (Pointing at me, of course.) Gggrrrrrrr!! No
apologies for their accusations and insults.
I spent several years working for a major fast food chain when
I was in high school. Everyone visits this chain, so, working there, you get to
meet every kind of person, including the kinds you would rather not meet. I
worked the drive-through window during the early shift during the summer. There
are a lot of regular customers, especially so in the mornings, and I got used to
seeing people who wanted their morning coffee at least a couple of times a week.
There was one elderly gentleman who would either get his breakfast and lounge in
the outdoor area for a few hours or just get coffee in the drive-through.
Now, I always like the regulars, and who doesn't like little
old men? So I was surprised one day to hear my manager, upon hearing the old man
order his regular coffee, say, "Is that Mr. Winky? I've never seen him, let
me be the one to hand his food out." "Mr. Winky?" I said,
"Who's Mr. Winky?"
I soon had an explanation, and believe me, I wished that I had
remained ignorant. It seems that Mr. Winky, our elderly gentleman, was in the
habit of driving around while exposing himself to the open air. Unless you
leaned far out the window to glance down into his car and into his lap, you
might never realize that this kindly old man was instead a dirty old man.
Needless to say, I avoided this certain customer from then on, even if my
manager did have a sick need to confirm what she had been told about him.
Experiences like that made the everyday rudeness of customers
much easier to handle. I'll forgive you for not saying please and thank you or
for treating me like I must be a moron since I was working in fast food as long
as you're wearing securely fastened pants!!!
I used to work for an energy company in the UK, in the
customer accounts department for small businesses. I received a lot of abuse on
and off, usually because there were a LOT of huge errors made on a regular
basis. I understood when customers were rightly put out.
But only one man really upset me. His meter wasn't working so
I organized to have it replaced. Unfortunately the contractors upon whom the
department was dependent were less than reliable, and so a simple problem that
should have been resolved in a week ended up taking three months. Throughout
these three months I was the first point of contact for this customer. I called
him with regular updates, and was in constant contact with the contractors who
continually let me down, easy for them as they didn't have to speak to an
increasingly irate customer (understandably irate at this point, as we were not
providing an efficient service).
During all this time I had agreed to give him monetary
compensation for his trouble (which basically was nothing more than having to
wait for their bill while a new meter was installed). I also agreed to HALVE his
bill for this period, seeing as he had been without a meter and had told me that
in that time his small business had undertaken "energy-saving"
schemes, and he was worried that he would be charged an estimate based on his
old energy consumption.
Anyway, the contractors finally did their job and a new meter
was installed and what's more a week later the meter was read so I even had an
accurate amount to charge him for at least the last week of this whole period. I
sent out the amended bills, feeling pleased that it was finally over and
thinking that the customer would be very happy to have received such a huge
discount, as contrary to what he had told me, the latest meter reads indicated
that they had in fact INCREASED their energy consumption.
I got a phone call from this guy probably as soon as he opened
the damned bill. I was naive enough to think he was going to thank me for all my
hard work. So I was incredibly shocked when he proceeded to scream at me about
how I had "shifted the goal posts" and been dishonest with him because
I had billed him to actual meter reads for the last week, instead of extending
the half price rate to this period. I tried to explain that he was receiving a
massive discount, as well as compensation and that this was all in keeping with
the arrangements we had made a couple of weeks before, and as such it shouldn't
be necessary for me to redo all my work and give him a further discount. He
continued to abuse me, and in the end I had to excuse myself and say I would get
back to him because I had burst into tears. No customer EVER made me cry before.
The worst thing was that when I told my boss (renown for doing
anything to avoid confrontation) he just told me I was right but it would be
easier just to do what the customer wanted. I was outraged, and though I had
never spoken a rude word to him before I told him if he wanted it changed I
would do the work but he could call the customer himself and tell him that
because as far as I was concerned I had done more than the right thing and
wasn't going to go simpering back to this obnoxious idiot. He let me calm down
and then insisted I make the call. Which I did because I needed my job. I was
not only hurt by this man's insensitivity towards all the work I had done for
him, but humiliated by my supervisor's lack of support for me.
I'm not sure that this is bad enough to go on your site, but I
think that if someone puts a lot of work and effort into doing something for
you, even if it is their job, then it is extremely rude to throw it back in
their face and accuse them of dishonesty.
I used to work as an insurance agent for a small agency in a
small town in Kansas. As we were on the border of Oklahoma, we were also
licensed to write insurance policies for that state.
One day I received a phone call from someone who was in
Oklahoma who had just purchased a vehicle and he wanted to get insurance on it
to drive it back to his home state, I think it was Washington. I asked where his
permanent address was, which, of course, was Washington. I informed him that I
was not licensed for that state and could only write a policy in Kansas and
He spent the next ten minutes screaming at me that I WAS going
to write him a policy or he would have my job. I calmly re-explained to him that
I was only licensed in Kansas and Oklahoma, and that if he wanted insurance on
this new vehicle he would have to call his insurance agent back in Washington to
bind coverage on it and that the agent could fax a copy of the binder and
temporary insurance cards to our office where he could pick them up. That wasn't
good enough for him, he wanted me to do it. After further conversation it came
out HE DIDN'T HAVE INSURANCE AT ALL! He finally hung up on me screaming that he
was going to contact the tabloid show "Current Affair" and expose our
agency for discrimination and fraud. (What was I discriminating against, out of
Anyway we had a good laugh over that bozo and "Current
Affair" never did contact us. Darn!!
I work retail part-time, just for a little extra money to help
defray the costs of my wedding. I pity each and every decent human being
that has to work with the "unwashed masses" (better known as the
general public) every single day.
First of all, I work in a hardware store. This means
that I get a lot of dirty men coming in smelling of concrete, gasoline, mud, and
oil. This isn't a problem - it's honest dirt from honest work. I do
have a problem with people - especially ones that don't look like they just came
from the garage or construction site - smelling like they haven't bathed in a
month. Dirt is one thing; BO enough to kill a buzzard is just evil.
I should point out that I am a young woman working in said
hardware store. This means that I get the other kind of dirty men coming
in, usually later at night, giving me a hard time. I'm used to working off
shifts, and did a lot of factory work to pay for college, so I'm used to being
the lone chic in a crowd of good old boys. I can take it, take a joke, and
dish it right back... with coworkers that know me and even then there are
limits. What I don't like is customers coming in and assuming that I'm
cheap, easy, stupid, and/or desperate just because I'm there. It's a
hardware store, not a street corner.
Then you get the men in business suits chatting their way
along on their cell phones while asking me questions. Then they get mad at
me for not being able to tell when they're talking to me or the person on the
These are just petty annoyances, however. I can live
with them. What I do NOT want to live with are the outright nasty people
who really deserve to burn here.
That would be YOU, the "gentleman" who called me up
at my branch to literally scream at me for something bad someone at another
store across town did. Admittedly, that other person was in the wrong.
Go, call corporate on him. But do NOT call each and every branch of the
store to scream at them as well.
That would also be guy that came in to pay for a tank of
propane using a credit card. I flipped it over to see if it's signed, just
like I always do. So I flip it back to look at the name on the front while
asking him for his ID. The name on the front is "Jennifer
Doe".... definitely not the guy in front of me, but it could be his wife's
card. I've seen it before and, though maybe not strictly kosher, I'll take
the card if the last name matches. His ID says "John Buck"...
not the same last name. I tell him quite politely that I cannot take the
card and does he have another form of payment? He hollers at me, tells me
it's his wife's card but that they just got married, and that we took it that
weekend so what was the problem today. I told him that I wasn't here over
the weekend so I couldn't have known that, but policy was not to take the card.
I called my Manager. She said the exact same
thing, but asked him WHO took his card. He said it didn't matter.
She said that it did matter because then she could make sure everyone was doing
things correctly and consistently, and that we couldn't take the card because,
without the cardholder here, we couldn't be sure it wasn't stolen. He did
NOT like that, even though she kept a very courteous tone of voice, and paid me
in cash. Well, since I was at the customer service desk, answering the
phone was my #1 priority. I'd answered a call in the meantime and was
ringing out the man. When we take large bills ($50 or $100) we have to
either hold them up to see the security strip or use the pen; I generally just
hold them up because it takes less time. He saw me do it with a previous
customer. Well, since I'm talking to a customer on the phone while ringing
out this guy, and glanced at the bill in my hand again to see what it was ($20)
by holding it up. He very loudly states, "You did NOT just check
that!" and proceeds to demand his money back because he's going elsewhere.
Whatever. We're busy and he's been hollering and swearing at me so I'm NOT
sorry to see him go. But he doesn't go. He goes up to the one
employee of obviously the same ethnic background (also a supervisor) and starts
in on the "us against them" argument. I don't see how that goes
because I'm busy, but that supervisor comes up later to me absolutely furious
that this guy would think he'd take his side just because of race, when the
entire reason he was standing there was to keep an eye on him to make sure I was
I was working a second job on weekends as a cashier in a small
local store... a far cry from my day job in an office. One quiet Sunday, I
was alone in the store, when the door burst open and a woman rushed in yelling
"What's the score?" (I should mention this is a town with an NFL
team). Not being a football fan, I was at first confused by her request,
so I politely asked "pardon me?". This woman was INSANE.
"The SCORE! What's the SCORE?!?" I, again politely,
informed her that I hadn't been listening to the game and didn't know the score.
She went ballistic. How can I not have the game on - why wasn't I
listening to the game? etc. I explained that I wasn't much of a
sports fan and she grew even more livid. "How dare you not have the
game on! What if a customer wants to know the score?" (at this point,
it was on the tip of my tongue to remind her that, as she hadn't bought a darn
thing, she could hardly be considered a "customer"). I said that
no one had ever asked me for the score before and most people don't shop in the
middle of a game if they're really into it, so it's never been an issue.
Cut to next day. I'd stopped in on my way home from work to
say hello to one of the other second-job cashiers, who told me that I was to
call the store owner immediately, someone had called and complained. So I
did, and was asked what I had said to this woman. I explained that I had
done nothing wrong - she had burst into the store and demanded football stats
that I was not required to provide. Boss proceeded to chew me out (which
was a bit odd considering the way his one and only full time employee treated
people - she once chucked a pack of cigarettes at a customer because he was a
few cents short and never got reprimanded, yet I'm getting yelled at for not
listening to a football game? But that's a story for the bosses from hell
section). I proceeded, very shortly thereafter, to quit. Some
I've worked at a McDonalds for quite a long time, and had
quite a few horrible customer experiences. These two are the worst. A gentleman
decided to take a call while sitting in front of the drive thru speaker, leaving
the three or so cars behind him to wait. Our conversation went thusly, nearly
Me(on the headset)- Hello, may I take your order?
Guy- I want a number four.
Me- With or without cheese?
*Guy's cell phone rings*Guy- Hello?
Me- Uh, sir?
Guy- *talking to person on cell phone*
Me- Sir, was that with or without cheese?
Guy- A number four!
Me- With cheese?
*more talking to person on phone. Then he pulls away from the
speaker*This means that when he got up to the window, and put down his cell
phone for a moment, he had no order. The buttons are different for the sandwich
with and without cheese, so I couldn't press either until he told me, and we
never even got to the soda. He was rather annoyed, and
mentioned several times that I'd never told him the price. I
managed to hold my tongue and not mention that he'd never told me the
The second was the worst customer ever. She was an older
woman, who brought her sandwich in to be replaced, from another McDonalds. I was
still newish at this point, and it was quite busy, so I didn't argue and
requested the grill to make the sandwich, while the original is thrown out.
While she was waiting, another woman came in with a large bag of food, from
drive thru. Since I was on front line, I wasn't responsible for this correction
(something about chicken nuggets) but took it on anyway, because drive thru was
busier than we were. Not sure about the order, I asked to see her receipt. She
handed it to me and I went about making it right. Now, to clarify the next part
of this story, I am white, the sandwich lady is white, and the last lady, with
the large bag and receipt, is black.
I turn around with sandwich lady's fixed
food, only to find a finger in my face. She began to berate me about asking for
the black woman's receipt, claiming that I am racist and that her grandfather
was black and I was discriminating against black people because I didn't ask for
her receipt as well! Remember, she had one sandwich...and just wanted the
condiments fixed. Unbelievable. Several times my manager tried to distract her
tirade from myself to him (as he knew that when I get upset I burst into tears)
but she simply said "No, I'm talking to this young lady..." and
continued to scream at me. She finally grabbed her sandwich and left, with a
dramatic, "I am never eating here again!" By this time I am in tears,
and half-scared I really was being discriminatory...until the black lady quietly
said, "I am so sorry for her behavior, miss." She didn't even know
this person, and was very upset herself that I'd been screamed at. It took me
half an hour to calm back down enough to work, but at
least that woman was true to her word, I've never seen her in my restaurant
I used to work in a library. We had a lot of customer
problems. People seemed to assume that as they were getting books for free, they
were also free to abuse us, swear at us, damage the goods, never pay fines and
so-on Unfortunately, our management subscribed to the 'the customer is always
right, whatever the situation' style of customer care.
One evening, ten minutes before we closed (on a day where we
worked twelve hours and closed very late at night, so we were all
exhausted), I was sitting at my desk, helping a customer. Another customer. lets
call him Dave...joined the queue. We had a 'please wait here' sign set a little
way back from the actual desk, so that waiting customers didn't hear what
the customers at the desk were saying to us. (They usually had to tell us
their address, or date of birth for verification, or sometimes had to work out
repayment schemes for large fines they had run up. Obviously we treated this
information confidentially). However, Dave didn't wait at the sign.
He strolled right up and stood directly behind the customer I was serving,
towering over her, and able to overhear every little thing we were saying to
each other. He scowled at me as I continue to serve her, obviously annoyed
that I didn't shove her aside and deal with him straight away.
My heart sank when I saw him, as I recognized him as a
customer who was always difficult, and always, always came in ten minutes before
we closed to yell at us about problems 'we' had caused (normally fines on his
card), knowing we would want to leave on time (no overtime payments), and
believing that we'd just wipe away his problems if it was close to closing
time. However, I acknowledged him, to show I was aware he was there, and
told him I would be just a moment. This wasn't good enough for Dave.
He tutted loudly, and then called out to a friend of his across the library.
(Remember this was a library! Although we don't have a strict silence rule, we
do try to keep the noise down.). He called his friend over, and he and his
friend proceeded to have a very loud conversation, at the top of their voices,
still standing right behind my present customer. She was a little hard of
hearing, and couldn't hear what I was saying over his talking. I have excellent
hearing, and I couldn't hear myself! The security guard did ask him
to keep the noise down. He scowled (it was his trademark) watched the guard
leave, and then continued again.
The gist of Dave's story (and this is important for
later) was his recent holiday to Japan. He exclaimed loudly about how much he
had enjoyed every second. He told his friend he had gone to especial pains to
learn Japanese, even taking out several books and dictionaries so he could
understand the language. Everybody in the library heard how he had come back
from Japan only that week. My customer left, and Dave turned to
me. I was exhausted, worn out and apprehensive over what he would say this time
(he usually had a very sarcastic, belittling attitude) , but I smiled sweetly,
and asked how I could help him. He slapped down an overdue notice on the
table "You've sent me this stupid letter saying I've got this
book and I don't have it. You're trying to cheat me into paying for this
book." "Which book is it?" I asked.
"Japanese dictionary!." he shouted. "Why would I have a Japanese
dictionary? I've never even been to Japan!"
I was so stunned I couldn't speak. The entire library had
heard him say he'd been to Japan. They'd all heard him say he'd taken out
Japanese dictionaries! And he knew I heard it too!! Not only was he
blatantly telling me a bare-faced lie, but he was either assuming I was too
stupid to realize he was lying or too spineless to point out I knew.
I tried to speak, my customer services training battling with my desire to kick
this annoying prig up the backside once and for all, when he said "I'm not
talking to you about this. You're obviously useless. Get me the
And this was what made it worse. The manager (who knew me
fairly well, having worked with me for ten years) listened to me (in private)
explain the situation. She'd even heard him talking about Japan. She knew I was
right. Yet she went out there, sat down in front of the customer from hell,
apologized for my behavior, told him she believed him, and took the book off his
account! I think managers should realize that there are times when
the customer is wrong..especially when the customer from Hell treats staff with
such contempt. And that situation finally prompted me into resigning, and
working in a totally customer-free environment!
I work at my local Wal-Mart as a cashier. Well, I
expected my rude customers when I was hired but this one takes the cake. I
was working on a fairly busy register one day although it was relatively quiet.
(Basically I only had 1 or two guest in my line at a time) Well I was just
finishing up checking out one lady when this other lady (lady 2) came up to my
line with her friend. I hadn't even told the lady 1 her total yet when
this woman starts yelling at me telling me how she doesn't like me and starts
calling me all manners of things. Well, I ignore her because I am still
helping lady 1 giving her change making sure she has all her bags. After I
finish helping lady 1, I say hi welcome to Wal-mart did you find everything you
need today (very politely like I would with all other customers as I work for Wal-Mart
and am trying to purvey a good image). She starts yelling at me and
telling me to ring up her stuff so she can get out of my line as I am rude and
I ignore it and say I'm sorry if I came off rude I am not
trying to be rude (again trying to make sure she leaves the sorry happy) So,
she starts yelling at me again so I just shut up and start scanning and
bagging her stuff. Well, I happen to look over and see her placing an item
I already scanned in a bag and say I'm sorry did I miss the bag with that item. She
just starts yelling at me again and telling me to hurry up and finish her stuff
so I just decided to shut up after that point so while I am finishing checking
her out she is just sitting there complaining to her friend about me.
Well, I finish checking her out and tell her the total she pays and I hand her
the change and her receipt and say thank you have a nice day like I would to any
other guest she just snatches the receipt and leaves leaving her friend there.
Well, her friend says to me that I just handled that very well and apologizes
profusely for her friend. She was very polite and thanked me for helping
her and left. I thought all the while helping lady 2 out that if you
decided you didn't like me before your stuff was even on the conveyer belt why
didn't you just go to another line. There were 10 other lines open with no
waiting and I wasn't the first register before the others.
I used to work at a major fast food chain and during that time
I met my share of belligerent customers. I worked in the back but would
also help customers as well sometimes. One day we were extremely busy and there
was a huge lineup at the front. I saw an elderly man standing off to the side of
the line so I went up to him and politely asked, "Can I help you sir?"
The man snapped "Ketchup! You know what that is right? You stupid
woman!" Stunned, I just handed him his ketchup and watched him shuffle off,
muttering under his breath.
I was working as phone tech support for a small software
company that produced software for commercial real estate. One day I got a call
from what sounded like an elderly man. This man wanted to return a sweater. Well
since we did not sell sweaters I told him that he must have gotten a wrong
number by mistake as this was a software company. This confused the man as he
said that the sweater was soft but the wrong color. I tried to politely explain
to him as he got more and more irate that we did not sell clothing of any kind
and that software referred to computer programs which we ship on CD. This went
on for about 7 to 10 minutes as he was very persistent that we needed to refund
him for his sweater and wanted to know our address so he could ship it back. I
told him that the address of the store that actually sold and shipped him the
sweater would most likely be on the box it was shipped in. He just got flustered
and made some rude comments about us trying to conceal our address and our
return policies and said he said he was going to file a complaint with the BBB
and hung up.
In the mid-80s, I was working at K-Mart in the Deli section.
Food service is arguably one of the worst places to work, because since you have
the ability to wait on more than one customer at once, plenty of yahoos EXPECT
you to wait on all of them at once. I collected plenty of "stories of
incivility" during my 2 years there, from the abusive old man who screamed
at me for being unable to accept a roll of dimes (I would have had to unwrap it
and count each dime, and there was a long line behind him), to the (regrettably)
repeat customer family that "spoke" through their 4 year old kid (the
only one who spoke English, and as a small child, changed his mind every few
minutes). But the topper is the story of a young mother (19 to 24-ish) and
The kid might have been a year old, and he was sitting in the
"seat" part of the cart. While young mom was looking over what
she wanted from the hot snack section, the kid grabbed one of the unwrapped
straws from the small barrel of them we had in front. He played with it,
did the usual "oral investigation" that babies do, AND THEN PROCEEDED
TO DROP IT BACK IN THE BARREL!! I was extremely fast on the draw here and
silently intercepted it before it touched anything, and the look I had was one
of relief rather than anger. But instead of being apologetic the lady gave
me the *nastiest* damn look, as if I'd just gratuitously screamed obscenities at
the both of them. So I should have just allowed a saliva-dripping straw
back in with the rest?? Now you know why everyone and their brother
switched to pre-wrapped straws....
I work in the Occupational Health and Safety department of a
large corporation. This means that we maintain medical files on all of our
employees, which are obviously kept confidential. They are stored in a room
which also has the fax machine, and has two doors: one to our office, and one to
the reception desk and Human Resources next door. Employees of our department
use it as a shortcut to get from one side of the office to the other. However,
only employees of HR and OH&S are allowed in that room.
Unfortunately, it is easy to see what is on the other side,
and whenever an employee of the company, rather than our office, needs to pass
from one side to they other, they try to pass through the room. My desk is
situated right outside the entrance, and I inform them (politely, of course),
that due to the nature of the room, they need to go back out into the hall and
re-enter through a different door. Please note, this would add roughly 10
seconds onto their day. Because we do see many sick people, or who are limited
in their mobility, I will escort through anyone on crutches or using a cane, or
in any other obvious distress. The receptionist on the other side also enforces
this rule. However, we are not perfect, and sometimes people go through.
One day, the receptionist on the other side was occupied so a
lady walked through the room to get to us. She was rude to our receptionist, and
then decided to walk back.
"I'm sorry, but you aren't allowed to walk through that
room," I said.
"I'm sorry too, because I'm going to anyway!" she
replied. As my jaw dropped, she marched herself right through. The gall!
It's rather more of a collection of stories than just a single
For about a year, I worked for a major coffee chain within a
major grocery chain store. The neighborhood that this store was centered in is
packed with rich, snooty, entitlement-filled people, some of which included the
chain store's regional boss, who would randomly drop in, "off duty,"
so to speak, and appraise all of us. Still, it was a good job, save for some of
the most freakishly rude and strange requests.
One customer I had came in and ordered her standard drink,
plus whipped cream. I remember putting whipped cream on her drink because I had
just poured the cream into the canister and "charged" it, which means
frothing the cream up using a little canister of Co2. She took her drink, tried
it, thanked me, and then left. Five hours later, she comes back with her cup in
hand, demanding a refund. I politely ask her why, and she replies that I
"forgot the whipped cream, and when you make a drink wrong, I'm entitled to
a new one." After resisting the urge to pick my jaw up off the floor at her
insolence, I politely questioned her. "Well, if you bring the whole drink
back, I'm sure I can make you a new one." "Oh no," she replies.
"I drank it. But I still want a new one! You forgot the whipped
cream!" I tried to explain that, firstly, whipped cream isn't standard on
the type of drink she purchased, and secondly, I put whipped cream on there
already, because you could see the foamy residue (yes, all those hours watching
CSI really come in handy!) around the edge of the cup. Finally, if she drunk it,
I can't give her a refund! That just doesn't make sense. "Well, I want a
new one. It just wasn't safe to drive around with coffee in my car, and I want
you to make me a new one, *with* whipped cream." So, realizing that this is
a loosing battle, I re-made her drink, made her watch me put whipped cream on
it, and left.
Another customer problem I had was in regards to how we ring
up drinks. The store I worked at had a buy one-get one promotion going on, and a
businessman came up and ordered two very expensive drinks and one child's drink,
which is cheaper. He told me that one should be free, according to his own
calculations, but when I rang up the drinks, none of them were. I said,
"Well, let's look on your receipt and see where you're at. Sometimes we get
problems with the machine not ringing things up right, and in that case, you can
call in to the corporate office and they'll fix it." Well, lo and behold he
decides to add a third expensive drink to his order, and when I ring that up,
one of them comes up free. Of course, because of the policy of the buy one-get
one, it's the cheapest of the four drinks; The one dollar child's drink. This is
not something I did on purpose! It is simply the till's way of counting and it
makes no sense at all. The customer proceeds to go into a big old hissy fit,
demanding that I fix this heinous crime against hot chocolate immediately! I
take one look at his expensive suit and resist the urge to tell him that a free
drink is a free drink, and it's not my fault the machine does what it does.
After trying to reason with him, even giving him a coupon for another free
drink, he demands to see my manager, yelling and getting red in the face about
how disrespectful I am and how much I've insulted him. I go and find the manager
and let him handle the guy. The manager comes over and gets *another* free drink
coupon for this customer after a few heated minutes of insulting me, the
company, the store, and just about everything else in earshot of the long line
of customers I have, most of which are staring at him, incredulous. At the end
of the day, he made off with three free drinks, and, of course, its all my
I had so many customers who were polite, friendly, and
patient, but sadly, the ones who are rude and frustrating always stand out more
in my mind. I even had a customer get mad at me because her straw was too long!
Another lady got mad because I didn't carry the special brand of organic milk in
a box that her precious spawn simply *had* to drink. Ack!
Ok, so working retail is not the most glamorous job in the
world, but it is no reason to treat the employees that work there like
crap. I have been in retail now for 14 years, and I could tell you so many
etiquette-hell stories, but there is one that really sticks in my head.
After offering my assistance to a woman who was looking for something very
specific, she decided she to purchase the item. Our registers were set up
in a side by side manner. She set her items down on the counter of the
register that was closed (And clearly marked so with a sign that said "This
register is closed, please step to the next register for assistance" ) So
I walked over to that register and collected her item, and asked her to
step to the next register, (which was LITERALLY 3 steps to her right) and
that this one was closed. I rang her item up, but she stayed at the
other register, so I again politely asked her to step over to my
register thinking maybe she didn't hear me. All of the sudden I had NO
idea what hit me at the time, but this woman just went off on me, telling me
that she heard me the first time, and that my customer assistance was very poor
and that she shouldn't be forced to walk to a different register, and that she
was never going to shop there again. She demanded corporate's phone
number, to tell them how bad my service was. I - confused at
this point - gave her the number, still smiling, finished her sale, and thanked
her for shopping there, and I told her to have a nice day. She turned red
in anger and told me "Will I never! And I hope you, have a sh*%y day".
At the time I remember thinking, what did I do....but looking back, I guess you
just can't please people, no matter how much you bend over backwards for them.
I feel EVERYONE should be forced to work
retail at one point in their lives, then they would treat the retail clerks with
more respect. One last thing...for all of you out there with cell
phones...If you have your cell on when shopping...FINE, talk to your heart's
content, but once you get up to the counter to check out...HANG IT UP, or DON'T
ANSWER IT! It's not that difficult to call the person back after
you are done. It is SOOOOOO rude to the cashier. Those of us who
have manners don't like to interrupt phone conversations to tell you your total,
or count back your change.
I worked an arts and crafts supply store in high school.
It seemed that a lot of rude customers passed through there, but this one stood
out because she went off on me personally.
In the store, the cash registers are in groups of two: one
faces right and one left in each row. I was on the second register in the
row, facing left. There were a few customers in each line. I got
through checking out all of the people in my line, so I looked over at the other
register and saw that the customer who was checking out was signing a credit
card receipt and the customer after her would be up to be checked out
within the next 20 seconds or so. I called out, "I can help the next
person over here," and though I assumed the second lady would come, I
did not specify which customer should step over.
Well the third lady in the first line saw that the woman in
front of her was about to be checked out (lady #2 had her things on the
counter), so she stepped over. I didn't notice, but lady #2 stepped out of
line, picked up her things, and walked over to my line as well. The
first lady in my line had a large order, and it took about
ten minutes to get her checked out and out the door. The lady who had
picked up her things and come over to my line then plops her things on the
counter and looks at me and screams "You are rude!" "Excuse
me?" I said. "I was next, not her!" she said. "I
simply took the person who stepped over first," I said. "Well I
just want to tell you that you are a rude young lady," she scowled.
Sooo let me get this straight. The cashier in the first
line was just about to pick up her things to scan them and she GETS OUT OF LINE
and waits about 10 minutes longer to tell me that I was rude for wasting her
time by not taking her first? She proceeded to argue and cause a
scene for about 15 minutes and refused to move. I asked her if she wanted
me to get a manager , to which she replied, "No, as long as you know you
are rude!" Don't you just love retail?
I recently graduated from university and I spent the
summer working as a cashier at a rather large national "family
clothing" chain in order to pay the bills. The pay wasn't anything to write
home about and the hours were inconvenient, so there were times when I was on
the verge of a "I have a degree and I'm too good for this" fit. But I
was raised better than that. I could fill a book with the rude and inconsiderate
customers I endured with a smile, but this one would be the grand finale.
This woman came in with two children, a boy of about seven and
a girl who was probably eleven or twelve. Both of them were fairly big kids. As
soon as they walked in the door, the daughter sat down in the stroller provided
for customers with small children and demanded that her brother push her around
the store. And he did. I was scared the stroller was going to break, but my
manager never said anything, so neither did I or, most importantly, mom.
After they were done shopping (and presumably driving the
floor associates insane) mom brought up at least twenty items to my register and
asked that I price check them all. This was fine, I got that all the time. Fine,
until she starts throwing these items at me. They're already laying on my
counter, I'm perfectly capable of picking them up and scanning each one. But,
she sifts through them and practically hurls them at me, giving me the yay or
nay as I check each price.
Now, this is forgivable. She's a little uncouth, but it's
nothing I can't handle. Her kids, on the other hand... are trying my patience.
The little boy is sitting in the shelf that holds my plastic bags when he
discovers the little electric screen that people use to sign for credit card
purchases. (You know the ones, with the little pen and the touch sensitive
screen.) He pokes at it a while before picking up the pen and HAMMERING the
screen with it. I look over, hoping mom will say something before her kid breaks
what is probably a very expensive piece of equipment. Nothing. So I say (very
calmly and politely), "Please don't do that." And mom casually looks
over and says, "Yeah. Don't do that."
Then, I notice his sister playing with the phone at the
register next to me. Mom tells her to leave it alone... but just once. The kid
doesn't listen and goes around to every register playing with the phones. I
can't do much about it, I'm still checking prices. Finally I hear the intercom
beep and I turn around and there's the girl giggling. How she figured out how to
get to the intercom line, I don't know. But, once again I ask her, "Please
don't do that." And mom casually looks over and says, "Yeah. Don't do
The daughter, rather sassily, replies "Why'd YOU tell me
not to do it when SHE already told me not to?" And I thought to myself...
"Good point. Shouldn't mom be reigning in the kids before I have to?"
I finished the woman's transaction and bid her a very pleasant good evening.
Anyway... that was rather long winded and possibly not very
interesting, but consider it a plea from customer service workers everywhere.
Control your children. Please. My dad always said he thinks everyone should have
to work in retail or food service once in their life just to learn how to treat
people in those positions. He's right. I'll be doing my darndest to be an
Etiquette Angel, especially when dealing with tired, underpaid customer service
P.S. Just as a public warning, if your pair of jeans rings up
for 17.99 instead of 14.99, it is not your cashier's fault. She is not
personally out to get you, she isn't trying to cheat you, and believe me, she
isn't going to pocket that extra three dollars. Just let her do her job and
clear up the problem. Thanks.
There are plenty rude customers in this world, but after
working at a toy store for almost a year, there are two experiences that I'll
We host birthday parties. The store where we work is very
busy, as this product is in demand and it's the only store of its kind in our
city. A mother brought 15 children in for her daughter's birthday party, and I
was assigned to be the party host. Several of the parents came with the
children. The mothers didn't pay any attention to any of the children, who were
all being very loud and misbehaving, and the birthday girl constantly rolled her
eyes at my instructions and told me to 'hurry up' with preparing the toys for
the children. The mothers were growing highly impatient with the last leg of the
party, as the store was very very busy, and talked loudly about me being 'slow',
and the meaning wasn't just about physical speed. I apologized for the crowd,
and explained that the store was always packed Thursday through Sunday.
The birthday girl got upset at me because she couldn't stand
in the back row of the picture. She's the birthday girl--she is supposed to be
in the front. Her friends were rolling their eyes, making faces, and making fun
of one of the girls that came. It was a group of popular girls, and this
particular girl wasn't popular, so they preyed on her.
The mother complained to my manager about me, telling her that
I was rude to the children, and that I had lied about the existence of a party
room in the back. Our company does not have party rooms, nor a food license to
host cake and refreshments in the store. We explain this to everyone who calls
or comes in with questions about our parties. Then, the icing on the cake, the
mother wants a discount because the store is busy. She booked on a Saturday,
which is the busiest day of the week. In their conversation my manager got it
out of her that she had never been into the store. She booked a party, put
down a $100.00 deposit and had never laid eyes on the store. My manager
laughed at her, explained that I've done at least a hundred birthday parties,
and that she's never heard of these problems, and that if she wanted to dispute
it, she could talk to our General Manager.
My next story isn't so much rude as unsanitary. We have a
bathroom in the back of the store, and we let customers use them all the time.
Sometimes they destroy them, but that is to be expected. This lady was asking
for the bathroom to change her baby. I explained that there was someone using
it, and that once they were out, she was more than welcome to use the changing
station. In a few moments, I walked back into the back room, and nearly got
There is a table in the back where all of the employees take
our breaks. This day there were drinks, and food, and two boxes of pizza on the
table. There was even open food on the table that someone was eating. This woman
was changing her baby's poopy diaper on the table. She was too impatient to wait
for the person to leave the restroom, who was doing so as I saw what was going
on. They saw it too, looked at me, I looked at them, and we both made a face.
This woman left the table with baby poo all over it, and
didn't bother to clean it up.
I worked part-time at a retail store in a small town. Since
this was a small town, everyone knew everybody. So I remembered faces and people
who come to the store on a regular basis. There was a man who came in almost
every day I was working. He never bought anything and if he did it was a bag of
those tootsie roll pops. Otherwise he just walked around the store for about a
half hour and stared at people. He tended to stare at young women. One time he
actually watched me for about five minutes while I was putting freight on the
shelves. I went and told my boss and she told him to buy something or leave. He
left, thank goodness. He has been told to leave the store many times for
loitering and staring at people.
When this guy actually does buy his tootsie pops it is hell
checking him out. Some of the employees named this guy “Stinkie” for obvious
reasons. He smells like chicken poop all the time. I’m told he works at a
chicken butchering place. His clothes look like it. I have almost vomited from
the smell. Not only does he smell to high heaven so you try not to breath with
your nose, but while you are checking him out he stares at your chest the entire
time and tries to make conversation while “teasing” you. His yucky way of
flirting. I never reacted to anything he said and just rang him up as quickly as
I could. The first few times that I checked him out I was polite to him and he
ended up standing and staring at me for about ten minutes after. So I learned
not to be very nice to him.
By the time I left the job, I had found out that this man was
actually living in his van and that’s why he wandered into the store. Just to
do something. And that’s why he smelled so awful. That’s too bad but no
excuse for his rude staring problem.
I was working in a downtown shop in Ontario, Canada near the
U.S. border. Even though our store was less than a mile from the
U.S. border, some American visitors couldn't believe we were "just like
My favorite customer story is about a lady who came into the
shop to browse. She didn't say anything to me so I just smiled and said
"Hi". When she finally came up to the cash register, she leaned
over the counter and said loudly (with a lot of hand signing), "DO YOU
SPEAK ENGLISH?!!" I was so surprised that I leaned toward
her and loudly said, "THAT'S...ALL...I...SPEAK!" complete with
opening and closing my hand for the "talking" sign!
She quickly finished her transaction and I never saw her back in the store
One night I was working at a large pizza chain that
required a standard telephone greeting. A customer called and I
automatically answered, "Thank you for calling Father's Pizza on Main
Street. May I help you?" The customer asked, "Is this a
recording?" It had been a very long night. I answered,
"Yes, it is." There was a short pause and the customer
said, "Oh, okay" and hung up. I imagine that he just looked at
his phone after that and immediately called one of our competitors!
I worked for a large banquet hall that often did very
upscale weddings. One popular color for weddings was black table linens
with white napkins...kind of a "black tie" theme. One
bride and her mother came in to select their linen colors. The bride really
liked the black tablecloths and white napkins so I set a few out on the desk.
After she had looked at them for a few moments, I asked "Is it a black and
white wedding?" The mother-of-the-bride looked horrified and
asked, "How do you know?" Seeing the panic in her face, I asked,
"Know what?" The bride turned very red and her mother
continued, "That it is an INTERRACIAL marriage and we DON'T approve!"
Yikes! I took a deep breath and pointed at the table napkins and
calmly said, "I was asking about the dinner napkins. We don't care
who gets married." The wedding did proceed and I am happy to
say that it was my day off on the wedding day!
Page Last Updated May 18, 2007