Author Topic: Mother's Day rudeness...  (Read 21504 times)

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Dr_Manners

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Mother's Day rudeness...
« on: January 20, 2012, 01:20:44 AM »
Greetings eHellions,

I was going through the archives, and came across this story: http://www.etiquettehell.com/?p=1466

It put in mind a situation that happened a few years ago with my own family.  My mother is a florist, and owns her own business.  Among her employees and designers are my sister and another young woman in their 20's, and two other women the same approximate age as my mother.  All of these women are mothers, the youngest two were both brand new mothers about to celebrate their first Mother's Day with their new babies.  This is all important to know in terms of the story.

Since Mother's Day always falls on a Sunday, and also due to the fact that my mother's business never opens on Sundays, all Mother's Day deliveries are made in the week leading up to the holiday. This is rarely, if ever, a problem.  Most women receiving flowers from their husbands/boyfriends and children are thrilled to have gotten something in honor of the day, regardless of whether or not it is ON Mother's Day itself.  However, one such woman was not so pleased about the notion of having the roses she ordered for her mother delivered on Saturday instead of Sunday.

I had been working at my mother's store for a few days to help out with the holiday, and was in the front room manning the phones and cash register.  A woman in her mid-to-late 30's approached me to place an order for a dozen yellow roses to be delivered to her mother.  When I asked if she would prefer they go out on Saturday afternoon or Monday morning, the following exchange took place.

Her: I want them delivered on Sunday...you know, Mother's Day!
Me: I'm sorry, ma'am, but we are closed on Sunday.  We will be happy to deliver them on Saturday or Monday if you would like.
Her: What kind of *%&$ is that?!  Who would order Mother's Day flowers to be delivered any other day but ON Mother's Day?!
Me: Ma'am, I am sorry.  But, Mother's Day is on a Sunday and we are always closed on Sundays.  If you like, we can hold the arrangement here for you to pick up on Saturday so that you can take them to your mother personally on Sunday.
Her: Absolutely not!  Look...you're a man, so you couldn't possibly get this.  Mother's Day is on a Sunday, and I DEMAND that my flowers be delivered then!
Me: Again, I'm sorry, but that won't be possible.
Her: That's it!  I want the owner!

At this point, I admit that what I did could possibly cast me in to eHell.  And, for what follows, I am willing to accept condemnation.  I did not handle it the best way that I could.  Perhaps it is because it my mother's store, with my sister as one of the designers (along with the two women my mother's age being like mothers to me, having grown up around them, sitting on a stool at their side, watching them work).  But, I admit, I lost my cool.

Me: Come with me. (I lead her in to the back room, where the designers are all busy preparing arrangements for delivery.)
Me: Ma'am, this is Susan, my sister.  That is Angie next to her.  Both of them just had a baby in the past several months and will be spending Sunday with their new children.  Over there is Marie and Patricia, who both have children and grandchildren of their own.  Finally, over there, is the owner...my mother.  I would like to spend Sunday with her, celebrating Mother's Day.  Now, we will be happy to deliver on Sunday, but in order to do so you will need to explain to each of these mothers here that YOUR mother is more important than they are to their children.

At this point, the customer mumbled something under her breath and then said, "Saturday afternoon will be fine," before making a hasty retreat.  None of the designers, nor my mother, had heard the first part of the conversation and were all highly confused at what had just happened.  But, when I explained the situation, they were all happy that I stuck up for their time with their children (especially my mother and my sister).  :)

Softly Spoken

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2012, 04:49:04 AM »
Oh my goodness... >:D

I would love to tell you that you were showing a polite spine, but I'm afraid the theatricality of your response most likely puts you firmly in ehell...though I plead on your behalf: not a very deep circle and you should get out with time served and a commuted sentence etc.  :-\

I think the sarcasm you employed in the face of this woman's Special Snowflake rudeness makes the story a better candidate for someplace like notalwaysright.com

ehell rules would probably say your response should have been "I'm afraid that won't be possible"/later-rise-repeat or some variation thereof...

but EvilSoftly (*lightning crashes* oh my, *GASP* there she is making her first official appearance on the forum!! :o) applauds and cackles. And now I must banish her back to the shadows from which your story summoned her... muahahahaha! >:D
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
-William Shakespeare

"We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't."  ~Frank A. Clark

veryfluffy

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2012, 05:15:30 AM »
I don't see the customer as behaving like a SS, but simply in the excessive "customer is always right" mode. Because, really, there are a lot of businesses open on Sundays and on Mother's Day. (And my friend who is a florist actually does stay open, and deliver, on Mother's Day, because she simply can't afford not to.)

All those restaurants that people like to take their mothers to on Mother's Day -- do you suppose none of the people working that day have families either?
   

Sharnita

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2012, 05:59:45 AM »
I actually don't know that I would go that route simply because the male employee or any childless female employee would want to be with their mom and it kind of bugs me to have the mom card pulled. 

Portugal79

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2012, 06:24:55 AM »
as i have worked in retail, i love you for standing up for youself and for your family. i think the woman was totally out of order and everything you said was deserved. after being spoken to and treated like that, the customer deserved every word of your statement.

lowspark

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2012, 08:17:09 AM »
What I don't get is why this woman kept insisting. I would have just said, thanks anyway, and left. Surely there is another florist in town who would deliver on that Sunday. Or were y'all the only game in town?

I do agree though, that whether the employes were moms, had moms, or none of the above, was really irrelevant. Either you deliver on Sunday or you don't. I would have just had the owner (your mom) go ahead and talk with her.

Dr_Manners

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2012, 09:53:50 AM »
I agree with all of you who say that I went a bit overboard.  I know I did.  As a result, I will gladly take my place in eHell for that, but as "EvilSoftly" said, I hope I can get out with a commuted sentence.  Maybe doing what I did in order to stand up for my own mother will garner some sympathy with the parole board?  :-[

I think what ultimately pulled me in to behaving a bit rudely was the final thing she said, about me being male and, therefore, incapable of understanding the importance of Mother's Day.  Since she made it seem as though only women (especially mothers) understand the importance of the day, I felt the need to point out the number of mothers (and grandmothers) we had as designers.  Unnecessary and an etiquette breach on my part?  Certainly.  But, personally, the one thing that will almost always get me riled up enough to forget my etiquette (this is a flaw I know I have) is attacks, perceived or otherwise, on my family...especially, on my mother.

Dr_Manners

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2012, 09:57:13 AM »
What I don't get is why this woman kept insisting. I would have just said, thanks anyway, and left. Surely there is another florist in town who would deliver on that Sunday. Or were y'all the only game in town?
We aren't the only game in town, but the only game on that side of town, so possibly this customer felt that there was no other option.  However, having grown up in the floral business in that city, I do know that none of the florists in town deliver on Mother's Day.  There are about a dozen florists in the city, and all of them know each other and work well together, referring business to each other (based on need, location, and what particular skill each has).  Had there been a florist in town who delivered on Mother's Day, I would have referred her.  But, alas, there isn't.

Kaypeep

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2012, 10:06:41 AM »
Maybe it's because I am in NYC but I've never heard of florists being closed on Sundays, especially on Mothers Day.  That's one of the biggest days of the year for them.  I can think of 4 florists by me that are selling plants and cemetery arrangements by the truckload alone with cars double parked for hours in front of the shops.  I do understand and respect any business owner who wants to close for a holiday and enjoy it with their family, but as someone else pointed out, restaurants do booming business on MD and rarely close.  This story seems very odd to me.

Surianne

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2012, 10:15:59 AM »
I do agree though, that whether the employes were moms, had moms, or none of the above, was really irrelevant. Either you deliver on Sunday or you don't. I would have just had the owner (your mom) go ahead and talk with her.

I agree, I think that would have been the best way to handle it.  I don't think trying to shame a customer is ever a good idea, from a business point of view or an etiquette one. 

And while the customer was rude to keep insisting, I can see her side too -- I'd have just assumed florists delivered on Mother's Day, because I've never lived in a place where they didn't (from small towns to big cities).  I can see why she was pretty baffled.  Not cool to take it out on you, but I think there was rudeness and confusion from both parties here.

Donovan

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2012, 10:37:51 AM »
I don't know of one florist around my area that is open on Sunday.  All Mother's Day & Easter flowers I've ever ordered were delivered on Saturday.

Judah

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2012, 01:00:49 PM »
What I don't get is why this woman kept insisting. I would have just said, thanks anyway, and left. Surely there is another florist in town who would deliver on that Sunday. Or were y'all the only game in town?

I do agree though, that whether the employes were moms, had moms, or none of the above, was really irrelevant. Either you deliver on Sunday or you don't. I would have just had the owner (your mom) go ahead and talk with her.

I agree with this whole post.  I think, had I been in your position, OP, I would have told the customer, "Ma'am, obviously we won't be able to meet your needs.  Such&Such florist is over on Main Street; I'm pretty sure they deliver on Sundays. Perhaps you should try them."
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

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Mental Magpie

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2012, 04:11:59 PM »
I don't see the customer as behaving like a SS, but simply in the excessive "customer is always right" mode. Because, really, there are a lot of businesses open on Sundays and on Mother's Day. (And my friend who is a florist actually does stay open, and deliver, on Mother's Day, because she simply can't afford not to.)

All those restaurants that people like to take their mothers to on Mother's Day -- do you suppose none of the people working that day have families either?

She was definitely SS.  She didn't get the answer she wanted and kept insisting it be changed for her.  If that isn't SS I'm really not sure what is.

So what if other business are open on Sundays, even on Mother's Day?  That particular business wasn't and she needed to accept that.  Those employees in the other businesses that are open accept that as part of the job (the having to work holidays schedule).  That has absolutely no baring on what another company decides to do (not be open on Sundays, including Mother's Day).
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

O'Dell

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2012, 04:33:11 PM »
I don't have a problem with what you did, Dr_Manners.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Mother's Day rudeness...
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2012, 02:35:59 PM »
I think you were horribly rude and condescending.  It doesn't matter if you have mother's working in the shop or not - you weren't closed on Mother's Day to honor them as mother's, you were closed on Mother's day because you were closed all Sundays.  So it really was totally irrelevant.  You should have simply suggested she go elsewhere.

I have never heard of a florist being closed on Mother's day and would have found it to be a rather absurd and incredulous thing to be told, so I would have questioned it at least once myself especially if I'd been in there before and didn't recognize you as a regular employee (I'd have thought surely you were mistaken).  I probably would have just left after it was confirmed though, so I wonder why she stuck around.

I also wouldn't really have understood what a floral designer schedule had to do with a delivery person's schedule.  Surely the flowers could be arranged on Saturday by the designers and delivered Sunday by the delivery guy - I mean the guy who cooks my pizza isn't the same guy who delivers it, nor is the cable guy who comes to install my cable the same one who decides on cable content. 

And as for people wanting to spend Mother's day with their mother's or their children... well it would seem to me it would be prudent then to not get into a business that specifically markets towards providing Mother's Day services!