Author Topic: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?  (Read 10450 times)

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SamiHami

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Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« on: May 23, 2012, 08:40:19 PM »
Brief BG: I help out part-time in a small gift shop/contract post office a couple of days a week. It is owned by a neighbor who runs the business end/paperwork while her daughter and I generally take care of the customers. I have not worked there very long, so I haven't encountered all of the "regulars" yet, but most of the ones I have met are very nice and I enjoy interacting with them.

Problem: The daughter, "Wren," confided to me today that there is a male customer that comes in occasionally and, without fail, makes lewd comments to her under the guise of "joking." She hates it and finds him to be completely creepy. She said that after this happening a few times she finally told him that she didn't like it and to stop. He got angry and said "That doesn't work for me! It's just a joke after all!" Since then Wren refuses to serve him and will go hide in the back room and has her mother wait on him so she won't have to. I do not know if he makes those comment to the mom (I will ask her next time I see her), but mom knows the situation and allows Wren to leave the counter when he is there. Mom is quite timid and I could easily see her just letting it slide instead of confronting him.

Wren told me this because she is certain that I will encounter him sooner or later and wanted me to be forewarned. If he does pull this nonsense with me, well, I am not so timid. Personally, I don't really care about idiotic comments, but the fact that he knows it upsets Wren yet still does it troubles me. It tells me that it is not a joke and that he is getting a charge out of bothering her.

I am trying to decide how to behave if/when the day comes that I have to wait on him. If he behaves, of course I will treat him like any other customer. However, if he makes rude/lewd comments to me under the guise of "joking," I am unsure of the best response. I hate the idea of just letting it go.

I've thought about doing the "How DARE you!" thing-loudly-and making a scene; after all, it is not rude to do so under the circumstance. It is perfectly appropriate to act/be shocked when a stranger makes such comments, after all.

Wise ones, how would you behave under the circumstances? The boss (mom) says she doesn't care if she loses his business so losing him as a customer is not a problem, but she won't go so far as to ban him outright (but if pushed enough, I think she would). My DH is very upset about this and wants us to call the police next time it happens (which would be easy to do since boss/mom's husband-Wren's dad-is a police officer) to put a stop to it. I think that might be OTT, but...I dunno.

Thoughts?

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Dora

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2012, 08:48:52 PM »
I would tell him, "That is not an appropriate way to speak to me and I will not handle any transactions with you if it happens again". 
If he says it is just a joke. . . . "I find it inappropriate and will not subject myself to that kind of humor".

Some people enjoy banter and lewd humor, so I feel is is fair to give him one very clear message that you do not. 

Venus193

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2012, 09:14:41 PM »
If the guy gives off the creep vibe it's not banter.

My vote is for a very haughty "Excuse me?"  with one raised eyebrow.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2012, 10:22:03 PM »
Give him one warning. If he has the gall to do it again, unload on him.

NyaChan

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 11:26:13 PM »
Is there a reason why they haven't declined to serve him in the store altogether?  Maybe you could ask the mom if that is what she would prefer and inform him of that should he repeat that behavior.  It may just be that she was too timid to do it herself, but if you offered, she might be amenable.

Calypso

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2012, 11:42:19 PM »
Wow, call the police? Seriously?

I like Venus' response, or even going dead-eyed, silent, waiting a minute, and continuing with the transaction, ignoring what he said completely. Don't put any "energy into the system," even the energy of protest. If he persists, say wearily "do you want this transaction completed or not? It doesn't matter to me either way." (And, since you have clearance to lose him permanently, you could even add, "we really don't need your business enough to put up with this."

Raintree

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2012, 11:49:02 PM »
I don't see why you, the daughter, or any other employee should have to tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace (last retail place I worked made it very clear that sexual harrassment from customers is still workplace sexual harrassment that no employee should be subjected to).

How about, "I will not be spoken to like that and I don't care if you do see it as funny; I do not, and if it happens again I think you'd better find somewhere else to shop."

The problem is, these guys think that being the customer enables them to say what they like, and of COURSE the employee has to bend over backwards to please them, because of COURSE the business owner wants to keep their business at all costs. He might be very surprised to find out otherwise.

Twik

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2012, 12:16:47 AM »
The mother sounds like an awful wimp to refuse to stand up to the man sexually harassing her daughter. The up side of that is, she probably wouldn't say boo if you chase him out of the store with a broom.

As for calling the police, it's quite acceptable if he's asked to leave the store, and won't, because "I was only joking."
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cicero

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2012, 05:18:24 AM »
The mother sounds like an awful wimp to refuse to stand up to the man sexually harassing her daughter. The up side of that is, she probably wouldn't say boo if you chase him out of the store with a broom.

As for calling the police, it's quite acceptable if he's asked to leave the store, and won't, because "I was only joking."
you know - what really bothers me is that the mom is not only a wimp, but she is discouraging her daughter from acting on her 'creep' vibe. i know that my family also raised me that way - we had to accept everyone, we weren't allowed to say that people are weird or creepy - and it's made it very hard for me to listen to my creep vibe (thankfully, by age 51, i got over it for the most part).

as to the OP - I would push the mom to outright ban him. he is already harrassing staff, he shouldn't be allowed in the store. I wouldn't give him "another chance".

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weeblewobble

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2012, 06:56:15 AM »
Well of course stopping doesn't "work for him," he doesn't want to lose his captive audience. No amount of money is worth the daughter being deliberately, maliciously harrassed. 

I don't think they could call the police unless he is threatening with harm. But if they ask him to leave the shop and he doesn't, that's trespassing and the cops will respond to that asap.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2012, 07:20:26 AM »
I think Calypso's response is on the money.

He does this because he can - he has a timid audience that allows him to bully, and he gets a charge out of it. He will either sense that you are not that audience, or he'll try it with you. The answer is NOT to react - don't get upset, or appalled, or embarrassed. Just follow Calypso's suggestion - look at him blankly, and follow up with "Did you want the stamps?"

hyzenthlay

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2012, 08:12:34 AM »
going dead-eyed, silent, waiting a minute, and continuing with the transaction, ignoring what he said completely. Don't put any "energy into the system," even the energy of protest. If he persists, say wearily "do you want this transaction completed or not? It doesn't matter to me either way." (And, since you have clearance to lose him permanently, you could even add, "we really don't need your business enough to put up with this."

This. Go stiff, blank your face and look at him with as little expression as possible. Don't laugh, don't get angry, don't respond, just go quiet and stiff so he doesn't have anything to work from to continue his stupidity.

Cami

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2012, 08:58:28 AM »
going dead-eyed, silent, waiting a minute, and continuing with the transaction, ignoring what he said completely. Don't put any "energy into the system," even the energy of protest. If he persists, say wearily "do you want this transaction completed or not? It doesn't matter to me either way." (And, since you have clearance to lose him permanently, you could even add, "we really don't need your business enough to put up with this."

This. Go stiff, blank your face and look at him with as little expression as possible. Don't laugh, don't get angry, don't respond, just go quiet and stiff so he doesn't have anything to work from to continue his stupidity.
In my experience, this does not work. It just encourages them to up the ante to get a rise.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2012, 09:06:00 AM »
"Your comment is insulting and I do not find it funny, only creepy.  You'll need to take your business elsewhere."

Amara

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Re: Rude/Lewd comments from customer. What to do?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2012, 10:05:50 AM »
This guy is so far over the line of rude it's not funny. Would it be worthwhile to say something like this: "We are closed to you now and in the future" before turning away and completely ignoring him. (If you see another customer, wave her over  or call out "I can help you." And when he protests, simply repeat your earlier message with a bland tone in your voice.)