I'm a library assistant working the front desk in a private business college that caters to mainly international students. This week has been flat out, as its first week of classes and we've been busy getting new students their ID cards and approving returning students for the new semester.
We've had to crack down a bit as some students have slipped through the cracks on paying fees (and cheating bit that is a topic for another day) so we have a policy that students cannot get their ID until they have the declaration which means they have paid their fees. Without the ID they can't access the computer or print, and as we disable accounts at end of semester students need to see us before they can use the computer.
But this morning we had a rare exception. One of the teachers is away so the students (about five in number) had to access e-learning before being cleared by us of they'd paid their fees first do they could do the work the teacher had left them. One student took this as an opportunity to print everything for free, before we could keep track of his printing. My manager tied to count how much he was printing so she could put it to his account later, but he kept on printing despite her telling him to stop. Then he starts ranting, saying that he had paid his fees and she was depriving him of his rightly entitled education. Another teacher who was in the room at the time tried to stop him from shouting, but it took one of the people in his class to call him out on what an idiot of himself he was making in front of his fellow students.
I didn't speak up, there were enough people in that argument and I didn't see the point if adding another, it would just make things worse. Besides, I had to run the front desk in the middle of him shouting.
But, an hour later he came up to the desk to get his card renewed he made a point of only speaking to me despite my manager trying to engage him in polite conversation, asking him nicely if he had stopped being angry. He pointedly ignored her, finally saying that he would speak only to me and started to blame her again for what had happened before. I sat through this, hearing his rant until I couldn't take it any more. I told him to that there was nonneed fir him to be angry, to stop shouting and that you do not talk to people like that, he tried to talk over me but I wouldn't let him and pointed out we were doing a favour for him to let him log in earlier and my manager added that it was oolong to limit his printing as we had to crack down on students not paying their fees.
Finally, when we checked his enrolment and my manager gave him the standard line that he would have access to his account tomorrow he said that we are making him angry again, and he started shouting again. I was actually going to suggest we cleared him now, to kind of sweeten the deal and get him away from the front desk, but after that I was wiling to key the policy stand as it was rewarding rudeness. But my manager cleared his account then and there and he went away with all smiles.
Most of the students here are male, and a majority are from central and south east Asia. I kind have gotten user to the fact that some of the male students will look down on us, that they are not used to dealing with women as equals and expect us to furnish their every need. My manager says its a cultural thing, and I agree Roth her to some extent... Except you DO find rude people everywhere. I used to be a receptionist in the insurance industry, I've had my share of people shouting at me.
It is reassuring when your boss has your back, telling you not to put up with rudeness and tiger them to defer to her. But I can't help wondering, how much of a cultural thing is it?