General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

When a customer really, really dislikes you...and won't shut up about it!

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SamiHami:
I work PT in a gift shop/contract post office. Most of our business is for the post office side of things. About two weeks ago I encountered an incredibly rude customer! She is an elderly lady that comes in a couple of times a week. This was my first time waiting on her.

Essentially, she had 3 letters with her and wanted one of them to go into a Priority Mail envelope. She handed it to me, I put it in the envelope and processed her postage. She then realized that the wrong letter was in the envelope and proceeded to throw a loud tantrum about it, claiming that it was all my fault, that I was incompetent, etc. I reminded her that she handed the letter to me to place in the Priority envelope, but she loudly denied that (how would I know which of he 3 letters she wanted to go out priority?).

Trying to remain pleasant, I told her it was no problem, we could easily fix it and I carefully reopened the envelope, placed the correct letter in it, and taped it shut. Well, she didn't like that. It didn't look neat enough for her. I explained that, since postage had already been printed and affixed to that envelope we had to use it. Her tantrum continued; I remained calm and tried to placate her. A coworker saw what was going on and took over the transaction, doing precisely what I was doing. The entire time the customer was loudly carrying on and on about how the envelope didn't look "neat" enough for her and how incompetent I was. She then dropped to a whisper as she carried on to CW, but I couldn't hear what she was saying. She was bad enough that after she left the other customers in line started talking about her ("what is wrong with that woman?" "Is she crazy?" that sort of thing).

Later CW told me that the woman had been whispering to her about the government. Did you know that the government uses lasers to open the trunk of her car frequently? CW pointed out that she might be hitting the trunk button on her key ring by mistake when using the auto door locks. No, it's the government. She didn't explain why the government would want to do this. She also explained that the people at COSTCO are "out to get her." She apparently rambled on with more interesting comments before she left. Her final words to CW were that we were not permitted to talk about her after she left the store.

She has come in a couple of times since then and refuses to let me serve her, which is fine, but she carries on loudly every time about how awful I am! She asked my boss (the store owner) why she keeps me on when I am so terrible, she might just have to take her business elsewhere, etc. Of course my boss knows better than to believe her-we've known each other for 30+ years.

I don't care if she dislikes me; not everyone is going to love me. But I really don't like the way she carries on in front of other customers. I doubt there is much I can do about it b/c I think if I say anything to her it would just set her off again. Still, if anyone has ideas for getting her to quiet down when she comes in...

LeveeWoman:
I'd duck into the backroom when I saw her coming.

SamiHami:
Not always practical since there are other customers there that need to be served.

Yvaine:
She sounds batpoo crazy. I'm sure the other customers can tell she's a few marbles short; I wouldn't worry too much about what they'll think of you after hearing her. And look on the bright side: If she won't let you serve her, you don't have to listen to her diatribes about the government. I think every workplace has a regular or two like this.

LeveeWoman:

--- Quote from: SamiHami on January 11, 2013, 07:53:53 AM ---Not always practical since there are other customers there that need to be served.

--- End quote ---

Your boss needs to take over. I don't know what she should say, but dealing with nuts is one of a boss' jobs.

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