Author Topic: Not sure what I could have done.  (Read 2913 times)

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redcat

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Not sure what I could have done.
« on: January 16, 2013, 07:08:57 AM »
I work on the till at a supermarket, and yesterday my manager came to me and said a woman had complained to him that I was snappy with her.  I had a think, and I think I know what happened.  A woman came up to the till and put her items down.  They were a little out of reach, so I asked her to please push them towards me.  She didn't hear, or at least didn't respond, so I asked her again.  She again didn't hear, so I repeated myself again, a little louder.  This time she did catch that I'd said something, and asked me to repeat myself.  So for the fourth time I asked her.  By this time I was quite loud, and speaking quite sharply, trying to enunciate as clearly as possible.  She heard me, and obliged.

So it's quite probable that by the time she heard me, I did sound quite snappy.  My manager understood this and was satisfied.  But I don't like that she thought I was rude, but I can't think of a better way to handle it, short of tapping her on her shoulder to get her attention.  Any thoughts?

RebeccainGA

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 09:23:31 AM »
I don't think there's anything you can do in that situation. After the fourth time, you'd likely be almost shouting, which is going to sound terse and cranky no matter what your initial tone was - and that's not your fault! Maybe try waving your hand a bit after the first time, as if you were signalling, so that she can understand that you are trying to get her attention, but really? Not your fault.

bah12

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 10:38:57 AM »
There may not have been much you could do, but if the woman was distracted and/or hard of hearing, I would have tried to get her attention, waited until she was looking right at me, and then said "I'm having trouble reaching those items.  Can you please push them a little closer to me?"

Other than that,  I would have gone and done it myself...if for no other reason, then to save time.

Shoo

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 11:16:16 AM »
I think about the only thing you can do is, going forward, make sure you are smiling warmly.  Even if you have to raise your voice to be heard (multiple times), a warm smile can take the sting out of it.

CakeBeret

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 11:26:05 AM »
Another thing I think you could do is say "Ma'am" or "Excuse me" in a loud tone, and then once you have her attention, smile and make your request in a softer tone.
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DottyG

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 11:50:03 AM »
I agree with Shoo.  A smile can soften words.


Zilla

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 12:21:09 PM »
After the second time, I would have just walked around and push the items closer smiling at her.  I think it's a bit odd that you said it 4 times in a row.  If for some reason you can't leave your register, I would have waved at her with a smile and catch her attention or wait till she looked over wondering why you are waiting.

YummyMummy66

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 02:38:54 PM »
Can I ask why you did not just go around and push the items down yourself?

After the second time of trying to ask this lady nicely to push her items down, I would have done so myself. 

I think ti would have taken the same time to push the items down yourself as it did to speak loudly to said loudly four times to do so.

yokozbornak

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 04:05:03 PM »
I worked in a grocery store years ago, and it was usually impossible to walk around and move a customer's items because I was blocked in.  The OP may not have had the option to move the items herself.

OP, I think smiling and saying, "Excuse me" may be your best option if this happens again.  Also, some people get upset no matter how polite you are so don't beat yourself up over one incident.

LEMon

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 05:29:58 PM »
I like the idea of a hand wave.  I wear earplugs to deal with noise sometimes so I can be a little deaf.  The motion would get my attention.  Though I try to be watching the cashier so I can answer questions.

I wouldn't ever touch a customer.

Sign Of The Times

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 05:32:37 PM »
I work on the till at a supermarket, and yesterday my manager came to me and said a woman had complained to him that I was snappy with her.  I had a think, and I think I know what happened.  A woman came up to the till and put her items down.  They were a little out of reach, so I asked her to please push them towards me.  She didn't hear, or at least didn't respond, so I asked her again.  She again didn't hear, so I repeated myself again, a little louder.  This time she did catch that I'd said something, and asked me to repeat myself.  So for the fourth time I asked her.  By this time I was quite loud, and speaking quite sharply, trying to enunciate as clearly as possible.  She heard me, and obliged.

So it's quite probable that by the time she heard me, I did sound quite snappy.  My manager understood this and was satisfied.  But I don't like that she thought I was rude, but I can't think of a better way to handle it, short of tapping her on her shoulder to get her attention.  Any thoughts?
Sorry to hear that.

I guess I'd say, instruct her in conversational tone to push them more closely. If she doesn't hear (as you say), stand and smile, keeping eye contact with her. When she (inevitably) looks for the holdup, you wave the things closer to you.

And if she doesn't notice, customers behind her will. "Ma'am -- please move forward!"

That's not perfect either, but in no way could someone say you were in the wrong.
The best way out is always through. -- Frost

redcat

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Re: Not sure what I could have done.
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2013, 03:48:08 PM »
Hi, OP here.  Right, I'll go with a wave and a smile in the future.

I didn't go round to push the items forward for a couple of reasons.  Because I was hoping she'd hear me the next time, that would result in getting the items and scanning them faster than going round myself (moving around the till would take a little while, certainly quicker than her just pushing.  I also thought it might come across as a bit passive aggressive, like I was saying she was too stupid to know how to use a till.  Thirdly, I'm a bit stubborn ;)

I've said in the past we need one of those stick things casino croupiers have, to pull things towards us.  I have also said (as a joke!) that I should get people's attention by throwing a creme egg at them.  They would get to keep the creme egg though.