General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Need help with unfriendly coworker

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A few weeks ago I found myself  in an uncomfortable set to at work.  Then a few days ago I was subjected to a vitriolic public drubbing by the same person.  My  original plan was to "see and not see" this woman.  No more interaction than a simple 'good morning'.  But after the latest incident, I am leaning toward bringing in our respective supervisors and asking for a meeting to end the unprofessional behavior.
In the first incident I had asked a stockperson to check on the availability of an item that the inventory sheet led me to believe  we had.   About an hour later a different stockperson came toward me and, at a distance that required raising her voice, proceeded to explain why I should never ask  stock people to do anything, especially since the stock rooms were no longer conveniently located, and I should instead call branch stores or look on the .com on the customer's behalf.  All this in a hectoring  tone while I was ringing sales.  I  was blindsided and momentarily confused because I had not asked  her for anything, and had already satisfied the earlier customer (took her name and number and conferencing with her and a branch store  by phone).  When  I could get a  word in edgewise I said fine I won't ask you for anything ever.  Needless to say the customers were disturbed.
    The second incident was just strange.  During a very busy sales day I heard my name almost yelled out.  And then "I'm talking to you.  You're supposed to answer the phone.  Why didn't you answer the phone.  The customer has been waiting for an hour".  There was much more but this was the gist.  Towards the end of her ranting she could hardly get  the words out she was so infuriated.   The problem was that the phones hadn't been ringing.  At all.  I want to point out that (1) this was the same person that told me to never request anything for a customer, and that(2) the sales person who had asked her for help  was five feet from me with a phone on her counter, and (3) after three rings the  call is bounced to the other phone.   So if any questioning was even appropriate it should have been "why didn't either of you  answer the phone?"  I told her that my phone did not ring, and repeated that once.  After that I tried to get my mind back on the task at hand.   A little later I heard her asking the other cashier what the extension number was. So she was not certain  that she even called the correct #, and yet made no effort at an apology.  While I would prefer to get along well with all coworkers, I am quite prepared to  see and not see her forevermore.  But I am not willing to be bullied.
    I have just talked myself into bringing in management to handle this , but is  there anything that I can say to just stop her if she does this again?  Something polite.

This person seems way out line to me. 

If I were you, in an immediate situation with her I would quietly and politely keep asking her questions to thoroughly explain what she is trying to say.  Keep your voice low and polite, no matter what her decibel level.  The more that she says, the stranger she will probably sound.

I wouldn't involve both supervisors yet.  After she does some other bizarre thing, and she will, I would talk to my supervisor and ask her to clarify procedures, and how you should deal with these situations.  Keep it professional on your part, and let her Darwin herself.

Thank you doodlemor.   I do want to keep the peace for everyones' sake. This woman prides herself on being blunt and not being other than formally polite. One of her oft repeated statement is that she" tells it like it is and whoever doesn't like it can..."  But that day  she looked extremely...unstable?  She was shaking with fury. 

Best of luck with this situation, sidi-ji.  I'm sure that many ehellers will have some apt advice for you after they have a chance to read your thread. 

It sounds to me like she isn't very stable, either.  I also think that she is not very good at her job, whether it is from confusion or inertia I don't know.  I think that is why she gets angry, because she is frustrated.

document, document, document - just to cya...

time, date, location, who else was present, and what each of you said

when I ended up having to talk to a supervisor due to a similar experience I had all my documentation in one of those little pocket journals - needless to say the fact that I had it ... helped me/my case


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