November 21, 2011

Tis the Season... for Rudeness

Working retail means I definitely have my fill of rude customers. For the most part, I like interacting with people, but in the last week I encountered two women who were hard to deal with.
The first one I was at least able to help and send her on her way. The second woman, however, was clearly in a bad mood and felt it was best to take it out on me. 
I made a mistake in her transaction and when she pointed it out to me, I promptly apologized. She berated me and then demanded a manager. Then, when the manager arrived, she yelled some more and went into some racist tangent about illegal immigrants. It's really not worth explaining. I'm a blonde haired, blue-eyed, fair skinned American. I'm still trying to figure out the connection between what happened and illegal immigrants. (The woman behind her in line had no problem looking at the woman and telling her she was out of control, along with using some choice profanity. I must admit, I appreciated the fact that someone was standing up to the rude lady).
It bothers me when people are this rude and cruel. Clearly this particular customer's intent was to degrade and belittle me. Why? Who knows. Because she had a bad day? Because I'm a service worker and she knows I can't fight back without risking my job? Because she thinks anyone who works retail must not be educated? I've left stores angry over service issues, but I've never gone so far as to berate an employee. If I'm that hot over something, I'll go home and think about it. If it still bothers me, I'll write either corporate headquarters or the store's manager. On the other hand, if someone goes above and beyond, I'll write a glowing letter to corporate to let them know how much I appreciated the service.
I can usually blow off rude customer encounters. This one, however, has been hard to shake. It's not even Black Friday and already the overly rude customers are making themselves known. I'm a little worried about what's in store for the rest of this holiday season.


MaryAnne said...

I'm so sorry. I always go out of my way to be nice to service employees. They are there to help you, so you should probably be grateful they are there.

An acquaintance of mine posted a scathing rant about IKEA's return policy this weekend - without detailing why she was so upset about it, just saying it was "ridiculous". I've shopped at IKEA enough to know that their return policy is stricter than some stores, but always figured it was part of their ability to sustain low prices... Isn't it the consumer's responsibility to read return policies before buying?

Heather said...

Wow, so sorry that happened to you. It always amazes me how people feel they can take out their anger on the people who least deserve it. I have had my share of moments where I have been upset about something but I also keep in mind that it's not typically the person's fault who is fielding my phone call about my dissatisfaction. I'm glad the customer behind her spoke up and said some of what you were probably thinking yourself, but was unable to say. Hopefully this means black friday will be a much better day now that you got that rude customer out of the way.

Quadmama said...

I've actually found most customers are pretty happy on Black Friday. If they're crazy enough to get out of bed that early, then they must be in a good mood!

Summer said...

I am sorry this woman was so rude. Its amazing how people think they can belittle those around them. I find that those people are trying to deflect how they feel about themselves onto someone else.

reanbean said...

That's really too bad. I feel for retail workers during the busy holiday shopping time of the year. I'm sure you get way more dumped on you than anyone could imagine.

I avoid the mall and department stores at all costs after Thanksgiving. Partly beacuse I have a hard time with the chaos of the crowd, but also becuase there are just so many obnoxiously rude shoppers out there. I don't want to deal with them complaining in the aisles, and I don't want to listen to them trowing a fit at the register.

Hopefully you'll encounter way more curteous shoppers this season than rude ones. Fingers crossed!

Quadmama said...

I know that there are times when the employees are out of line... but I hate it when customers go out of their way to be rude. Last night, fortunately, was a "good" night at work :)

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