Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tough Topics: Rude Customers

     As a server, I dealt with people snapping their fingers at me or waving me over or being completely demanding. I would start off with, "Hello! My name is Rachel and I'll be taking great care of you today. How are you doing?" Most of the time, I would get to my name before I was rudely interrupted with, "I'll have a Diet Coke with extra lemon" or "Bread, we're still looking at drinks".

     I had several times were I was lectured about, "These booths are too far away from the tables. I bet you only serve fat people." Excuse me? "This bread is stale." or "I need more butter/ranch/dipping sauce/lemons/etc. You barely give anything in this little bowl." Or, the ever so popular, "What's taking so long?" when there's parties of twenty, the lunch time rush, and they ordered a well-done steak.

     The worst part, in my opinion, was that guys seemed to think that it was okay to hit on me at any given time. I never flirted with my customers. I won't lie, a lot of servers will do it for bigger tips, but I never did. I was in a relationship the entire time that I worked in restaurants (and still am, now). They still thought it was okay to touch my arms or my hands or to make suggestive comments. (Here's a secret: Servers hate physical contact with guests and have to go wash up afterwards.)

     Customers would change their kids' diapers at the table and let them slobber all over the salt shakers or throw the sugar packets on the floor, along with half of their food. They would just not pay attention and then when they left, I would have a $3 tip and it looked like a dumpster exploded.

     All of it is rude. I understand that there are problem- generally speaking, I think all servers understand that- but since they (and I, at one point) lived on only tips, there was little to no chance that they were purposefully causing problems. I was even bitched out a few times because the soda machine stopped working and we had to call in a guy to fix it, so they couldn't have a full list of our soda products (only what was also on tap in the bar).

     After I started in retail, I dealt with a woman screaming at me because the store credit would not come up in my computer. It said that it was expired, which the owner later explained to me, meant that it had been previously used. She screamed at me and tried to take a video, tried to have me sign things, all saying that I was stealing money from her. A whole $35, that she wanted to use on our buy one get one free on sandals.

     Later, I had a woman scream at me because our store credit can only be used at the location it came from. Each store has a different barcode system- there is literally nothing we can do short of stealing from the store. We're supposed to tell them that when they return the shoes to begin with. She said that our business would go under and basically said that we were the scum of the earth, because she had to drive five whole miles to the other location.

     Kids come in screaming all time. One kid punched one of our glass windows and their father came in and yelled at one of my girls, saying that it was too breakable and that he would sue if his child had gotten hurt. Never mind the fact, that the glass is very secure, until somebody sucker punches it. Never mind the fact, that technically it would be the mall's problem, if it was the glass and not the kid, because we are renting the space but they built it.

     All of that is pretty uncalled for. Yesterday, I think I had the worst one happen yet.

     A few days ago, the store owner called and asked if we had a certain shoe in stock. I said yes. He asked me to please put it on hold under his name so that he could pick it up and take it to another store. I said, "Of course. It's on the counter for you." Yesterday, he called and had one of my girls bring it out to his car so that he could get it to the other location quickly.

     Half an hour to an hour later, that girl left and another girl came in. We were getting busy when a mother and daughter came in. They said that they had shoes on hold, so I took them to the counter and asked the name. We didn't have any shoes on hold for that name, so they said it was under the owner's name. I asked if they were the $32 red pumps. They said yes. I said, "The owner picked them up this morning and took them to the other store."

     The daughter said, "Are you fucking kidding me?" The mother came over and asked what the problem was. After she found out, she then proceeded to scream, "I HAVE SPENT SIX HUNDRED FUCKING DOLLARS IN THIS STORE AND ALL YOU DO IS GIVE US THE RUN AROUND! WE HAVE BEEN BACK AND FORTH AND NOBODY EVER FUCKING KNOWS WHATS GOING ON!"

     I tried to apologize for the inconvenience. She said, "THAT'S WHAT THE GIRL AT THE OTHER STORE SAID! THIS IS THE LAST FUCKING TIME I BUY ANYTHING FROM THIS SHIT STORE!" Then they proceeded to head to the door.

     I called, "HAVE A NICE DAY!" after them. Probably not appropriate, but I couldn't help myself. I say they're lucky that I didn't jump over the counter at them. They came back in. "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU SAY TO ME!?" The only remaining customers in the store said, "Dude, she wished you a nice day." The bitches asked my name and my employee's name, so we told them. After they left, the nice customers came up and apologized for humanity.

     Then I called the owner to warn him what was happening. He was in shock. He said, "They made a huge fuss about having them shipped because your store is too far of a drive. They were calling the girls there bitches for not having the right size. I can't believe they showed up like that when they demanded to have the shoes brought to the other store. I'll take care of it."

     You're probably wondering why and how all of this is in the Tough Topics series.

     It all ties in together because I want to know how, when, and why our society became so horrible that people think it's okay to cuss out other people for no real reason. I get that they wanted the shoes, but they had not been paid for yet and the shoes were being shipped to the other store as they wanted to be. I get that customers can be in a hurry, but then they should probably order things that won't take twenty minutes to cook, especially when the restaurant is clearly busy.

     It is never, ever okay to abuse somebody just because things are not going your way.

     It is never, ever okay to treat somebody worse than garbage just because you're having an issue in your own life.

     It is never, ever okay to take your anger out on anybody, at any time, for any reason.

     I had a friend who said she was going to bitch out the customer service rep who answered the phone for her cable company, because the bill wasn't correct. How, in the actual fuck, is that the rep's problem? She's there to fix the problems, not cause them.

     I've known several people who cuss out and threaten telemarketers. We can probably all agree that it's an annoying thing, but they're just trying to pay the bills like everyone else. Be polite to them because Lord knows, in our society, you could be the only nice person that they speak to all day.

     Wolfy (my boyfriend, for my lovely new followers/friends) and I went to Game Stop the other day. A game cost $49.99 before tax and the total came up to $54.32. A woman prepaid $5 on it so when she went to pick it up, the total was $48 and change. He spent twenty minutes explaining that that $5 basically paid for the tax. She was mad and said that the company was basically stealing that money, because she didn't understand where it was going to and she ended up with a refund. He never lost his patience with her and I was impressed, but she kept getting madder and madder.

     Next time you go somewhere- anywhere- just be especially nice to whoever helps you. Just because the job didn't require a college degree or the employee is young or something goes wrong, does not mean that they are less of a person or that you need to attack them and bully them.

     When you scream, yell at, and belittle anybody, it is verbal abuse. Don't verbally abuse somebody. I'm sure you don't want somebody doing that to you, your children, or your best friends.

     We are all equal, no matter how much money or education we have. We are all equal, no matter who we are or where we come from. Nothing should ever change that so don't forget it, whether you're the one a customer attacks or you're the customer who has something go wrong.

19 comments:

  1. Are you sure it's "never okay to take out your anger on someone" not even the super gross parents who change their baby at a restaurant table literally calling into question the phrase "don't shit where you eat"? That seems like a pretty good opportunity to take out your frustration by verbally abusing people who seem to not know how to interact with polite society. I'll take your word for it, but I can't promise anything if I see that happening. Yuck. I mean, just yuck-o.

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    1. It's even worse when they leave a poopy diaper on the table for the server to clean up.

      I'm sure though. I want to scream at them and then go take a boiling bleach bath, but neither is actually a good idea.

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  2. Ug...who do people think they are? I could never work in customer service because people blame the person in front of them all the time. Its not fair and I would not be able to deal with it. Kudos to you for handling it with class!!

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    1. I almost went off on her. The only reason I think I was able to control my temper is because they were out the door too fast. The same reason why I didn't call security. I would have love to see those bitches in mall jail though.

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    2. LOL yes, that would be funny. You could show up with a bag of popcorn and watch them behind bars. ;)

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  3. I truly don't know how people work in the service industry. I could never do it. I have a fiery temper and a knack for insult comedy. I'd last as a server or a store associate all of 2 hours before I got fired for making some rude customer cry.

    I think for some reason people have this disconnect with their fellow humans, in that to them, the person behind the counter is not a living, breathing person with feelings, they are just a robot that's put there to serve them. What's more, they ARE the company, and if the customer can't stand in front of the CEO and tell them what they really think, then the poor teenage girl making minimum wage is probably an acceptable substitute (it's not).

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    1. I think you're exactly right. I only wish I could understand why people have that disconnect with other humans.

      I have a short fuse and an extremely protective instinct to other people, especially people I feel responsible for (my friends and family and employees, and Heaven forbid somebody insults my boyfriend). The only reason I didn't go over the counter after them is shock, I think.

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  4. Now I know why servers and salespeople adore me.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Because you're a wonderful person who actually respects that they are people?

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  5. My mom used to get bitchy with service people and I would always tell her to stop, because seriously, it is not the waitress/store clerk/sales person's fault!

    I was at a restaurant recently where the pop machine went down. It just needed a reboot (was a fancy new type of machine) and while the server was working on it, she had these customers coming back and back to see if it was working yet and grumping at the server that it was taking so long. But, hello, she was in the middle of working on it! What else could she possibly have been doing to make it work faster? So bizarre how grown adults basically act like children!

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    1. I think I would have gotten snappy with the people who were getting mad at the server. I'm not sure I could have kept myself from telling them to calm the fuck down, it's better to drink water anyways.

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  6. It is so hard to work with the public! If they would just be respectful, life would be so much easier!

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    1. Customers can literally make your day or ruin it. I remember both.

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  7. I waited tables for almost a decade and I definitely came across my share of rude customers. I am a firm believer that everyone should have to work in food service at least once in their life :)

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    1. I totally agree! Food service and retail, both for a year each. People would be so much nicer to each other. I think we just solved the crime rate problem.

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  8. It is horrible how you were treated and I get furious when I see a family leave a table looking like a dumpster exploded. Too many people feel entitled and that they can be waited on. There are good people who aren't rude, but there are way too many rude ones. If only they knew what they looked like.

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    1. Whenever I got a repeat horrible customer, I would make sure that I was so OVERLY nice that it was sickening, annoying, and there wasn't a damn thing that they could say. "Oh, she was horrible! She said 'thank you' and 'sir' so many times!" Yeah, that would go over well with a manager.

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  9. I never worked retail, but I worked at a movie theater. I also waitressed and briefly worked at Fazoli's, an Italian fast food restaurant. I had the worst treatment at the theater. We had several customers attempt to come to blows with teenagers. One kid had a large cup of ice thrown in his face, breaking his glasses and cutting his face. At 16 years old, I lost it and went after the customer verbally as my co-worker bled and stood there quietly. My manager gave the customer free movies and drink and popcorn coupons and apologized profusely. I was disciplined. They should have called the police. That was assault and battery. But the managers mistreated us as much as the customers, so of course they never did anything about the physical attacks or the verbal attacks. Not once did the managers there defend an employee (until I got promoted.) I've also questioned where people decided they had the right to treat others this way. It's astounding.

    I'm sorry you had such a crappy experience. And sometimes it's impossible not to take that parting shot. It hurts to let someone walk away after abusing you that way. I know, for me, I want them to know they've done wrong.

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    1. The customer should have been arrested and the manager should have been sued. I would have quit on the spot and gone straight to a news station. I will protect my girls. I get more angry when somebody goes after them than when they go after me.

      Some girl was flirting with one of my girls. She said that she was married and pregnant. He said, "Oh, that's okay, we can get you divorced and you can name it after me." If I had been at work, I would have called security on him and have him removed for sexually harassing one of my employees. She was working alone that day. I got on her case about not putting up with that and if it gets that bad and she's uncomfortable, at least call in a kiosk guy from the hall to stay with her until she's safe.

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