There is defintely a point at which courtesy is not longer deserved. I’m not saying the above incident was one of them.
To clarify, there was no screaming in the above incident, but there certainly was a very upset woman who was pushed to making various demands (“I want you to either tell the bus driver to drive us to the airport when he gets back or pay for a cab. If you don’t I am not going to sign the credit card receipt, and I’m going to dispute any charges that show up on my credit card statement.”). For her, that was ballistic. In fact, for many people that is ballistic.
Once again, I’ve never worked in retail, but I have never seen a customer yell at a representative in the way you all think happened. IMO yelling is an act of violence, and would be unexcusable. But lets be clear, yelling, to the point where it is a violent act, happens, what, once every six months in a high volume store and once every couple of years in a small mom and pop? That is not what we are talking about (I don’t think). If you all are saying I’m totally out of touch and an act of violent yelling is occuring daily or weekly, then I’m behind you 100%. However, I think we are not talking about yelling, but discourteous behavior.
But, I should say, I have heard of situations where screaming would have been appropriate (in the below case my friend actually just hung up).
My friend: “its 4:10, is the airport van going to be here soon, they were supposed to pick me up at 4:00”
Phone representative: “they are en route now, should be there in a couple of minutes”
Friend: “Its 4:30, where are they?”
Rep: “they are in your neighborhood, and should be right there”
Friend: “Its 4:50, what’s going on?”
Rep: “the van decided to skip you because you were too far out of the way”
Friend: “What?!?! Why didn’t you call me? What am I supposed to do? I have a plane at 6:00”
Rep: “Well, if I were you, I would have called a taxi 45 minutes ago.”
Nope, IMHO, that person is no longer deserving even a glimmer of courteous behavior.
BTW, alice_in_wonderland, closing a door in someone’s face is an act of hostility that I can’t imagine needing to resort to more than once a decade. If, in your opinion, 1 out of 20 people is a troublemaker, then I have a strong suspicion that you are closing the door on a lot of people.
If I saw you act that way to a customer, you can be sure I would never shop there again (more than once I have stopped patronizing stores that were rude to other customers).
Not that I’m saying representatives need to kowtow (although the good know that the best way to diffuse a situation is with an apology). I’m saying that an representative should NEVER escalate a situation. If I saw one of my employees respond to a rude and abrasive person by closing the door in their face, they would be fired in a heartbeat (unless they were physically menacing, such as violently yelling, then closing the door would not be an escalation).
Having paying customers is not an entitlement. Anyone who believes otherwise is either close to being unemployed, or has a monopoly on some good/service.
Oh, and Guinastasia, that’s just more of the “its not my fault” argument. You are the representative. If you are the highest ranking representative, it is your job to solve problems that other representatives caused. If, as the highest ranking representative you have no authority to solve problems, my heart won’t break when the business fails.