So he made her cry

I am a cashier at a a certain food store in town. Well today a customer came in with a coupon for so much off two bags of veggies, turns out said customer grabbed the wrong brand of veggies. Well when the cashier (a friend of mine) told him and offered to get him the correct brand he just went off on her. Eventualy storming out telling her to shove the veggies up her you know where.
Now when she told me this my first thought was “this job doesn’t pay enough” then I wondered what I would have said. Probably something that would have got me canned. So what about my fellow dopers, what would you have said??

I would have turned around, and informed my manager that there was a huge dickhead who was being unreasonable. It’s not her job to take that kind of abuse. Just turn around and walk away.

Having worked plenty of years in grocery stores (natural foods stores are the WORST) I’ve seen plenty of nasty customers. One incident in particular comes to mind. A friend of mine was ringing up a lady and she’d made a mistake somehow (I’ve never been a cashier, always a deli clerk, but I was standing in line to buy my lunch) and the woman went off on her and screamed at the top of her lungs, “Are you stupid!?!” My friend kept her calm and smiled and said, “Why, yes I am. Thank you for noticing.” The woman was never seen again in our particular store.

The more you deal with the general public, the thicker your skin needs to be. One of the cooks on the hot deli side told me once that our customer should come with warning lables.

You live in Minnesota. I thought Minnesotans were famous for courtesy. What’s up? Four years of Jesse taking its toll? :wink:

How about the standard “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

I don’t know. I can never think of anything biting and witty until days later, and even then . . .

Sometimes it just feels better to be extra nice to those people – makes you feel a bit superior, like “Hey, I live in the same world you do, and look how much better I’m dealing with it.”

For whatever it’s worth, I’m glad every day that I don’t work in the service industry or retail, or any place that deals with the public. Most people appreciate what you do, even if they don’t tell you.


Thanks Pam you don’t know how much that means. I deal with MN and WI people every day and normaly they are nothing but nice. But from time to time you come across the people who think your their personal punching bag. I’ve worked at this store for over almost two years now and the worst customer i’ve persoanly had to deal with just ignored me. See we still have Minnesota nice :smiley:

About 10 years ago when I was still a teenager and really dumb, I tried that crap about getting irate with the people working when they made a small mistake. It was probably some “look! I can make people take me seriously” thing.

Anyways, I remember getting mad about something at a drive thru and the cashier girl (who was really about my age) just smiled and remained nice and courteous. And I felt like a complete ass. I’ve since changed my ways and realize that everyone makes mistakes once in a while.

So, my advice is that yes, witty remarks can make you feel better, but pouring on the kindness will make you feel best. I try to employ the same tactic, and if you watch peoples faces, you can see the point where they realize that they won’t make you angry or hurt your feelings, and they don’t know how to react to that. You are definitely not a door mat for doing this, you’re a better person.

That’s because she just handed you a spit-burger.

Remember: Never, ever, ever be an ass or otherwise piss off the restaurant staff before you get your food.

I always found that for a good ranting customer, look ‘em in the eye and say with all seriousness. “Oh, I’m sorry- did you say something?”, then call the manager if they aren’t stomping off yet. It’s not rude (you can actually say “Well, yes, he was screaming in my face, but I just couldn’t make out what he was saying! whoops!”)
If you let screaming customers make you cry, you’ll have a very difficult time in retail. You have to bear in mind that there are loads and loads of mentally ill people, grouchy people, jerky people, people who just got dumped, people who just found out they’re pregnant and cant’ identify the father, etc. Sometimes the veggies will just set them off and there is nothing you can do.
The rule of thumb is to just call the manager, shake your head, and move on with your day.

People who feel they have no control over their own lives often abuse wait staff and cashiers because somehow, it makes them feel powerful. My own sister was like this. How she got that way is beyond me, but … I finally stopped going out to dinner with her because she embarrassed the hell out of me. She would order a steak “well done” and then complain because it was “too done”. Drove me nuts. I wanted to hide under the table.

This is my own sister and I don’t understand it. The only thing I’ve EVER sent back to the kitchen was a salad (in a very posh restaurant) that had a little worm crawling on it. Yuck!! Now, THAT, I’ll send back. If my food isn’t exactly to my liking, I don’t complain. It isn’t going to kill me to eat a steak that I ordered “medium rare” that comes back “medium”.

Once when my Mom was very ill, my sister got an emergency flight from Germany to come home. I was picking her up at the airport. When I got to the airport, I immediately went to the person at the courtesy desk to see if he would page her, as we were a little late. He told me that he had “an emergency” and was very flustered, saying he couldn’t help me right away. I said that was fine and waited about 15 minutes. When I went back to him, he asked me how he could help me and I said, could you please page “blah blah”. He looks up with a very excited look on his face and says “THAT was my emergency”. It seems my dear sister had been bullying this guy, saying the Red Cross (no less) owed her a free taxi ride to where she was going since it was an emergency! I felt so bad for the guy because I know how she can be … I told him if he would page her, that I would take care of his “emergency” and get her the hell out of there.

She once bought a bedspread and used it for a year. Then, she was tired of it. So, she took it back to the store and made such a scene that the clerk finally let her return it. Luckily, I wasn’t an eyewitness to this event.

People who try to bully other people are just really unhappy campers. I like that saying that says if someone is nice to you, but not nice to the waiter, then they are NOT nice. I believe that.

I understand that mistakes happen. I’ve only gone off on service folks a very few times in my life and never by screaming at them. It only happens when they are unbelievably rude first or when I’ve figured out they they’ve lied to me. That lying thing makes me lose it.

That said, I had a very interesting experience over Chrismastime. A good friend of mine owns a very popular little deli in town. It’s located at the end of a shopping mall. It usually takes three to four empoyees to run the place but over the Holidays he needs five people to make the place run smoothly since it’s so busy. So, he got me to help him out on the weekends between Thanksgiving and New Years. When you give your order you get a little number and go sit down. I was the guy who called out the numbers and brought people their food.

I must admit that I was expecting all kinds of customer horror stories of Holiday Curtomer Hell. One of the reasons I agreed to help my friend was that I was anticipating getting to add to the hilarious Pit threads that always appear that time of year. Unfortuately, actually fortunately, there wasn’t one single incident of customer rudeness that I had to face. Everyone was really nice. The occasional person was a little weird or something but no one yelled or was over the top.

Is this sort of stuff really that common or is it the very occasional total fuckhead that sticks in your mind?


I just returned to the west coast (USA) from back east last week and had a situation that sums up what some of you have been saying about kindness being more effective than rudeness.

I was supposed to fly out on ATA, with a stop over in Chicago. When I got to the check in, the person at the counter said that due to a delay in my flight I would rpobably miss my connecting flight in Chicago. They looked up a flight with USAir, which had virtually the same schedule, all I had to do was go over to the USAir terminal (50 yards away) and get checked in. At this point I could have been an asshole about what an inconvenince it was, etc. etc. but I was freindly, even doing the “wow you guys look busy, thanks for catching that so I didn’t get stranded in Chicago” banter thing.

So I go over to USAir anf the terminal is wall to wall humanity, I ask an employee which line I should be in and she points at this monster queue, snaking all over the place through barriers, just brutal. I step into line for about 20 seconds and think “fuck this”, I walk about halfway down the line and ask this businessman (who looked like he was going to cry) how long he had been waiting in line, he looks over at me and says “over an hour”. I look up at the departure display and the flight number they had me on wasn’t even on there! Man I am fairly ticked off at this point, I am going to go back to ATA and light them up.

When I get back to ATA fate would have it that I end up with the same person who had found the USAir flight in the first place, I am about to start bitching and she says something along the lines of “back so soon, is there something wrong” in this really nice, helpful way. That makes me pause for a second so I take a mental step back and explain the problem in pleasant voice. She says that the flights sometimes don’t show up on the departure screen until closer to departure time, and that USAir was having some technical difficulties which might have something to do with the packed terminal as well. I ask if there is any other carrier she can put me on and she says no that is the only flight. At this point I am really not interested in going back to the pit of USAir despair and I ask her to double check, maybe someone else might know of something? I am being nice but firm, she turns to a supervisor looking woman and asks for help. After a few minutes they find a flight on America West with ONE seat left. They even call the America West desk and have them hold it for me!

So I book over to America Westand the guy there has like row 33 middle seat for me. So I just try it again, I am nice about it, empathetic of how hectic it is with the weather (there was that big snow storm),etc. and ask if there isn’t any seat closer to the front, and hope against hope, a window seat. He kind of looks at me and say “lemme see what i can do” he does some checking and basically decides that even though the flight doesn’t leave for a couple hours, he will give me the bulkhead! Row 10 window with no seat in front of me! On BOTH flights! And I had time to go to the airport bar and get hammered! Wooohoo!

Lesson learned.

I won’t launch into the whole sordid story but I actually ended up saying exactly that to a customer at one of my tables when I was working as a server. I only got a mild warning from my boss as apparently the guy was a notorious asshole ;).

You have to wonder why the notorious asshole is still allowed in the joint. There are a few people banned for life at my friend’s deli that I mentioned a few posts back. I can certainly see someone snapping after a lousy day. If someone is a serial asshole, it is never worth it to do business with them.


I was working for a frozen yogurt store quite a few years ago and we had this one customer that we all hated. She just complained about everything. One night when it was just me and a friend there the lady came in and predictably complained about everything. I was silent until she made the comment that everytime she comes in it’s always something - we could never get anything right. I just asked her if she was too stupid to take her business down the street or if they locked their doors when they saw her coming.

She asked to speak to my manager so I went to get my friend from out of the back where she was stuffing her fists in her mouth to keep from snorting out loud. She composed herself, went out there and listened to the lady rant and assured her that it would be taken care of.

We laughed all night about that. The lady did come back mind you and she was surprised to see me still working there but she just took care of business and left. No more ranting.

Sorry, I know that had no bearing on your situation, night. It’s true that some people just have no control over their lives and so that’s the way they find some control. My sis was the same way for awhile too but fortunatly she’s matured a lot.