Stories of the abuse of service folk

I was just perusing this thread, specifically, this post, wherein palacheck talks about someone snapping at their waitress to “hurry up”, and it got me to thinking: though I’ve definitely witnessed my fair share of people getting rude with their server/cashier/Best Buy worker, etc., I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone be as rude as to literally, and apropos of nothing, bark orders such as “hurry up” to their server. I don’t doubt that that type of shit goes on all the time; it’s just that I’ve not seen it.

So, I was wondering if anyone would care to share some (not-so-charming) anecdotes wherein they’ve witnessed the absolute basest service person abuse. It could be a total stranger; it could be a friend or family member; it could even (eek!) have been you (hey, we all have bad days, amirite…?). Or maybe you were the one getting bitched at.

Anyone care to share?

The other week a customer screamed at me (literally) that we were “fucking up his entire vacation” because it was too windy to take his son diving (the son was trying to learn to dive and the weather was awful- we only took out a few boats and it wasn’t appropriate for a student). I thought that was really nice. That’s just a recent example- I’ve been abused many times over the years including barked orders from customers. Some people are just crazy as hell.

Ho boy, took a lot of abuse as a Best Buy manager back in the day. Luckily there were a lot of peers there that could empathize and we could all let it go like water off a ducks back.
One lady slugged me in the shoulder and walked out in a huff. I was more amused and shocked than anything and let it go.
One guy wanted to fight me and called me every name in the book to persuade me to throw the first punch. I kind of needed the job at that time and just told him the police would be there soon enough to do anything physical.
A lot of people when hitting a dead end about getting their item fixed at no-charge figure they have nothing to lose and make it a point to destroy said item in front of me. A Sony walkman thrown overhand into the wall adjacent to the counter exploding into a dozen pieces. A pc/laptop or two pushed off the counter towards me onto the tile floor.
Plenty of cursing, swearing, threats to sue, they’ll call BBB or local TV or local newspaper.
Ah, the good ol days of retail.

Ever see the show Airline on A&E? I don’t think it’s on anymore, but the abuse those Southwest employees got was astounding. It was understandable if the airline screwed up somehow, (though not that particular employee’s fault of course), but I distinctly remember one where a guy went absolutely bonkers b/c his flight was delayed…due to the weather.

Morbo’s post reminded me of one. I was flying Southwest from Chicago to Louisville the flight was delayed, and then canceled, because the plane was coming in from Detroit, which was having bad storms so all the planes were grounded. The next flight was also canceled and I, along with a lot of other passengers, decided to go down to baggage claim to reclaim our luggage and go home. The woman in front of me in line was screaming at the poor girl because of the delay in locating her luggage, which she needed immediately because her medication was in it. :rolleyes:

When my daughter was 14 she worked at Great Wraps at the mall. Some guy ordered his food and when he went to pick up the tray he spilled his soda all over his food. He demanded a new wrap from the manager who refused. The guy, cussing and screaming, picked up the wrap and threw it at my 14-year-old daughter (close range-just across the counter). He was arrested.

Oh golly. Does this bring back memories: my disastrous lunch date with a guy.

He ordered a burger with no tomatoes. Fine. Burger comes tomato-free. Unfortunately, there was a decorative garnish of lettuce and a tomato slice on the plate. Now, the guy wasn’t allergic to tomatoes or anything. He just didn’t like them. This guy was irate about the tomato. Like it was shooting 1920’s style tomato death rays at the burger or something.

So he proceeded to harass the waiter about the evil tomato that had the audacity to sit on his plate (far away from the burger). He didn’t just say “please take this offensive tomato away” or anything like that. Oh no. He had to go into how stupid the waiter must be to allow the dreadful thing anywhere in the vicinity of his burger.

I remember at one point he said “do you have ‘duh’ tattooed to your ass or something because it should be on your forehead.” That was when I “remembered” I had a meeting coming up and really needed to hurry up and be on my way.

My wife and I went out to dinner with my in-laws, and we walked in to the restaurant just ahead (I mean seconds ahead) of a group of about eight people. We all had reservations, and the hostess comes up and sees all of us standing there and asks someone in the other group if they’re ready to be seated, and then leads them to their table.

My MiL was friggin’ fit to be tied. She’s standing there, looks at her husband, then looks at me, then back to the empty hostess stand, and the process repeats. When the hostess returns from seating that group, my MiL feels the need to tell her that “We were here ahead of those people.” The hostess apologizes. My mother-in-law says it again. The hostess stares at us. I look at her, shake my head a bit and say, “Shall we be seated?” Dinner was ruined after that for my MiL. Nothing could please her. Her steak was overcooked. Her water glass wasn’t being filled fast enough. Meh.

Another story: I have a friend who I’d never been out to a restaurant with, but found out recently she is a complete bitch (I’ll call her Beth) when she goes out to eat. A couple of other friends and I were at a small local restaurant (probably 10 booths and 5 tables) having a couple of bottles of wine and getting ready to eat, when Beth calls to see what we’re doing. We tell her and invite her to come on over. She says she’ll be over in a few minutes.

So we’re sitting in a largish booth. Seats us 4 easily, but could probably seat six without too much discomfort. We tell the waitress that someone else will be joining us, she says “no problem,” and sticks a chair on the end of the booth. No biggie. Well, Beth shows up and doesn’t want to sit on the end, she wants to move to a table that seats 8. Now, we’ve been sitting in this booth without her for about 30 minutes now. She asks the waitress if we can move. The waitress very politely says, “Ma’am we try to save that table in case a big group comes in. I’m sorry,” waits for a response from Beth, doesn’t get one, and goes to check on her other customers. Beth starts to fume. Doesn’t ask for the manager, but decides to sulk, and start with the passive aggressive LOUD talking about how pissed she is and she’s not going to order any food now, it’s a stupid rule, etc. Talking to us, but making sure it’s loud enough for the waitress to hear. And when the topic was done, she’d bring it back up when the waitress came back over. Just so the waitress could hear. Later I found out her mom and sister were the same way. Just awful, awful people to eat out with. They felt that “servers” were there to “serve” them.

One sunny afternoon I was working my shitty cashier job that I did part-time to get some cash during high school and it was time for me to go on my break. I locked my register, gave the key to the manager in the back, clocked out for my break, and then headed to the break room. Before doing so, however, I stopped by my register to pick something up. The register next to mine had a line of about 5 or 6 people waiting and some old guy walked up to mine and set his things down.

“She’ll take you over there,” I said.
“No, you take me here. Now. I don’t want to wait in that line.”
“I already locked the register.”
“So unlock it then, you moron.”

I told him he couldn’t talk to me like that and started to walk off. He said he’d call my manager. “Go ahead,” I said. “Maybe you can get the key from him.” Then I went off to enjoy my break. Upon returning to my register, I find the guy red-faced and screaming at the manager. He pointed at me and said, “It was this fucking idiot! He was the one who wouldn’t serve me” blah blah blah. Old guy, in a rage, throws the things he was going to buy on the floor and then storms out. Manager tells me to clean it up since this “scene” was my “fault” anyway. I’d been looking for a reason to quit that shitty job for a while and that seemed like as good as time as ever. I told him I quit and to mail me my last check.

Out in the parking lot, I saw that customer sitting in his car. He called me over and started to give me a lecture about customer service and respecting elders which I listened to until I got bored and then said “Go fuck yourself, old man,” and walked home. You can do that shit when you’re 16 or 17.

My father-in-law once yelled at a waiter to go away because he wasn’t done pontificating to the group and thus wasn’t ready to allow food to be ordered yet. The waiter was coming over because a brother-in-law wanted to ask a question about the menu. He’s also yelled at a maitre d’ for losing his (dozen or so person) reservation, when I’m pretty sure that no reservation was made in the first place, and continued to rant at them on and off over the course of several minutes while arrangements were being made to accommodate us. We didn’t have to wait that long at all, but he couldn’t freaking let it go.

Plus he gets bitchy if his attempts at being funny/social aren’t treated as the most witty things ever. This includes asking the Greek diner owner if he’s got ouzo under the counter for him, asking the (probably) Mexican bus boy if he’s had menudo soup lately and insisting that he makes great menudo (he doesn’t make it), playing “guess the nationality of the brown-skinned server”, etc. On one occasion, he told the waitress that he bet she was Filipino; she just pleasantly said nope and didn’t play along with his game. He sulked, “But Filipinos are good people,” and from then on, nothing could please him. The coffee was taking too long. She was obviously spending too much time at other tables (no, the place was packed and she was hauling). Her service sucked. She was unpleasant. After the meal was over, I grabbed the check, he insisted on tipping (he sucks at it even when he’s happy with the service) and then went to talk to the owner. I took the check up to the register, where the owner’s wife was. I told her while ringing up the bill that I was adding a tip onto the tab, as my FIL was off wrongfully complaining about her service and she was good.

I’m glad he was arrested. Your daughter shouldn’t have to tolerate that crap. But, I gotta say, I’m surprised the manager didn’t just give him a new wrap.

I never have done face to face customer service, but by phone there is no limit to the abuse an irate customer can dish out. I’ve been called every name in the book, from cunt to whore to nigger to nigger-whore. My poor mom has been called every name in the book, also, though I’m sure she’ll forgive me if I never inform her.

I was very good at letting it roll off. If the customer was in the right, I tried to calm the customer down/offer solution. If the customer was in the wrong, we all basically mute-speaker phone and laugh our asses off.

I was once staying in a European hotel . . . either in Paris or Vienna. They served a wonderful breakfast, which I had every morning. Also every morning was a large obese Texan in cowboy drag. No neck, ruddy complexion, looking like he was about to go into coronary arrest. Big, booming, boisterous voice that never stopped loudly pontificating to the rest of his family. When he wanted to get the attention of the waiter, he’d yell across the room, *“Parlez-vous, boy, parlez-vous!”
I don’t know which was worse, his manners or his knowledge of the French language.

the worst I’ve ever recieved (and given) was when I was buying my house. The mortgage broker told me closing would be two weeks after signing, then went on vacation the day before I was supposed to sign. No signing. We also had the worst storms on record, and many places were closed because Portland has one plow, run by a golf cart. Then the other lies, like the other realtor making insane demands to see my ability to pay. This was relayed to me via my realtor. Finding out if I needed to pay anything off and being told it’s fine, only to get an “oh oops! You need to pay this off to fix your credit” Being told over and over when Signing Day was. Id’ already made the rental truck plans, told my roommate I was moving out, packed up most of my belongings, etc. grrrrr…I ended up missing the signing date because my mortgage broker couldn’t pull her head out of her ass long enough to pay attention.

When I realized I was being dicked around I started getting… angry. Every phone call would devolve to fits of anger because my mortgage broker and realtor couldn’t keep their lies straight. Thankfully the other parts like the house inspection and actual signing went well. I needed to bring in a check to cover a debt so I could sign and be done with it. Before I left to the house-buying-place I called my realtor to find out when I get the keys. Oh yea, I need to pay off a $2700 bill that’s in collections too. Uhm. WHAT??? I’m on my way to the title company right now, and you want me to pull $2700 out of my ass? This is AFTER I ask if there’s ANYthing else I needed to worry about before signing. My mom lent me the money so I could get it all squared away, but I was so happy to never have to talk to them again.

That whole experience soured me so much now I’m One Of Them when things don’t go my way when dealing with customer service. I used to be nothing but nice…

Good luck with life.

Moving thread from IMHO to MPSIMS.

This is the problem with the whole “customer service is our number one priority” shit. It’s certainly a well-intentioned and admirable policy to have and definitely makes good business sense, but some people take it as permission to be dicks.

It didn’t really matter that the register was locked. Five or six people were already waiting before him. No matter what you were doing, he shouldn’t have been allowed to jump that line.

I also blame the old-school “the customer is always right” mentality. Fifty or even twenty years ago, when you were dealing with the store owner, you’d get some concessions because the owner wanted your business. Now that most people shop at Megastore, Inc., the minimum-wage cashier or whoever is hamstrung in terms of what concessions he can make. And the poor dumb schmuck has to take abuse from an angry customer who was taught to believe that “the customer is always right.”

Once when I was taking drive-thru orders during breakfast rush at McDonald’s, a guy came through and ordered an Egg McMuffin with a folded egg instead of a round one. I did my damndest to get that order across to the grill people and the girl at the front window, but apparently the guy got a round egg anyway, because he drove back around through the parking lot to throw it at me. He missed, but damn that incident pissed me off more than any other customer experience I had, because I had tried so hard to get it right!

We had one regular customer who was very grouchy all the time, and had strong feelings about having his daily coffee handed to him in a bag. We all knew his quirk and were careful to always bag his coffee, but one day, a new guy (who happened to be black) gave him coffee with no bag.
The customer parked his car and came inside to throw his coffee at the employee and call him a stupid nigger. The employee vaulted the counter, but was grabbed by a manager before he could get hold of the customer. :frowning: Then the customer didn’t even have the good sense to leave, but started ranting that he would have that stupid nigger’s job!
The employee was, of course, not fired, but he transferred to a different store. The customer continued to come in every day for his morning bag of coffee.

I was out with a bunch of people, one of whom had brought a cousin. The cousin asked what the dessert special was (this was Denny’s, mind you!), and got upset when the waitress (very politely) said that they didn’t have one. Instead, he asked for a glass of water and a menu.

He then took that glass of water, dropped in the coins (!) to pay his bill, and (using the menu), turned the glass of water upside down on the table before storming out. We were appalled, and apologized to the waitress.

I guess I’m glad it’s closed now, no need to avoid going back out of embarrassment.