Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I was working at the store when a mother and daughter came up. They were a rough looking duo, the mother drinking a double shot caffeine drink. The daughter was angry-looking. She grabbed up the 35 lb bag of dog food and put in on the counter. She muttered, "I don't know where the bar code even is," in an impatient way. I scooted around the counter with my scan gun, saying "It's on the side," I scanned it quickly, and turned to her cart to scan the items there.

"This is two separate orders!" she snapped.

So I headed back around the counter, thinking that she meant the dog food was one order.

Turned out she meant that the things in the cart went with the dog food.  but she was mad by then. I said, "I'm not sure what you want me to scan." Turns out the things in the child seat were to be separate. She threw the bag of dog food in her cart, and said to her mother, "That's just great! I pay money to get treated like shit!" and her mother agreed, and they stood there complaining. The customer that I had just finished checking out stopped at the door and stood there listening to the exchange.

I called the manager at that point. When people start throwing things and swearing, and you can't get them checked out, well, it's time to bring out the man who makes the big bucks. They were quite outraged at that point, playing the role of grande dame to the hilt. They had not requested the manager. They were willing to let it go.

I went to the next line and continued to wait on the other customers. I listened to them talking very patiently with the manager, asking questions very politely, proving without a doubt in their minds that they were nothing but reasonable, and that the problem was the cashier.

I've never had a time to really watch something like this unfold. It doesn't matter to me. I have two more days there, but it struck me that these two women were not all that different from the manager himself. He is often unreasonable, but when called on it, he shapeshifts. It is NEVER his fault. He has NEVER behaved badly. It is always someone else's fault.

I watch this scene play out, as he deals with these difficult customers. Really, he is confronting his own nature here, and he doesn't even see it.


A Novel Woman said...

Anyone who has worked retail or as a waitress has come across customers like this. They're odious. My guess is that they're always on the lookout for someone to bully in order to feel better about themselves. I used to make myself feel better by working up some sympathy for them. And if you can convey that sentiment, it makes them go nuts, which is even more satisfying.:)

Kelly said...

It's like Dear Abby always says - those with the problem never recognize it in themselves. Your manager probably didn't, either.

jeanie said...

notalwaysright.com has some classics (and it now has a sister site about when the bosses and co-workers are the problems) - this would fit.

They were going to have a carp day no matter what - I loved how you decided it wasn't going to be made into one for you also.