To Anyone Who Ever Shops Anywhere, Please Read This

Lounge By cupcakeco Updated 30 Jan 2009 , 11:58pm by costumeczar

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cupcakeco Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 7:00pm
post #1 of 16

I work in a shopping mall nearby where I live. I work at the customer service booth and so naturally handle all customer concerns, issues, complaints, etc. I also sell Visa Giftcards which customers will often need help with. I am always happy to help, I love my job, I love helping people.


I am sitting in work right now trying to hold back tears because this person, who all I did was try and help, was so mean.

This is part of the Email I just sent my boss, this is what went down:

"Also I just want to warn you, you may have a customer call (although you may not) but I just want to make you aware of a situation that just happened in which a customer with a problem giftcard (IE, Macy's took the money/Expedited Auth form problem) came to me, I tried to explain to her what had happened with the giftcard and offered her the Auth form but despite all of my attempts to explain this problem to her, to the best of my ability (and keep in mind I have been able to explain this problem to countless other customers with no conflict) but this customer in particular persisted with a barrage of questions which I tried to explain I did not specifically have the answers for (IE, "WHEN" will the money go back on the card (exact date), "HOW" did this happen, etc.) She was unsasitfied with my answers and continued to become more belligerent in her attitude to the point where I was becoming extremely uneasy. Her behavior was scary and she was way more angry at me than nessecary especially since all I had tried to do was explain and help her. She proceeded to begin yelling at me and so I simply said "I need to step back and I don't feel comfortable right now helping you," because literally I was on the verge of tears. This obviously made her even more angry and she began to yell more so I picked up the phone and called security. I was actually on the verge of tears, she had made me so uneasy, But I was like, no way, NOT going to let a customer make me cry! When security arrived of course she turned the entire thing around and blamed it on me. I just want to say that in my 2 years here and all of my other retail jobs I have never been pushed by a customer to the point where I have had to say, "I need to step back." This woman was so excessively belligerent even through my attempts to accomodate, sympathize, and assist her. My heart is still beating and I am still trying to calm down. Also I'm going to incriminate myself here, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway, I had called for DD's to bring me down a water bottle and a bagel and the DD's lady stood at the desk and watched the entire thing. UGH all I have to say, Maybe I am just venting but I also feel like I need to let you know."

And BTW I am so sickened to my stomach I can't even eat my bagel with strawberry cream cheese icon_cry.gif

Needed to vent... but on behalf of all Customer Service people out there, Needed to share!

15 replies
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Deb_ Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 8:45pm
post #2 of 16

So sorry this person upset you so much. It certainly is challenging to work with the public. Just know that for every bad customer there are 10 or more good ones that appreciate your help. Believe me, after more than 25 yrs of hairdressing, I've heard and seen it all. Rude people never cease to amaze me.

You did the right thing by giving your manager the heads up.

Try to enjoy the rest of your day.......and your bagels getting cold eat up now! icon_wink.gif

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LisaR64 Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 8:59pm
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What an awful experience for you (hugs). Many years ago I worked in the airline industry, where being verbally abused was pretty much an every day occurrence.

I was cursed at, had things thrown at me, and rarely did a day pass when someone didn't threaten to have me fired because they were upset (more often than not, it was over something they caused themselves, like missing their flight, or losing their tickets).

The worst were those who started out with "I know it isn't your fault BUT....and then proceeded to unleash their rage upon me. After 2 years I had to get out of customer service before I lost all faith in my fellow human beings. It was a real eye-opener for me, and I have a whole new respect for customer service folks who can take that kind of abuse every day, and still enjoy helping people.

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cupcakeco Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 9:34pm
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Oh my goodness, part of me is still reeling. My favorite part is when, after I said to her that I was no longer comfortable helping her, she YELLED at me, "I'm not yelling or anything!" Um, okay.. icon_confused.gif

In my job, the last thing we should ever do is tell a customer, "I cannot help you.." which is what I did, in so many words. But I'm sitting here, wondering.. where do I draw the line? I didn't know that taking verbal abuse was part of my job description... tapedshut.gif

Thanks for the replies. LisaR, I cannot even imagine what it must be like to work customer service in an airport... I have never experienced having things thrown at me, although if there ever was a day when I thought someone might, it was today! I honestly hope I never encounter another customer like that again..

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Monkess Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 9:38pm
post #5 of 16

How horrible can some people be??? I hope you feel better soon just knowing she is gone and you are safe and secure and will be home soon! I am a strong believer in karma...what goes around comes around, the books up there are never off you know! Take care...lots of hugs!

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dragonflydreams Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 10:00pm
post #6 of 16

. . . people like this are just plain miserable . . . I hope she does get in touch with your boss . . . and I hope your boss backs you up . . . clearly she has issues, but that in no way should permit her to take her abusive behavior out on you . . . cheer up hon, she's got problems . . . don't take it personally . . . consider yourself HUGGED!!


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-K8memphis Posted 18 Jan 2009 , 11:48pm
post #7 of 16

Oh yeah you did right.

One of my favorite lines is, "It's not ok to talk to me like that."

One time that line ^^^ made a local lawyer so effing mad he ramped it up as loud as he could and literally screamed at me. So then he slammed down the phone and we were done, whew.

But after the 'line' if they decide to postpone the coronary I'll say, "if we can agree to keep it in a conversational tone we can continue."

I was a CS Super. hahahaha

Oh the stories I could tell. Congressmen, senators, my son's first grade Sunday School teacher, she didn't know it was me on the other end of the phone. Wow, one of the top ten worst calls evah!

But yes difficult job. And you instinctively did right. You need more training. I mean so you have the tools you need to diffuse customers like this. But for sure you did great to call security.

I didn't mean the training thing in a bad way I just mean it's CS 101 to back away from the deranged. And your company should have empowered you already for this. It's your company's purview to provide training and back up.

You did great.

And I know that feeling where you're just kinda rattled and icky afterwards. Hope you're feeling better.


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Jeaucl Posted 19 Jan 2009 , 12:13am
post #8 of 16

Yep, I used to work in a call center for credit cards. When something goes wrong with people's money they have a tendency to loose all sense of cognitive and rational thought and want to take the aggression out on the poor soul who happens to answer the phone call, or be in their close proximity. It is quite true that when things happen to your money beyond your control it is quite easy to get frustrated and very tempting sometimes to come unglued. I sympathize with your situation, but you have to remember that not everyone is like that. The people who do act like that are just sad, miserable individuals with no manners.

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Andrea_Mamie Posted 21 Jan 2009 , 7:40am
post #9 of 16

I used to work for TJ Maxx, and one day while I was at the register, a lady came up with her friend to my line.

She set her merchandise on the counter and I began to ring it up. I picked up the sunglasses she was buying and set them on the stack of wrapping paper. Apparently she thought I slammed them down or something, because she went on a complete tyrade. She was screaming at the top of her lungs, told me I was an ugly b****, threatened to kick my a**, told me if she ever seen me outside the store that she would shoot me dead and spit on my body, called me 'white devil' and how Im obviously racist, and see how she gets treated in 'crackerville' etc. (funny how racist I am- I date a black man, and lived in the 'ghetto' at the time) and even started to reach over the counter to physically fight me.

Now at the time, I was at the register next to the CS desk, and their were three store managers standing there just staring but obviously pretending to ignore it. I was SO pissed. Then I had to stand there and ring up her friend also while she went on and on. After they left, i closed my register (obviously visibly shaken) and walked away. I walked over to my coworker and began to tell him what happened (everybody in the store seen and could hear what happened) but he asked me what happened. I began to tell him and another customer turns to me and says, 'I dont think this is the appropriate time to discuss that and you are very rude talk about people like that'. I gave her the nasty look Ive ever given out in my life. I told her I didnt think it was polite for her to listen in on peoples conversations and give her opinion when it isnt wanted or needed. (i hadnt been talking particularly loud to my coworker and obviously like I said, the whole store heard what happened, while my managers stood there to avoid a comflict)

All I could think is I am working in this crappy store, trying to support my family on 6.50 an hour, being physically threatened and almost attacked, when I could be at home suffering the same abuse from my nieghbors without wasting the gas money.

Needless to say, I reported my managers to corporate for their poor intervention skills and threw my name badge at them, and never returned to work for them.

I HATE retail and customer service jobs. I have many, many sad horror stories from all the jobs Ive worked. Getting treated like a second class citizen while doing a poorly paid and underappreciated job is not my idea of how I want to support my life anymore.

Kudos to all you people who enjoy your jobs, or even just work in them period LOL. You people deserve much more credit, praise, pats on the back and PAY than you probably get.


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tbittner Posted 21 Jan 2009 , 12:39pm
post #10 of 16

I usually diffuse these type of phone conversations with " Please do not yell at me, I am trying to help you" and " If you continue to yell at me when I am trying to help you I will hang up" It usually shuts them up, I have only had to hang up on one person in four years. In person is different. People need to realize that they do NOT have the right to yell at YOU and you will not stand for it.
Best of luck, Tracy

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adonisthegreek1 Posted 23 Jan 2009 , 1:39am
post #11 of 16

You all think you've had it bad it retail...Well, let me tell you a story. When I used to teach this irate parent who had a monster of a 3rd grader marched into the school first thing in the morning and slapped a teacher right in the face in front of everyone. She accused the teacher of mistreating her child. I highly doubt that. This teacher was so sweet and patient. The kid was a bitch and so was the mom. We were taught not to hit the kids or parents. I had a 5th grade boy hit me so I hit him back and called to tell his parent what I had done. It was peacefully settled. I refuse to ever take anyone's abuse.

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cupcakeco Posted 23 Jan 2009 , 4:34am
post #12 of 16

You all have some unbelieveable stories. I think it a shame after reading all of them that it seems it is true what they say about us retail folks being treated as second-class citizens. I say it's not fair! And to think, if any of us resorted to treating some of these customers with the same attitude they give--what hell would ensue!

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michellenj Posted 23 Jan 2009 , 1:43pm
post #13 of 16

I saw a lady in a shoe store get angry because they didn't have her size and she pushed over a rack of shoes! She was this tiny little lady and she pushed a great big rack over like it was nothing. In front of her daughter. Then she apologized and said she had PMS. icon_confused.gif

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DaCakeDiva Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 6:44pm
post #14 of 16

Mean people suck and I laugh at them. No one is gonna make me more miserable. Don't let someone ruin your day because theirs is mucked up. If this happens again call your supervisor and let them handle it. You go to work to earn a living, not to be abused.

Sorry she made you want to cry. ((((((HUG)))))) Poo on her for being mean. It's not your fault that she's not feeling pretty today or whatever her issues are.

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MichelleM77 Posted 29 Jan 2009 , 6:55pm
post #15 of 16

It's not just retail. I had a doctor talk to me this way in a hospital (I was working in the medical records department at the time).

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costumeczar Posted 30 Jan 2009 , 11:58pm
post #16 of 16

I used to be a department manager in a store, so I feel your pain. Some customers can just be so nasty if they don't get their way, They're like little toddlers who piss and moan and have a tantrum. They think that the customer is always right even if they're full of s--t...You did the right thing by emailing your boss, and you handled her the right way. Calling security was a good thing to do, at least she might not try that again with you. She'll move on to another store if you're lucky. Remember that it wasn't you personally she was yelling at, if it had been anyone else there she would have behaved the same way.

One story that might bring some retail people here a laugh...I was working in the shoe department, and someone had mismarked a shoe to $4.95 or something like that. The right price was $54.95, so this woman started pitching a fit that she wanted the shoes for $4.95 and that we had to sell them to her for that. The manager told her it was human error, etc. but she was just pitching a fit. So the manager eventually said, "Okay, that shoe is $4.95. The other one is $50.00. Would you like to buy both of them?" icon_twisted.gif

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