horrible customer - i need some love!


I Bleed Georgia Red
Oct 18, 2005
yesterday was a tough night at work. it's kind of a long story, but bear with me:

i was talking to a customer about a VERY expensive purchase on the phone. i was the only person working in the department because we're understaffed. a woman comes up and glares at me, obviously unhappy that i didn't immediately slam the phone down to wait on her. i put my phone customer on hold, apologize for the wait, and explain that i'm the only one there but ask her what i can do for her anyway. she tells me what she wants (a black side-by-side fridge in black on clearance), and i tell her that we don't have one on the floor but i'd be more than willing to do some research to see if i could find on for her after i get off the phone. i tell her that it'll probably be a frigidaire and that if she likes, she can go take a look at the frigidaires that we have on display while i finish up with my phone customer.

she decides not to do this. instead, she just glares at me until i can get off the phone (the guy on the phone was VERY nice, elderly, and lives far away - it was totally reasonable for him to call and ask before he made the trip in.) in the meantime, while i'm on the phone, another couple comes up and i can tell that they know what they want - i see a paper in their hands and i see what's on it. i get off the phone, and in accordance with store policy, i apologize to both the previous woman and the new couple for the wait and i ask the new couple what brings them in. they tell me they just need me to show them where something is, so i turn to the previous woman and explain that her question is going to take some time and research for me to answer, and these folks just need me to show them where something is on another aisle, so i'll be back in a second.

there was no way i was going to make the second couple wait half an hour to be shown where a floor model is. the woman expected me to put my previous customer on hold to find out what she wanted, so there was no reason for me to not do the same thing for the other couple, particularly when i knew they didn't need any real help. not only is it how she expected me to treat her, but it's also store policy. well, this was apparently not so obvious to her. even though i explained the situation and told her that i was only doing it so i could focus on what i needed to find for her (which was completely true), the woman is gone when i get back from the other aisle (it took, maybe, 10 seconds). i find her up at the front of the store, complaining to a manager that i'm a racist (i'm white, the couple was white, she was not).

this made me SO angry. not only was i completely friendly and polite to this woman, who was rude from the beginning, but she had to go ahead and assume that i was discriminating against her just because i didn't hop to like she wanted and ignore everyone (including the customer that i was talking to before she even entereted my department) for her, even when i explained and apologized for being the only one there.

so, y'all, please smile at an SA today for me. when there's more of you than there are of us, we try to do the best we can, and sometimes that includes helping people out of order when it's a really simple question versus one that will take a lot of work. just believe us, it's faster for everyone that way and helps EVERYONE get helped more effectively. if i had chosen to ignore the couple and start straight in on that woman's question, they would have just been standing there hurrying us along and i wouldn't have been able to be as helpful. i promise. we try our best.
awww, Amanda! Don't let that nasty woman bother you! Some customers just into the store with a huge stick up their...well, you know. I'm an SA and I empathize!

The other day I lost it on the Verizon people ( my definition of "loosing it" is rolling my eyes and saying "thanks for NOTHING!") and even though they totally deserved it, I cooled off, walked back into the store about 10 minutes later, and apologized for snapping at them. :smile:

Customers need to get over the fact that SA's don't exist to serve just them. We have other responsibilities and concerns, and a little bit of patience goes a long way.

SMILE! :smile: It's easy to let these people get under your skin, but it's not worth it. and I'm SURE you're not a racist.
Try not to worry about it to much, The lady walked in the store with a chip on her shoulder, had nothing to do with you. You handled the situation very well.
How did your manager respond ?
Hmmm well not all SAs try their best! I have been completely slighted various times in favor of a non-minority customer. I can say that it's completely humiliating and offensive, and I do think that in those situations it was reasonable for me to believe race was a commanding factor. In those situations, I was quick to complain to management. IN ANY CASE in your situation, it sounds as if you were doing an excellent job in your customer service role and acted accordingly per the circumstance. Hope you feel better!
Amanda - so sorry, I hope that you did not get a "talking-to" by your supervisor.

I have been on all ends of the retail spectrum, clerk, manager, owner, customer - bottom line - the customer is NOT always right.
Only ignorant people play the race card to get what they want., She was out of line and needs to get a reality check, fast. Once someone tries to use that as a complaint, I will refuse to help them.
Sorry you had to deal with that. It sounds like you handled everything in a very professional manner. I hate it when people expect SA's or waiters/waitresses to just bow down to them.
Wow that is horrible! I hate when things like that happen, I could understand if you were on the phone with some random person...however, you were on the phone with a CUSTOMER making a sizable purchase. Damn!
I applaud you on how politely and maturely you handled the situation. I know how customers can be (former cashier) and you are a lot stronger than me lol I have a short temper so I wouldn't have restrained myself, I would've been all over that woman!! JK, usually they just make me cry :[ Sorry you had to go through that though, but don't mind her shes just ignorant and she's the one who needs to work on her people skills.