Would you have stepped in? (long story)

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  1. I was looking around at a store last weekend and heard a customer talking down to a teenage SA. She was calling the girl a waste of the store's money and she should find another job. The SA was just standing there and taking everything when a manager walked up. He wasn't any better...

    The customer told the manager that another SA had set something aside for her earlier that day. Now that she was returning to buy the item, it had been sold. The manager look at the SA and asked what happened to the item. She told him that she didn't know because she had only been at work for 20 minutes and had never seen the item. The manager told her that acting stupid wouldn't help her and she needed to change her attitude! I was standing 10 feet away. She did not have an attitude.

    I walked right in the middle of them and put my hand on the SA's arm. I acted like she was helping me with something during a previous visit and I wanted her to help me again. I asked the manager to excuse her and I pulled her away. I didn't give him a chance to answer and she gladly walked away with me. I ended up buying things I really didn't need just to keep her busy until they went away.

    Now I wonder if I did the right thing. Should I have just walked away? I am so worried that I may have gotten her into more trouble, but I felt so bad for her at the time. I am stuck between going back to the store next weekend to see if she's still there and just leaving it alone...anyone have an opinion?
  2. I think the poor girl was probably SO thankful you were there, Natalie!

    I personally never had that happen to me at any of my retail jobs while I was a teenager, but if it had I would have been grateful for someone like you.

    Hopefully it was just one of those things where the manager was just agreeing with the customer while she was there to appease her, and then after the customer left the manager apologized to the SA (this I have had happen before).

    Either way, I doubt that you would have gotten her into more trouble, so I wouldnt worry about it any more.
  3. I would write a letter to the store's general manager (i.e., the manager's boss) and cc a copy to the person higher than that person, complaining of the way the clerk was treated. I would specify the time the confrontation happened, that I had no previous relationship with the clerk, that the treatment was abusive, and that I question patronizing an establishment that does not adequately train its managers. The manager was way out of line. The customer was too but you can't do anything about that.

    You are a good person for stepping in. If there's one thing I can't stand it's a bully. I would have probably verbally destroyed the manager on the spot. If you want to play rough then come play with the big boys. KWIM. Picking on a kid like that is so cowardly. Ugh I can't stand bullies.

    Oh and FYI to the bully manager - Management 101: You are paid more because YOU are supposed to take the fall for your teenage subordinates' mistakes. Even if it had been the girl's fault (which it wasn't), the manager takes the hit. Idiot.
  4. How terrible for that girl! Whether it was wrong or not, I think I would have out of instinct, and without giving it much though, done the same exact thing. Nobody, no matter how young or new to the work world, deserves to be disrespected that way.
    Good for you for helping her out!!
  5. I had customers act up a few times and a manager get on me infront of customers a few times, but I've never been one to stay quiet and take it. When it came to customers, I would just walk away and go into a stock room to call a manager. When it came to my manager, I would just remind her of how unprofessional she was acting and that would embarass her enough to back down.

    I did have a manager come into my department once and start yelling at me about a broom that I left leaning against a shelf. With customers standing all around us, I looked at her and said, "I though that's what you rode in on." She stormed off and didn't talk to me for a year. Oh well...

    I already wrote a letter to the store manager, but I am hesistant on sending it out. But I guess I will.
  6. #6 Jan 22, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
    ITA 100%. Definitely write that letter!!! If nothing else, at the very least send an email to corporate offices off the store's website (if you can find info to do this). That's ridiculous.

    A few years ago I was witness to a similar situation in which an extremely rude customer verbally lashed a cashier in the drug store, then went back to the store's manager to complain about the cashier. I was witness to the entire thing, and the cashier had done nothing wrong - the customer was just being hateful. The manager appeased the customer by listening to her complaint, but did not mistreat the cashier in the process. I made a couple of comments to the rude customer about her behavior, and as soon as she left the store, I marched back to the store manager and let him know that I had witnessed the whole thing, and in case he had any questions, his cashier had done *nothing* wrong. I wanted to make sure that girl didn't get in trouble just because some bitter hag had a bad day!
  7. You did the right thing.

    The manager shouldn't have berated the employee on the sales floor. And the client doesn't have the right to do that either.

    A great manager would've been able to disfuse the situation by taking control of the situation, excusing the employee and dealing w/ the client one on one, and summarily coming to a suitable solution for the client w/o necessarily admitting guilt.

    There are customers that think SAs should basically do everything they say. And bad managers that don't know how to effectively handle the situation.

    My friend that works at LV. He would never tolerate disrespectful customers, and will rightly put them in their place. It is HILARIOUS when he does this and all of the store employees love him for doing so because he will not allow anyone to disrespect his co-workers.
  8. Wow, how unfair to take it out on an unsuspecting SA! You didn't do anything wrong, you only diffused the situation, so that is a good thing. The manager was wrong to pick on the SA in front of the customer. Where was the original SA holding the item anyway, wouldn't she have known where it went?

    The manager really should have just sent the SA back to work and taken full responsibility, apologized and try to give the lady a coupon or raincheck for the item should it come up again. That's why they are managers and act professionally.

    I used to work in a public relations environment (conventions) and nothing bothers me more than to see managers take it out on their assistants in public.

    p.s. wow, domlee, are we sharing the same brain waves today? :P
  9. OMG what a jerk! I was once a retail manager and had never yelled at my associates once. Even if they messed up, came into work late and gave away merch by accident.(I was closing with another associate, the guy was flirting her and it was someone who she really liked, and she forgot to ask him to enter his pin # on the key pad and he was gone by the time I noticed. We couldn't run it as credit, so I had to void the whole things. So I just calmly told her that she needs to just pay attention to things no matter how cute our customers are. If it was the head manager, he would have chewed her out and fired her on the spot) Yelling at them doesn't solve anything! It just makes them feel stupid, really bad and worthless.

    And good for you Natalie, by stepping in and getting that poor girl out of that situation. And I really think you should send out that letter also.
  10. I agree with you. I would do the same thing, and yes, to answer the OP's question, I definitely would have stepped in. That is disgusting. I don't care about the customer being right, that's fine, I understand that. But when the manager literally said to the SA not to act stupid in front of the customer is beyond out of line. Even behind closed doors that is unacceptable and unprofessional.

    I worked in retail for over 15+ years, and had I ever received treatment like that, especially from the manager, my store manager or HR would hear from me. It's one thing when a customer speaks to you like that, because that's when you politely say "let me get my manager for you." That's why they get paid "the big bucks." To deal with crap like this, not an $8/hour clerk. JMHO.

    I actually had this exact scenario happen to me at Nordstrom a few years ago. I was the customer and asked them to hold something for me (I was on my lunch hour) and when I came back after work, it was gone. As angry and frustrated as I was, I didn't talk down to the SA or treat them as such. People are truly despicable.
  11. You did the right thing. I'm sure you didn't make matters worst at all. You probably made the manger and the idiot customer feel stupid because of the way they were acting. Please send the letter!
  12. #12 Jan 22, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
    hurray for you! and send the letter.
  13. I am sure she was happy you stepped in without escalating things.
  14. I agree with everything and :tup: to you OP for being so nice and helping out.

    I would write a letter of complaint to the corporate office the way la miss explained.The time, date, the way the clerk was treated..everything.

    The customer was SO WAY out of line, but the manager, Oh my Gosh what an ass!

    You totally did the right thing in my opinion too. I bet she was so thankful you stepped in when you did.

    I swear, sometimes people act like just because you are in a service job they can treat you like crap and say whatever they feel like! I worked in retail and as a waitress and I tell ya, people really need think before they speak!!
  15. i think you did the right thing. the world needs more people like you IMO. :yes:

    this reminds me of an ABC TV show (i think it was Primetime), the one hosted by John Quiñones. they basically have hidden cameras set up and have actors pose as regular people doing unspeakable things to other people in public, and then see if anyone speaks up. in one episode they were in a coffeshop where the store owner (really an actor) refused to serve some migrant workers (also actors) because they did not speak English properly...he was calling them names, saying they didn't belong in this country, etc. What was surprising is how so many people just watched and did not say a word (some even went so far and agreed with the owner!). There were some few other customers that did step in, however...anyway my hope is that there more people like the latter, who step in when they see something that is clearly wrong..