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Abusive customers are not fun

Written By: Terry Foster | March 31, 2012

Filed Under: Uncategorized

The other day I was standing in line at a bulk food store waiting my turn to purchase dried cherries and raw almonds. I was second in line waiting for the guy in front of me to pay and leave.

He asked the man behind the counter if he was having a good day.

“Yes I am,” the counterman said.

“Oh that’s too bad,” the guy replied.

I thought it was strange but shrugged and continued to wait in line.

“That will be $9.75,” the man behind the counter said.

“You are an ass,” the customer replied. “I hope you have a bad day. Bleep you.”

The man paid and left.

I was dumbfounded by now. You never hear anything like this during a simple transaction. The counterman told me this guy comes in three to four days a week and insults him. He dogs the way he looks. He does not like the way he dresses and is just a jerk. The counterman told me he knows it is coming but he says nothing because he wants to keep his job.

We’ve heard that the customer is always right. But it can’t be in this case. Don’t you think ownership should step in and protect its employee? Do you really have to put up with this abuse on the job?

Many people probably do. I feel sorry for the gate attendant when flights are delayed. It is not that person’s fault but they sure do get the abuse.  I guess rude behavior is part of the business for dealing with the public. I can’t imagine how much abuse a waitress or bartender gets around drunk people. It is probably pretty bad.

I get yelled at by customers on radio. The good thing is I get to yell back.

How does your boss handle prickish customers? Do you have to take it or does your boss have your back?




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3 Responses to “Abusive customers are not fun”

  1. G Says:

    T… 99% of bosses today Do NOT have your back… Everyone is so f*cking worried about being sued… So if bulk foods guy told asshole customer to go f*ck himself, Most bosses handle it in the simplist way possible, fire the “troublemaker” (employee)… Ive even seen GM’s and OM’s at radio stations can people to cover their own short comings… They can say whatever they want, place blame, the only positive is, they will wear out this strategy, eventually being figured out by the slow corporate brass, usually via a useless consultant. Terry… was there anyone else behind the counter? If so, and I were clerk… I’d excuse myself as soon as I saw him, and most certainly wouldn’t set the prick up with any answers to his childish insults.


  2. Dan Says:

    I don’t let customers use profanity with my employees. If they insult my employee I tell them to leave the store. Customers now days think they can say whatever they want to retail employees. I blame them as much as i blame corporate. If a customer comes in and swears and yells and I tell them to leave they call my boss and my boss at the district level will usually give them what they want. Corporate needs to start standing behind their employees and hear both sides instead of always taking the customers side no matter what. The customer is NOT always right.


  3. Peter Jaeger Says:

    I had a customer of ours go on vacation. Her replacement was a younger girl. Our interactions went on without missing a beat. It was like the normal person was still there. Shortly after the normal person returned she asked for a meeting with her sales representative. The sales rep went out and was told I was rude, pushy and tried to rush the replacement to get done with what I needed. My sales rep called a meeting with my boss and myself. Laid all the facts out and demanded I apologize. I told her I didn’t do any of those things and I wouldn’t. My boss backed me up. The sales rep was very angry and our relationship is still damaged to this day. The truth eventually came out and the replacement was saying these things because she didn’t perform the tasks she was supposed to. Our customer found out why and it had nothing to do with me. I have a great boss.


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