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I'm sorry sir, but fuck you. Have a good day!


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I work retail, which is seemingly an easy job. The difficult part? Difficult customers. My main job is customer service, and as anyone who has ever worked at a job which requires customer service (whatever that job may be) just know how hard it is to satisfy people, and know that some of the time, a lot of the time, our mininum wage doesnt even begin to pay for our efforts.




This week has been tough as it is, working 7 days in a row this week with one day off, just to begin another 7 or 9 work week.  And Im tired, not only do my hours suck but I have insomnia that I cant break these past few weeks.


And last night, here comes an older gentleman to my register. For one, he's not happy because he wanted a display vacume instead of an already boxed vacume that was already on the floor (because display vaccumes get a 20% discount), and that department head took 12 minutes to go to the back and find the box (when our stock room is 6 minutes walking distance from that department, one way).


Well this man, already agitated asks me "can you look on my *blank* card and see how much credit I have on it?". Well, usually with this kind of card we can, however during the holiday weekend they were closed, and I told him with the gods honest truth I could not do that because I would have to call them, and they are closed for memorial day weekend and out registers are not directly connected to credit card companies. He became even more agitated. I then noticed this, and tried to ease his frusteration by beginong to tell him from the goodness of my social skills, that if he wants I can hold this vacume for him at my register, if he wants to come back with another method of payment since he said he doesnt have that much credit and needs to check if he can purchase something.


Then this man leans down in my face, looks me in the eyes, and takes his hat off and begins to say "let me take my hat off for you, so you can see my face clearly and see that i am not retarded. I HAVE A DIFFERENT CREDIT CARD!". And as he he said that he got louder, closer, and more agitated. I was stunned. I just rung him up, and my manager gave him an extra 25% off the vacume AFTER the 20% off being the display.


I was not only shaken up by the experience of this man being loud and innapropriate, but my manager gave him a discount for his "trouble", and made me feel even worse. Even though my manager told me he was in the wrong, and I did a good thing, this gentlemen walks away believing what he was rightfully rewarded.


And the thing is, did the extra 50$ off a perfectly unused top line vacume appease him? Absolutely not. He still complained to the store head manager that "it took a whole 12 minutes to get a box! and next time he wants 30% off the product!".


Oh. My. Gawd.


I think I would rather be a stripper at this point.

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What a fucking nightmare.  I would be extremely pissed at my manager for taking the extra 25% off after he'd been such an ass hole.  That was ridiculous, IMO.


When I worked in customer service I would (try to) be really nice, overly nice, to the bitch customer.  And if that didn't seem to do anything, and they complained that they'd talk to my boss, I said, "ok, you go and do that ..." in a really (honestly) nice tone, but add a little (maybe undetected) sarcasm, as you'd talk to a baby trying to (do whatever).

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Oh, yes.

Once "the squeaky wheel gets the the grease" concept is established in an individual's mind(consciously or unconsciously)it will be deployed again and again, because it does frequently work.
That it leaves a trail of unhappiness in its wake, incrementally lowering humanity's satisfaction with human existence is of no concern to the individual.
(If they do ever notice they seem to be meeting more and more crabby people, the connection is unlikely to be made.)


Head of my optometry department, in  a lecture:

"Nine people in ten are fine.  One in ten is a (insert favourite terms here).  

But since you'll be meeting more than ten people every day, that's enough to ruin every single day, if you let it."  


As I recall he didn't actually go into detail on how you avoided it. I suspect the answers may be individual.


Mine involve formally learned "people interaction skills",  detached observation, and a sense of humour.

Above all, not taking it personally.  It's not you.  If someone else had been on duty, they would have got the same.


My self-talk might include: "You sir/madam, are not significant enough for your ill-developed character to have the privilege of affecting my blood pressure or mood."

One developed from a line in an old Bacardi ad. "Is my problem?  No, is YOUR problem!"


But at work we cam up with the idea that all businesses dealing wth the public should have a licence to shoot three unsatisfactory clients/customers a year, with a prominent notice displayed to that effect.  Underneath, a little sign: "We haven't filled this year's quota, yet."



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Wow. I feel for you.

I've done retail off and on for basically the last decade and a half.


It's not easy.

it should be. But people are fucking assholes.

So it's not. It's stressful and tiring and totally ridiculous and at times even demoralizing.


And then sometimes, just sometimes, you can also see that people are stupid, which leads you on all kinds of train wrecks of thought

'How did this person manage to dress themselves this morning?"


So sometimes it is really funny too.


I'm sorry that guy was such a shit.


But pretty much, as I took a while to learn, it's 98-99% of the time not about you.

It's about the flat tire they just fixed, the cold they have, the low balance in their bank account.

Trouble at home, work, school.

Some jackass that just cut them off on the highway, some jackass they wish they had cut off.

But they didn't, so now that misplace aggression falls on your head.


So your only defense is to kill them with kindness.

And appreciate the one in five [or ten, sometimes fifteen or twenty] customer who ACTUALLY greets you with a smile and treats you like a human being.


But yeah, retail sucks.

it's a black hole we get sucked into.

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Unfortunately this problem can be anywhere. The person who screams and cries the most wins.  And that sucks ass.


I think the people who are doing the right thing, whether it be at a job, family issue, or any instance where there is a differing of minds - I think the person doing right should be rewarded. The person screaming and having a tantrum should not be rewardrd for such behaviour.


what do I know Im a crazy person. ;)


Now, I seriously need a new vacuum. How much of a discount will your manager give me. ;)


You are doing a good job. Keep it up.


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I completely understand. I have to deal with rude, ungrateful, and downright hateful customers all day. It's why I hate my job so much. People are so mean for absolutely no reason, and they think my entire purpose in life should be to cater to their every demand. It's nauseating. I've been called names, cussed at, talked down to, you name it. I definitely do not get paid enough to deal with the fucking idiots I have to deal with on a daily basis.

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OMG Ace, I'm so sorry :( Totally sucks!!!! I used to work retail so I know how horrible it is. There are soooo many assholes in the world. We used to get one older lady in particular who was just horrible--nobody'd deal with her. Finally I got stuck with her a bunch of times and eventually realized she was just a sad, lonely old woman who didn't know how to relate to others besides through being negative...That freed me from being so impacted by her b.s.


I don't think that guy that you had was the same though....he sounds like a frikkin sociopath. If you had a decent manager, like the kind who've actually been trained and stuff--they would have had security escort him out of the store for being combative and threatening. Regardless of what he said or didn't say, there are laws which your manager obviously didn't follow. When an employee is made to feel threatened, security is supposed to be involved. Who's to say he didn't have some violent form of dementia?


I'm real sorry your manager didn't support you...sounds like that's the real asshole of the story. It's f'ed up that he'd let that nasty old man treat you so bad in order to sell a stupid vacuum.

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Ugh, that sounds like a fucking nightmare. I've worked in restaurants, retail and call centres since I was 15. It's amazing how easily some asshole can make you cry over the phone! People have even less care for others on the phone. Nobody gives a shit about anybody anymore. It's disgusting. It's all, "let's see what I can get for free."


Isn't it embarrassing to treat people like that? Really, how do people do that and not feel some sort of shame?

I love when people tell me that they aren't stupid, like they're so much smarter than I am, when they're so obviously in the wrong. I put on my serious face and play along. I can be a downright bitch. However, I feel like an asshole if, for example, (this happened) the 15 year old at MCDonalds somehow forgets half of my Big Mac, and I go back to say, er, sorry to be a pain, but this isn't right at all!


This is why I don't work with people anymore.

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Hi, I've had about 4 retail jobs. and your manager should never had let him get away with intimidating you like that.


This man was just after a discount.


in the uk this would never had happened, we only gave discounts for faults with goods.


I once worked at a grocery store and had a woman complain that I didn't pack her bags, she said "they would have packed them in Canada"


I thought f**k off back there then!. We only packed the bags of the disabled and elderly.


This is when my grandfather was dying of cancer. at Christmas I was told by manager "out customers do not want to see you crying at Christmas"

he died the day after Christmas day.


in my view 90% of retail outlets could afford to pay you more than the minimum wage, but chose not to over profits.

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I used to be a Customer Appeals Manager at one of the US leading Wireless companies. My job was case management - handling customer complaints from our office of the president, the FCC, BBB, etc.. and as an appeals manager we basically had the freedom to work our cases in any way we saw fit, within some limits. However the general 'unwritten' consensus and popular method for dealing with difficult people would be to appease them and send them new phones if they sent us back their broken one. Or give them a credit on their account for their troubles. I hated doing it that way at first but then I found that the squeekier the wheel got, the best way to silence it was to grease it up.. unfortunately.


A few times I put my foot down on a few difficult asshole-y customers and my boss went over my head and gave them what they wanted anyway. 


Also, I have worked in the customer-facing retail world plenty of times and I will never ever do it again. I don't like the general public, and can't stand being around people. Let alone try to be friendly or provide 'customer service'? I just have a hard time faking it. 

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Last week at work was a doozy, even at a short week. At one point I had a "that's it" moment, "im done". I was so upset about a customer, I actually said to my manager "I honestly don't get paid for this shit, minimum wage just isnt worth half of..." and she said "well, customer service jobs are paid so little because it doesnt require skill". Say WTF?? But I seriously, wholeheartedly wonder, if that is true then why in the hell do people suck at it? If customer servicce jobs are sooooo fucking easy then why cant people (in general) do it well?


However, like you said Josie, its that one person out of tens (maybe hundreds depending on the month) that make me go "wow!" and restore my faith in humanity. Where I live there is an Army base and it also has a lot of Veterans. And some of the people I talk to just blow my mind, and in a good way! They make me feel good about not only my customer service, but my skills as a human being.


I had one customer months ago, who was so upset at SOMETHING related to his crying grandson, literally told me how "with (my) hair color, and piercings and tattoos...it's suprising that anybody would ever want to marry (me)". And I was shocked, utterly and completely. I was to the point of tears and had to walk away. However, a few weeks later I had an older gentleman, who was a Ret. MSgt of the USMC and was a Drill instructor most of his life, and he talked to me like he knew me my entire life and like  I was like his granddaughter. All I did was conversate with this man, and answer questions he had about something he was buying, and he told me that "with my confidence, and with my personality, and with how smart I seemed he knew I would get as far as he did in life". Which means absoulte world to me, considering where I am in my life right now and how I am questioning not only my decisions but my sanity, really.


Those people make a difference in my world, and in a way I made a difference in his because he told me I was the only person who talked to him like a normal human being in the past few months because he was diagnosed with cancer. And that, not only makes my day but it makes what I do (how small that actually is) well worth the trouble.


Granted, the fact we have grown people (usually officers's wives of the Army), steal childrens shoes (of all things) is extremely disheartening and unbelievable. And with that, I say I dont have any hope for people, but I do. I haven't lost it *completely*. Not yet, anyway. Especially after all the replies I recieved here. I appreciate the words of encouragement and Ive taken it all in. And I really so feel better.


Thanks all :)


<3 Charlie

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Those people make a difference in my world, and in a way I made a difference in his because he told me I was the only person who talked to him like a normal human being in the past few months because he was diagnosed with cancer. And that, not only makes my day but it makes what I do (how small that actually is) well worth the trouble.


I really think I absolutely get what you mean.

It's how I usually operate.

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Good! Some people think I'm crazy (well, I am but not in that regard). I'm kind of an extrovert these days, whether it be the BP or the insomnia or the medless veins I have or even the drugs I did when I was younger, IDFK why I am I just am. And yeah, considering I was an introvert for sooo long I have that asshole-sarcasm-attitude sometimes when people bother me. But, when people like that Ret. Marine talk to me like that it just makes me believe in people. Like maybe, there is hope for us yet. Somewhere in the big scheme of things (and I dont just mean pollution rofl).

Edited by Ace
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Children's shoes are too expensive especially when they need to start wearing shoes around 2 or 3. But I don't have the balls to steal them. :)


I have told my son that he would be better off working gulling manual labor with illegal immigrants than working retail.


Most of my family lives in a huge agricultural area. My youngest brother (26)  works on a farm and now speaks fluent spanish. He learned it on the job. Some people smirk at working on the farm. He enjoys it and has learned a new language. I think its great for him.


Ace - treasure in your heart when people say good things to you at work. Everyone deserves positive feedback. It seems like you know what you are doing at work. Learn as much as you can and maybe one of those officers will know of a different job for you (if you want it).




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I can so relate! Retail is the only type of job I have held.

People expect you to give them the world and more! All the while they are rude as hell to you; sometimes so rude that they have made me tear up. I tried to be so fucking helpful and polite and kind but what do they do? Insult, scream, throw hissy fits, throw things at me (this happened only once and it was a fucking towel), get pissed off when I try to further help them no matter how nice I am, etc.

They also feel entitled. Entitled to have us bow down and kiss their feet. Entitled to get whatever they want whenever they want. All the while we are paid minimum wage and work our asses off only to be disrespected in the most awful ways.

The ones who scream at you or make the most noise are the ones that are doing something wrong IME. Whether or not they know it, they are trying to scam the store somehow and scream and throw hissy fits until they get their way.

And you're right about vacuum guy. He thought he was entitled to get a $50 discount because of "poor service." Was ruining someone's day and insulting them and being aggressive and shouting at another human being who was being perfectly polite and nice really worth $50? No way! Have a little humanity and show some respect for your fellow human being. But customers just don't do that. They lie and scream like a little child who isn't getting his/her way.

It's a rather disgusting way to behave.

We are the bottom of the barrel workers, merely peons for the company/store. We get the worst end of the bad behavior from customers and are paid the least.

But one last thing and I will shut up I promise lol. I have found that if you kill them with kindness they get even more pissed. This is also useful when someone is trying to steal something. Give them "extra" customer service and they will probably most likely get spooked that they are being watched and then not end up trying to steal from the store. I've prevented a lot of theft by practicing this.

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I just wanted to try and be more positive for you. Sorry for the rant!

It's hard not to get disillusioned and weary and fed up when you do what you do. But every now and then, like that great person who said you will go far in life, you get a feeling that things are going to be ok and that humanity is not doomed. Treasure that memory forever. Things like that really help. Well that and knowing that you are a kick ass customer service worker! ;)

So try and stay as positive as you can. You sound like an awesome and nice person! Keep up the great work!

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december_brigette, on 03 Jun 2013 - 10:02 AM, said:

Children's shoes are too expensive especially when they need to start wearing shoes around 2 or 3. But I don't have the balls to steal them.

They certainly can be, for the popular brands anyway. We have a large toddler selection at the store, from Nikes ($30) to Payless brands (from $12 to $19). And I have never seen a kid shoe at the store for more than $40 (including Sperry and Nike). Granted, buying a $30 or $40 pair of shoes for a fastly growing child seems a little rediculous. But the thing is, the parents who are seen stealing these kids shoes are buying $80 shoes for themselves. Which makes me question?

And thank you cheese :) I'm glad you can relate. It seems like many people here relate, which is amazingly supportive.


But I do wonder...


Considering I have worked Customer Service for many years (retail, waitressing & bartending) I see how people act and whine to get what they think what they "deserve", and how they succum to characteristics of a valueless child I would never, ever act like that at a store/restaurant/bar. If they could do my job for a week...oh my! I wonder if people would learn some respect and understanding.

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I know I am late to the conversation, but I wanted to say (to Ace, and to others who have worked/now work in retail or any customer service job) that I think you all have some of the hardest jobs out there, especially with the low pay.


I've been around for awhile, and I truly believe people have gotten more impatient, more rude, more critical and just downright MEANER in the past ten years or so.   My theory is that people who have very little control or power over their own lives try to take out their anger on anyone who they perceive is "lower" than they are in status.  It's ridiculous.  


Who knows?  It's like everyone has some appointment to rush off to that prevents them from waiting patiently for more than 10 seconds for ANYTHING.    I remind myself that these people must live miserable lives.  


As a customer, if I have to wait for something, I  practice my patience skills, both with the clerk and with other customers.  


I have successfully embarassed (at least I hope I have) other customers who are acting like assholes  by saying things like "Wow! The person at the register is sure working quickly, given the number of customers in line"     The comments above re: people getting angrier when you "kill them with kindness" is true.  It's also funny, if you can look at it that way.  

Edited by FlamelessCandle
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  • 4 weeks later...

I disagree that you don't need skills to work in customer service, you have to have a full and working knowledge of a companies policies, have to think quickly,

have good numeracy skills. patience of a saint, good communications skills. The reason it is low paid is because companies get away with it.


People have certainly become more selfish in the last 10 years, it certainly feels different to my 90's childhood. People used to be too

embarrassed to be rude to shop staff.

Edited by isthisit?
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I worked retail at a large international home furnishings retailer that has you assemble furniture with an allen key in university.  It was both an awesome and terrible job.  The company treated us really well, but some of the customers:


1)I had a customer complain to my manager when I told her she couldn't bring her dog into the store and had to leave.  I was polite.  There was a restaurant in the store, and it violated health codes.  She freaked out, screamed at me, left, and came back to complain.  My manager was all excited to meet her but she left before he could get up to the front.


2)People treat you like you are sub-par intellectually.  I had people speak to me s-l-o-w-l-y, as if I didn't speak or understand English.  Umm, just b/c I'm working retail, doesn't mean my IQ isn't higher than yours.  And regardless, there is no need to be so degrading. 


3)People are disgusting.  Pillowcases are not for wiping your babies ass and then leaving behind other stock for us to find.  There are fucking change stations in the store.


4)In that vein, don't take a shit on the store floor.  That is gross.


5)My name is not Honey.  I don't know you, being a woman does not make me your honey, kiss my fucking ass.


6)Calling in a bomb threat is an overreaction to the store being out of stock of a certain item.  You need more perspective in life.


I always try to be so nice to people at stores, because I remember how upsetting it was to be treated like you were less than other people, just because you were working customer service.  People suck.

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Being rude to support staff in a business or educational setting can have real consequences (same w/retail - you never know when you're going to run into that "lowly" retail clerk again; maybe they're just finishing grad school and someday they'll be your BOSS.


Anyway.....I was teaching a class at a large university.  The Business School Career Services office would schedule on-campus interviews; this is how most of our students got their job offers.     The recruiters would come in from all over the country and interview students.  


There was a guy, top of his class, finance major (this was in the "go-go" days of Wall Street) who wanted to change his appointment time for his interview with one of the Wall Street Investment banks.  He "didn't want to get up that early".  


Well - it couldn't be done. The scheduling process was super-complicated to try to fit people in around their class schedule.  


So he lost it - completely took it out on the scheduling person (a work-study student) at the desk, berating her, swearing and yelling.    


The recruiter heard about this, interviewed him as scheduled, told him he WOULD HAVE been offered a job, but since he could not be trusted to treat people with respect, the firm wouldn't be offering him anything.



Edited by FlamelessCandle
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