If You Stare Into the Customer/Client Long Enough…

…the customer/client stares back into you.¬†

Many of us have worked or currently work facing customers, or clients, which are pretty much customers who (sometimes) pay you directly, at least in the minds of clients.

Today, I’d like to hear all about your favorite (by which I mean most outrageous) stories about clients and customers.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

7 replies on “If You Stare Into the Customer/Client Long Enough…”

My favorite is also coincidentally the most recent; a couple of weeks ago I was ringing up an elderly woman’s purchases, and we had a typical cashier-shopper exchange; did you find what you were looking for, do you have our points card, would you like to apply for a credit card, thanks for coming by and have a nice day. Typical, blah blah stuff I do like clockwork.

Then as she was leaving, she paused, turned to look at me and said, “Unwed single mothers like you are leeches on society, and you are going to hell. God will punish you for your whorish ways.” Then she proceeded to walk out of the store leaving my jaw literally hanging open in shock.

I am eight months pregnant and between summer heat and advanced pregnancy, most days my fingers are too swollen to wear my wedding ring. I was also covering a co-worker’s four-hour shift and thus had not bothered with makeup or earrings, or done anything to my hair except make sure it was brushed.

I am never at a loss for words, but that woman that day managed to completely stun both my mouth and my very active brain into complete silence for about two minutes.

I’ve worked in retail or retail-adjacent industries for 21 years. There’s not enough time for the kinds of stories I have. Needless to say, if you think “No one would ever do THAT in a store,” they have, and they’ve probably done it to or in front of me.

It’s always boggled my mind when people completely misuse the restrooms. They were aware that one should urinate/defecate only in that part of the store, and that one should utilize the individual stall. Yet they still soaked the seat with urine, or they didn’t flush, or they felt no need to flush because they merely crapped on the floor near the toilet.

When I used to be a mail(wo)man, my team coach once got a complaint about my not-prim hair.

My hair (curly/red) was loose, probably playing with the wind, nothing more.

Another mail experience: delivering in the soaking, soaking rain, carrying the mail underneath my rain coat until I can put it in the delivery box. Have a door open behind me: “Excuse me, why is my mail wet? Can I file a complaint about this?”

When I used to teach archery at a camp in Texas, I had recently absorbed another instructor’s groups as she had been fired – for collecting double payment from the groups to the tune of several hundred dollars, which is kind of a big deal in the non-profit, outdoor education industry.

My co-instructor and I were trying to work our way through a group of 5-7 year olds which was 20 participants over the normal limit. We agreed to do it because the kids gave us sad puppy eyes and BEGGED us to teach them archery. So there we were, hustling and making sure all the kids stayed safe (bows and arrows, y’all), and this one parent actually crosses the shooting line (BIG safety no-no) to get up in my face and tell me that the other instructors did it better. I said I was sorry to hear that, but we were chosen to take over as our group surveys were always 100% positive and we’d received recommendations from the biggest units in the state, and would she please return to her seat so we could resume teaching.

Then, she goes and gets in the other instructor’s face, and actually snatches a bow out of a 5-year-old’s hands, and snarls, “I’M JUST GOING TO TEACH THEM MYSELF!” At this point, we both had to tell her to go and sit down or she’d be removed from the range, because only certified instructors are allowed to teach, and she was creating a safety risk. She went and sat down.

Once again, she marched up to the shooting line, demanding that I step aside. When I wouldn’t, she tried to round up all of the kids to leave, while the other parents were looking at her like she’d lost her damn mind. She snatched a bow out of my hand, and the other instructor bellowed, “Leave my range, IMMEDIATELY.” She protested but I marched her off the course.

We had to radio up to the HQ for backup to make sure she wasn’t going to try and come back. What an absolute nightmare.

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