2016 in the world of retail hasn’t been bad – uneventful – but not bad. My good days outweigh the bad, which is all anyone can really ask for. Which is why one evening last week rattled my nerves.
I really could have used a 5c. Cokie-cola.
It was a pretty busy afternoon, lots of hustle and bustle – people asking questions, things needing to be put in the place, etc. At one point a clothing rack (yes, a clothing rack in a grocery store) got caught on a cart and dragged out of place. I see a young looking dude, dressed casually, standing kind of lost, so I ask him as I’m pulling the clothing rack back into place, “Did you need help with anything?” He responds, “Yes.” I then smile and ask, “Sure, what’s up?”
Because I am finishing up with the clothing rack, I expected him to tell me what his issue was, or ask me a question, but instead NOTHING. Silence. I’m confused, so I look back at him and ask again, “Did you need some help?” Here’s where it gets interesting.
“Yes, I do need some help.”
“Ok, so what’s going on?”
Cue cocked hip and pointer finger waving in air “First, I need you to lose the attitude. You are RUDE.”
“Sir, I’m not being rude.”
“How dare you talk to me like that! YOU snaps & points fingers out at me COME HERE snaps & points at ground directly where he’s standing.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Where is your manager?”
“It’s just me here right now.”
Finger is still waving in the air joined in by neck rolls. “Oh, how convenient. How convenient for you! And what, what, what, I bet you just work here, is that it?”
Whaaaat??? At this point I am done and see a ladder that needs to be put up in the back. I decide to go do that. Clearly this man has had a bad day, and his reaction is about something beyond this interaction.
“I think I should find someone else to help me.”
“I think that’s a good idea.”
There are two reasons why I believe this interaction rattled me so. First, I have not been viciously snapped at and told to “come here,” since possibly middle school. Maybe elementary school, and it was my very angry mother saying that to me because I understandably did something wrong. This dude was either my age or younger – but the point is, he’s still a man, saying that to me, a grown-ass woman in her 30s. No thank you. I will not have a customer making me feel like a child.
Second, I thought because of his age, he would appreciate my casual approach. Most feedback I receive from customers is that they like how casual I am – like talking to a friend. Clearly, something about “what’s up,” gets his goat. Noted. If I ever see him again I will remember to say, “Ah, yes, good day good sir. Does thou require any assistance on this good day?”