Ahh, customers. Can't live with them, can't live without them.
This past week I had the "privilege" of working all nights and I noticed something. The evening customers are CRAZY! This nightly crankiness probably occurs because each guest that enters the store has gone through much stress in the day (as have we all), and they are in search of an outlet. There is one lady I'm having a particularly hard time with.
To preface this story I should let you know that I love helping customers. It's my favorite part of my job.
Two weeks ago on a Monday night, I walked through my dairy filling and facing. An older lady stood not far off in produce staring at our flats of wheatgrass. I smiled at her, letting her know I was aware of her and could be approached if she had a question. She half-smiled, half-grimaced back at me and began to open her mouth. I got excited because I was about to get helpful.
"Excuse me," She said rather sweetly. "Could cut this flat in half?" Ooh. I thought about the times before when I'd been asked that question and I thought of what the produce manager always said. I gave her a sympathetic smile and began my rehearsed yet kind apology.
"I'm sorry. We aren't allowed to do that. We don't get credit for the second half."
Her pleasant demeanor went instantly dark and a look of evil shock spread across her face. "What?" she asked indignantly. "But you always cut them for me? What do you mean you're not allowed?"
Wanting to calm her I told her I would step into the back and ask the produce guy if there was anything he could do. As I walked away she shouted after me, "Take the flat with you because I know he'll just cut it in half!" I turned, already near the door and told her to wait a moment-- I was going to ask. She humfted and added that if I didn't take it back with me she would take it to my manager. She was threatening me. My smile was gone and I took the flat from her without a word.
I explained the situation to the guy in the back. He said he would cut the flat in half to appease this ruffled lady. This bothered me. I hate rewarding people for bad behavior. It teaches them that in order to get what they want they have to act CRAZY. On the other hand, just giving her the half-flat would get her out of the store faster, and I was all for that.
This past week that same woman returned. We were out of half flats again. Go figure. She grabbed a whole flat and marched up to Customer Service, bypassing me, for which I was grateful. But I, too, had business up front so I got to witness what happened.
She approached the booth and sat the flat on the counter. "I want this cut in half, please." The store manger was closing that night. The store manager is the head honcho. The guy who calls the shots. Our fearless leader. He looked at the woman and answered politely, "I'm sorry. We aren't allowed to do that. We don't get credit for the second half." I knew what was coming next.
"What?" she said in her deceptively shocked tone. "But you always cut them for me!" So, what does he do? He has it cut in half, just for her.
I suspect she will continue to treat us like this because she's discovered that if she's angry and upset enough we will do anything.
I miss working mornings. Morning customers are so much nicer and easier.