Learning how to handle problem customers in retail isn’t easy. If you treat them with even a fraction of the lack of respect they show to you, it can balloon into a full-on “situation.” And things can get especially complicated if that bad consumer has a little kid in tow.
Just ask this Reddit contributor who writes about their experience working at an unnamed dollar store (where not everything is a dollar).
The cashier says a woman and her young daughter, who then proceeded to wreak havoc, “knocking things off shelves, ringing the customer service bell over and over, and running up to me and shoving things in my face asking me if she could buy it.”
Writes the cashier:
Finally when the lady was all done, she slams her items on the counter and her daughter runs up with a balloon we sell for 4 bucks. She whines and asks her mom if she can have it and is told “No, put it back.” The daughter pouts and runs around the store with this freaking balloon and when the mom is paying, the little girl opens the front door WITH the balloon in hand and just lets go of it in our parking lot and it floats away.
I said to the lady “Your daughter just opened the door and let the balloon go outside.” her daughter comes back in and says “I sent it to my Nana!” The lady looks at me and is like “AWWWWW OHMYGOD THAT’S SO CUTE!!! Her nana passed away, she was sending it to heaven!” and then pats the little girl on the head. I said “That’s very sweet, but that balloon is 4 dollars.”
This didn’t go over well with the mom, who asked, “EXCUSE ME? So what? What are you asking? That I pay for it?”
The cashier told the woman yes and was informed by the customer that this request was “way out of line” before demanding to speak to a manager.
At this point, we would expect the manager to half-heartedly apologize, pretend to scold the employee and then either make some sort of deal with the mom or let her leave just to get her out of the store.
But the cashier says their manager “made me feel bad and said I ‘ruined’ a special memory for that woman and her daughter… I didn’t know what to say to that and I went home feeling ashamed and embarrassed.”
Making matters worse, the cashier now must speak to the district manager for the store, who is coming just to speak about this incident.
We weren’t there, so obviously we don’t know if things happened exactly as the cashier states. But the cashier’s actions seem rather reasonable to us.
That’s why we’re unleashing the issue into the Consumerist comment waters, to see how y’all would have handled — or maybe have handled — this kind of situation.