Sometimes I just don’t know how people rationalize their behavior. I thought we were supposed to stop throwing tantrums when we were children. And yet, working in retail, I’ve seen grown adults throw a fit. I’ve seen senior citizens basically stomp their feet because they didn’t get their way. I just don’t get it. How have they survived this far in their life without being told no? Who made them think they were the king or queen of everything and they could always get their way?
So, there’s this old man that shops in my store. I used to think he was a sweet old man. He walks with a cane, he talks all quiet and slow, he never seems to be in a hurry. I’ve helped him shop multiple times when he couldn’t reach something. I’ve marked stuff down because the package was damaged. I’ve always been nice to him.
But then one day he bought some kitchen bowls. They’re on a shelf with a strip that says “$1 wow!” all the way across it with individual labels for the different colors spaced out accordingly. Well, there were two colors that were being discontinued and “$0.60” clearance labels were placed in front of those specific bowls. The “sweet” old man bought some of each color. They weren’t all sixty cents. He doesn’t notice until he’s home that he’s been “overcharged.” So, he comes back to the store with his receipt, but doesn’t bring the bowls.
He comes in yelling right off the bat. Most of it is nonsense since he’s mumbling, but I hear the words “overcharged” and “swindle” and other words of the sort. I calmly take the receipt and try to figure out what he’s talking about, because I’m not the one who rang him up. He’s still yelling about them all being on sale and he wants his money back, etc. etc. I realize the problem and try to explain that not all of the bowls are clearance, just the ones with the signs in front of them. He doesn’t like this, of course, and yells that they all had signs. I ask him to follow me and I’ll show him what I’m talking about and he refuses.
But he doesn’t just refuse to let me explain, he decides to attack me personally. Because this is obviously all my fault. He starts going on about how we should feel privileged to have him has a customer because he’s got a lot of money. (Then why he’s worried about .40 cents? I’m not sure.) He yells about how he probably has more money in his pocket than I make on my paycheck at my menial little job. (Now I’m curious as to why he’s carrying around over a thousand dollars in cash since I’m the salaried store manager, so I make a decent pay check. And why the old cripple feels safe yelling about it. Like, do you want to get robbed?) And he continues to degrade my job and tell me I’m too stupid to know when to give a customer their money back.
So, I’ve tried to remain calm through this entire episode, because I know it’s not really about me. I’ve done this job long enough to know that when people act like this, it’s not really me they’re mad at, but still no one likes to be screamed at (especially over .40 cents). I tell him he can bring the bowls back and I can refund him his money. But he doesn’t like this option. He wants the bowls. Duh. Instead, he yells about how he’ll never shop here again and we’re all incompetent and we’ll pay for this, etc. etc. I ask him if he wants his receipt back and he just waves his hand at me and storms out the door.
But guess who came back a week later to shop and wanted to act like nothing happened? 😊