(I work for a large, world wide retail chain. I’m the merchandise supervisor for the housewares department. Part of my job includes not just stocking new merchandise but restocking go backs and generally making sure my department is clean and organised. It’s a busy Saturday afternoon and I see a customer set a heavy can opener on top of a stack of china plates.)
Me: “Oh, I can take that for you sir, if you don’t want it.”
The Customer was with his pregnant wife, and without saying much he hands me the can opener, I thank him, and put it away. I didn’t think much of it until about twenty minutes later I see my manager coming towards me, followed by the before mentioned customer. She clearly has no idea he is behind her.
Manager: ” [My name] when a customer puts something in the wrong place, just leave it there and come back to it later when the customer is no longer present.”
Me: “Okay…” Obviously confused.
Manager: “A customer complained, a man and his wife.,,” She’s about to gesticulate a pregnant belly, when things start to click to me. Not wanting her gesturing to be misconstrued, and realizing she still doesn’t know the customer is behind her, I motion.
Me: “Oh, this gentleman?”
At this point, the customer steps forward, clearly displeased with the lack of discipline I have received for my grievous misconduct.
Customer: “You had no business embarrassing me like that in front of my wife. You emasculated me.”
He continued quite a bit, repeating that he felt emasculated and humiliated several times. He never yelled, but he used that stern tone one usually reserves for dogs and small children.
Me: “Sir, I’m really very sorry. That was hardly my intent…”
Customer: “I don’t want your rote, insincere apology, clearly you aren’t sorry. You’re just apologizing because we’re in front of your manager. It’s not like you are a librarian, responsible for making sure everything is put away.”
I refrain from pointing out that that is in fact one of my job descriptions. My Manager is also just standing there, her jaw practically on the floor at the way this guy is really digging into me. He’s gone on quite a bit now. However, I don’t want him calling cooperate, over a can opener, so I keep apologizing.
Me: “No, sir honestly, it wasn’t my intention to embarrass you. I really am sorry for any inconvenience to you and your wife.”
Finally, he seems at least partially mollified as I have apologized at least three or four times by now and he leaves.
Manager: “Well, good job keeping your temper, you took that very well.”
Me: At this point all I could really do was look at her, smile, and stepped off the sales floor for a few minutes.