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A Complete Litter Mouth

, , | Right | August 29, 2020

A lady calls in and asked if we had a “Litter Genie.” Litter Genie is a brand name for a garbage can specifically made for litter. I say yes, go and check the price, and come back and pick up the phone.

Me: “They’re $23.”

Customer: *Condescendingly* “No! You’re mistaken! They’re several hundred dollars.”

Me: “Oh, I think we’re talking about two different things. Litter Genie is a brand name for a garbage can for cat litter.”

Customer: “No! I’m asking about one of those automatic litter boxes that cleans itself!”

Me: “Oh, okay. Yes, we have those. Let me go back and check the price.”

I go all the way to the back of the store and check.

Me: “Okay, we have one for $140 and one for $160.” 

Customer: “What are the brands and models?”

Me: “I don’t know, but they’re pretty much the same.”

Customer: “I don’t want ‘PRETTY MUCH THE SAME.’ I’m looking for something specific!”

She starts describing it to me. Before she can finish, I politely cut in because I know exactly what she’s talking about.

Me: “I know what it is, ma’am. Hold on. I can’t check right now because I’m with another customer.”

I ring out my customer, go back, and come back to the phone. When I pick up, she starts screaming at me about how I “ripped her head off” and I’m being uncooperative, and she starts cussing up a storm at me.

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry if I came off as rude but I didn’t mean to. I’m trying my best to cooperate with you, but the automatic litter box cleaners we have are all the way at the end of the store so I have to keep running back and looking.”

Customer: “I didn’t say, ‘AUTOMATIC LITTER BOX CLEANER.’”

At this point, I’m really confused.

Me: “Uhm, yes you did ma’am.”

Customer: “NO, I DIDN’T.”

Me: “Ma’am you asked me if we had a Litter Genie, but a Litter Genie is a brand name of something else. So you asked what models of automatic litter box cleaners we had.”


Me: “With all respect, you asked me to look at automatic litterboxes—” 

She starts screaming and swearing and calling me rude, uncooperative, and incompetent. I ask her to stop swearing at me and being rude, and that just makes her even angrier. I start getting very flustered and confused because I’m multitasking while she’s screaming at me so I hang up on her.

I go and tell my manager about it so I can warn him about the angry customer. While I’m telling me the story, he’s giving me this stone-cold look.

Me: “What? What’s wrong?”

Manager: “Next time that happens, tell her to hold and give her to a manager. I’m one of the most profane people when I’m on the phone so I don’t see what the problem with that is. But never hang up on a customer! That’s grounds for immediate dismissal, but I should have told you about that beforehand, so I’m not going to make you go home… THIS TIME.”

I’m a very sensitive person and I have a hard time accepting that I’ve made a mistake since it makes me feel very guilty and inadequate. But I accept his scolding and apologize and explain that I didn’t know we weren’t supposed to hang up on people who were being belligerent, even though I’m really confused that he is on the customer’s side about this. I feel as though I’m about to start crying, but I take a deep breath and go back to my register to greet my next customer with a smile.

At the end of my shift, my manager approaches me.

Manager: “Before you leave, I need you to read and sign the code of ethics.”

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