A Ma’am Scam

, , , , | Right | January 11, 2021

For health reasons, we have to keep a two-metre distance between customers and have lines and markers for this. An older lady walks past the line.

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am. I need you to step behind the line.”

Customer: “What did you call me?”

Me: “Ma’am, I called you ‘ma’am.’ I need you to step behind the line.”

Customer: “No, how would you feel if I called you boy?”

Me: “I need you to step behind the line, and I don’t mind that.”

She gives me an evil look. After the threat of no service, she quickly moves behind the line. She then begins to rant about how she is going to get my supervisor to reprimand me for calling her ‘ma’am.’ Everyone around me looks bewildered. 

I total her shopping and wish her a good day. Whilst I discuss the situation with the next customer and have a bit of a laugh, the lady is talking with my manager and making a complaint about how I called her ‘ma’am.’

Partway through my next transaction, my supervisor pulls me aside and quietly says to me:

Supervisor: “I only have to do this to get her out of the store.”

Then, at a decent volume, my supervisor says:

Supervisor: “Watch who you call ‘ma’am,’ [My Name]. If I have to remind you again, there will be further reprimands.”

The old lady left the store. My supervisor and I and the customers that were waiting to be served all laughed. 

The customer came back in the next week and I only ever said hello to her. She started calling me ‘boy,’ so I politely said that if she continued to call me that, I would no longer serve her and would bring my manager over to resolve the situation. She quickly shut up.

I never saw her again.

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