Category: Awesome Workers

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The Height Of Politeness

| NY, USA | Awesome Workers, Popular

(I was working at a local amusement park on the bumper cars. We have a measuring stick to make sure that the kids are tall enough to ride. Sometimes to brighten my day I would see a kid that I knew was tall enough for the ride and make it seem that they were too short by putting the stick on my foot. It usually got a few chuckles from customers. One day I had a very tall guy come up so I raised the stick in the air.)

Me: *serious voice* “I’m sorry, sir, you are too tall for this ride.”

Customer: “Okay.” *turns and starts walking away*

Me: *stunned at first then calls out to him* “Sir, I was just kidding! You can ride.”

Customer: *smiles and comes back* “Thank you.”

(The man made my day!)

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It’s A Retail Thing

| New Britain, CT, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Popular

(I work at a sandwich shop. One of the customers, who comes in every single day, is a cashier at a grocery store across the way, and I pretty much hate him. Nothing specific, but every time he comes in he is completely disengaged from the employee serving him and he snaps at you if you ask him to repeat part of his order, or groans out loud if you ask if he wants a value meal. Whenever he comes in I brace myself for the most awkward order ever, yet I must be as professional but plastic as humanly possible, and I am prepared, no matter what I do, to get it wrong somehow. I see him walking across the parking lot, and he already has THAT face on, like he is already in an impatient mood, but I do something different. I look up, and instead of bracing for the worst, I physically relax myself and put on a big, tired smile. The customer before him has just finished their order, packed up, and passed him going out the door. I greet the regular with my big tired smile and gesture at the gentleman who just left.)

Me: “That guy. He’s usually so great, but I don’t know what I did today. Everything was wrong. It wasn’t like, anything specific, but he kept snapping at me and I didn’t know what to do.”

(I am lying. The previous customer did no such thing.)

Me: “I’m glad you’re the next customer. I don’t know what I’d do if the next customer was worse.”

Regular: “Oh?”

Me: “Yeah, you’re pretty low key when someone messes up because you totally get that it’s not on purpose; it’s just a customer service thing.” *gesturing at his name badge* “I’m just glad I’ve got a pleasant friendly face to deal with right now. You’re one of my easy customers, and I appreciate it. So, yeah, bread. You usually get wheat, right?”

(The rest of the transaction went SO MUCH SMOOTHER. As I worked, we spent a minute chit chatting about customers in general and how our days were. When I asked him to clarify part of his order he just smiled and repeated himself gently instead of snapping this time. He didn’t get annoyed with my scripted up-sell asking if he’d like to “make it a meal,” he paid, and he left. And every other time after that he came in, he WAS, FOR REAL, the most low-key, pleasant customer I had, and he would look for me specifically to handle his order. Turns out I am the tamer of beasts!)

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The Final One Word On The Matter

| Sydney, NSW, Australia | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Popular

(My boss is wonderful. As a result of far too many stories like the ones on this site, he directs his staff to use one word responses when a customer gets unreasonable, and to hit the ‘panic’ button — a monitor that pipes the conversation through to him. Conversations like this still happen, but at least it’s all handled.)

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I had to wait in line for 15 minutes! Why couldn’t you serve me earlier?”

Me: *hit the button* “Sorry, sir. There were other people in front of you. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Give me a [Product], and I want a 20% discount!”

Me: “Sorry, sir, I can’t do that, and there is no reason to; this is normal business. Waiting in line is an everyday matter.”

Customer: “Yes, you can. Give it to me or I’ll have your job!”

Me: *going into DefCon mode* “Can’t.”

(This is where my boss’s one-word strategy works so well. Irate customers can easily ignore a sentence, but it’s hard to mis-hear a single word.)

Customer: “Can’t? Of course you can! What do you mean, can’t?”

Me: “Can’t.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “Orders.”

Customer: “Whose orders?”

Me: “Boss.”

Customer: “Well, get me your boss then!”

Me: “Okay.”

(My boss comes out.)

Customer: “This employee was being extremely rude to me! I demand my purchase for free, or at least with a big discount!”

Boss: “No.”

Customer: “No? What do you mean, no? She was being rude!”

Boss: “Not rude.” *okay, sometimes you have to use two words*

Customer: “Yes, she was!”

Boss: *points to monitor* “Monitor.”

Customer: “What?”

Boss: “Heard you.”

Customer: “So?”

Boss: “Not rude. No discount.”

Customer: “The customer is always right! Why not?”

(Once we get to this point, my boss has a standard spiel.)

Boss: “Five good reasons.”

Customer: “Huh?”

Boss: “Five good reasons why you’re not getting a discount.”

Customer: “What? What are they?”

Boss: “One: I don’t have to. Two: I don’t want to. Three: There’s no reason I should. Four: You can’t make me. Five: I’m not going to.”

Customer: “I’m never coming here again!”

Boss: “You should have said that before. If you’d have said that if I gave you a discount, you would promise to never come back, I might have given it to you.”

(The customer left. Case closed.)