Customer Expectations Reach Breaking Point

, , , , , | Right | March 29, 2019

(We’ve had a busy day and none of us have had our lunch breaks yet. We have a lunch cover staff member who is due to leave at a specific time, and unless we get our breaks in during that time, we will miss out.)

Manager: “[My Name], you need to take your break right now or we will all miss out on lunch.”

(We’ve had lines of customers but only two registers; it’s been non-stop.)

Me: *putting down what I was doing* “Okay, I’ll go right now.” *a customer comes and stands right in front of me, I know she’s heard what was said* “Ah, can I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, where is [item]?”

Me: “It’s just over here.”

Customer: “Ugh, there’s so many colours. I need you to help me choose one.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’ll leave you with it, as I’m on my lunch break now.”

Customer: “No, I need you to help me choose [items] and then [other items].”

(She keeps asking questions about what to use the items for, she wants me to basically give her lessons in their use, and she wants to know if it they match what she already has at home.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but if I don’t go now, the staff will miss out on their lunches, as I know that you heard what I was told. I’m happy to quickly point out where the items are, but I can’t choose them for you.” *goes to leave but she stands in my way.*

Customer: “I know you are at lunch, which means you have time to help me shop.”

Me: “No, I don’t have time to help you shop. I need to go, sit down, and eat something. I’ve been working for five hours.” *she tries to get in my way again, I manage to dodge her* “If you want help you can go to any of the other staff members, but you’ll have to wait in line.”

(It’s almost fifteen minutes from when I was told to go on my half-hour break. I scarf down some of my food and go back.)

Manager: “That’s quick. Did you get your full half hour?”

Me: “No, not really. I couldn’t get away from a customer. I just had fifteen minutes.”

Manager: “I know, I saw [Customer] stop you. She wanted you to shop for her, didn’t she?”

Me: “Yes, did she complain?”

Manager: “I wouldn’t have listened, anyway; you go and finish your break. That woman is a real pain. I made the mistake of over-helping her on her first visit and now she expects it every time.”

(From then on, if we heard the words, “[Customer] is in,” we made ourselves scarce and hoped she didn’t find us. The staff member she did find was always sent on an extra break to recover.)

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