Exploding Over Turkeys Happens Outside The Holidays

, , , , , | Right | January 10, 2019

(I work in a bakery at a chain grocery store, but I am also cross-trained in the deli department, which is connected to the bakery. We just hired some new people, and I am scheduled to work in the bakery at the same time as a trainee is working in the deli by herself. The manager asks me if I can keep an eye on her in case she needs help, and I happily agree. It’s also important to note that we just switched some of our deli meat brands and flavors after we finished training our new employees, so some of the meats that we had when she first started training we either no longer carry or we carry it in a different brand. I’m working in my department when I hear this:)

Coworker: “Good afternoon, sir. Can I help you with something?”

Customer: “I would like some oven-roasted turkey.”

Coworker: “Okay. Would you like [Brand #1] or [Brand #2]?”

(Somehow, this question sets him off. He turns red in the face and starts yelling at my poor coworker.)

Customer: “You are so incompetent! Do you not know what you are doing? How hard is it to slice some meat?!”

(He goes on, and my coworker is too shocked to say anything. I step in to see if I can defuse the situation.)

Me: “[Coworker], are you okay?”

Coworker: “I just asked what brand he wanted because I couldn’t remember if we had the same flavor in another brand…”

Me: *to the man, as sweet and cheery as I can be* “Can I help you with something, sir?”

Customer: “NO! This entire store is filled with incompetent people! I just asked for some meat and she can’t slice it for me? How hard can it be to slice some meat?! I just want some meat!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. We are currently switching our brands, and my coworker was confused about which brand of turkey you wanted, Did you want [Brand #1] or did you want [Brand #2]?”

Customer: *throwing a temper tantrum at this point* “I just want some meat! How hard is that?! You are all incompetent, and I will never shop here again! I’m about to leave and I will never come back!”

(I can deal with rude customers, but at some point, a switch just goes off in me, and I’ll be d***ed if I’ll let a customer talk about my coworkers like this. However, instead of blowing up at rude customers, I have a different tactic.)

Me: *with a sweet, peppy smile* “All right, sir! Well, you have a good day! Thank you for shopping at [Grocery Store Chain].”

(The man looks like he is about to lay an egg — just totally shocked. He shakes out of it, and angrily grabs his cart and goes to check out.)

Me: *to coworker* “You okay?”

Coworker: “Yeah… I just asked him a question.”

Me: “Don’t worry about it. Some people are just jerks.”

(I went back to my work and our shifts continued normally. He must have had a bad day, because there is no way that turkey is so important that you have to have a meltdown in the middle of the store over it. That employee left a couple months later; most people don’t stay too long. I still work here, but I graduate school soon, so hopefully, I will never have to deal with rude customers like him again! If I do have a rude customer, I just kill them with kindness.)

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