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High Chairs And Higher Expectations

, , | Right | June 17, 2021

I work as a cleaner in a shopping centre food court. I’m stood at my station cleaning trays for the restaurants when a mother, her friend, and two children sit at a table not far from me. The friend goes to the restaurant to order the food while the mum stays with her children.

Mum: “Excuse me. Where are your high chairs?”

Me: *Pointing* “There are some just behind you.”

The mother looks and then stays seated. Every so often, she glares at me, making me feel very uncomfortable. The friend returns with their food.

Mum: *With utter venom in her voice* “I want to speak to your manager!”

Me: “Can I ask what the problem is?”

Mum: “I asked you where the high chairs were, and you just gave me a vague reply and didn’t help. You saw me there with my kids—” *who have been sitting quietly keeping themselves entertained in the pushchair* “—and I couldn’t leave them. Your attitude is disgusting, and I want to speak to a manager!”

I radioed for my manager; she was on the other side of the shopping centre so it took her a while to turn up. The whole time, this woman got in my face, calling me every name in the book because I wouldn’t get the high chairs. I am not a confrontational person, and I was near tears and shaking the whole time, apologising to this woman, but she was having none of it. Had she asked me to get the high-chairs, of course, I would have gotten them; however, as she only asked where they were and they were only a couple steps away from her table — she would have still been able to see her kids while getting them — I didn’t feel it necessary. Big mistake.

While she was yelling at me, a colleague got security, who came to assess the situation but just ended up standing there doing nothing. My manager finally arrived and had to physically stand between me and the woman. My manager tried to calm the situation while I was still there apologising, because what else could I do at that point?

I was told to go to the back room to calm down. Once I was in there, I burst into tears. My colleague came in to comfort me, and then my manager arrived and told me to stay in there until the woman left.

Eventually, I calmed down and the woman and her party left. Once back to work, I was approached by a couple who’d witnessed everything, saying how well I composed myself during the situation. The couple and my colleagues informed me that once I left and the woman sat down to eat, she apparently kept looking around, possibly looking for me to start another argument. We think she was just wanting to start a fight with someone, and I was the unlucky winner.

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What is the absolute most stupid thing you’ve heard a customer say?

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