The Mother Of All Bad Customers

, , , | Related | June 7, 2017

(I’m a college student who still lives at home and works part-time as a book-shelver. I keep my work and personal lives separate. One day, my mom appears at my library, and I’m totally immersed in work-mode and caught off-guard by her surprise visit.)

Mom: “Hi!”

Me: “O-oh, hi.”

Mom: *angry* “What?! Aren’t you happy to see me?”

Me: “That’s not it. It’s just that I don’t have time to talk right now, and I already took my break—“

Mom: “You can’t talk to your own mother?”

Me: “We can always talk later, but I’m working right now.”

Mom: “Fine. If you’re going to be like that, then help me find [Book].”

Me: “Okay. So if you go to the reference desk—“

Mom: “Why are you passing me off?! You don’t want to help me?!”

Me: “I don’t know the call number… y’know, the label on the spine? But they can look it up at the reference desk, and then I can help you find it.”

Mom: “Look it up there!” *she points to the patron computers*

Me: “Um… I’m really not allowed to do that. It’s outside of my job description and could get me in trouble.”

Mom: “Ugh, forget it! I don’t know WHY you’re treating me like this!”

(While the bad work experience was partly my own fault, the worst part is that it followed me home! I had to deal with my mom’s passive-aggressive comments about this incident for a long time.)

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  • Flami

    This unfortunately sounds like what my mother would do.

  • Deadpool

    Yeah, you’re better off just bending the rules for your mother but you didn’t know that yet. Sorry. Glad you learned your lesson.

    • Psyramics

      That’s how you end up as a doormat for the rest of your life.

      • anitoo

        and fired “making exceptions for family/friends” and “not obeying the rules & regs of the org/your position”.

    • ludicrous_speed

      Found the OP’s mom.

    • jokergirl129

      OP shouldn’t have to bend the rules for their mother. Especially if bending the rules could result in them getting into trouble or worse yet fired. The mother should have understood that OP was busy and couldn’t do what she was asking them to do.

      • Deadpool

        Family and friends make the worst customers.

        • jokergirl129

          In some cases they can be. But not all friends and family are the worst. Most know how to behave.

  • anitoo

    It sounds like the bad work experience wasn’t your fault at all… as soon as you saw your mom, you knew from experience that life was not going to go well… but not because of you. Because you know your mom doesn’t respect boundaries and limits.

    Most people don’t react to “I’m not supposed to do that and could get in trouble for it” with “I don’t know why you’re treating me like this!” – they say “Gotcha, no problem… where did you say I should go to find that information?”

    But you know your mom’s not one of them… and that’s not your fault. At all. Sorry you’re stuck in that position.

  • Nevyn

    Seems to me that your mother isn’t the adult in your relationship.

    • Megan

      Totally OT, but are you by chance a fan of the Deverry series?

      • Lady Lockeout

        I am. Have the whole run.

        • Megan

          Cool! It’s my favorite fantasy series, I always love finding other fans because almost no one I know has read it (or wants to, despite my constant prodding).

      • Nevyn

        Absolutely 🙂
        Katharine Kerr is one of my favourite authors.

        • Megan

          Awesome 🙂 I figured, since that’s the only place I’ve ever seen a Nevyn before. She’s one of mine too!

          • Nevyn

            I just love the tangled web she wove with all the incarnations.
            And as you can probably guess the master of Aethyr is my favourite character.
            I have the same problem as you. Nobody I know has read them, despite my attempts to rectify that.

          • Megan

            Did you know she’s working on another Deverry book? She has a Patreon account where you can get sneak peeks of it.

            Salamander was my favorite, I just love the chattering elf. Nevyn and Jill were tied for second.

  • Ug, that sucks OP. I don’t think it’s your own fault at all, you were a hair abrupt, but you were just trying to be focused and responsible at your job. Definitely not worth the passive-aggressiveness you got, not at all.

    I’m somewhat similar, I never had a bad of an experience like that thankfully, but I do recognize I talk to my family completely differently when I’m at work. When I worked at a deli my dad would stop by every Sunday during his weekly grocery shop, often during the afternoon rush, for a bit of chitchat. I was always super happy to see him, but too exhausted and absorbed in what I was doing for more than a bit of vague small talk. He was always cool about it though, he never overstayed and if it was too frantic he’d just try to catch my eye for a smile and wave. It was probably the one nice thing about working Sundays.

  • Kitty

    Mom needs to learn that you have absolutely no relation at your job. Customer-Employee, pure and simple. When my mom or even her boyfriend were customers wherever I worked, I treated them like customers because that’s what you do. No special treatment.

    • Siirenias

      Bet she wanted the employee discount. On her library books.

      • Kitty

        None of the places I worked to date allowed employee discount to be used for your family (or friends). Not even in the ‘everybody does it, even if you aren’t supposed to’ way.

        • Siirenias

          Some folks demand it anyway, even for a free service like a library. The mother did seem very demanding.

        • WonderRabbit

          When I worked for Kmart, they encouraged it.
          Then again, the discount was only 5% so it didn’t make a huge impact anyway…

    • Shauna Mac Siacais Guell

      My whole family was awesome at the “Shauna’s working, she can’t chat” situation. My retail jobs were mainly cashier, so if I saw them, they’d get at most a small wave and a “hi, y’all,” maybe also a quick hand squeeze if they were walking past while I was quickly putting bags in a cart. They also understood that they couldn’t come through my line to check out, no matter what.

  • I_browse_with_Lynx

    Yeah, treating a library patron like a library patron. So inconsiderate. What next? She has to return the items she checked out? The inhumanity!

  • ShadeTail

    When someone makes passive-aggressive comments at me, I make active-aggressive comments right back. I simply do *NOT* tolerate that kind of nonsense, especially from family. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened often, but whenever a relative tried to pull this kind of stunt with me and got snippy about it later, I just bluntly told them to stop acting like a spoiled child and get over it.

  • Fenn

    I’ve had parents show up where I work from time to time. When I worked in a mall, my mom came into the store I worked in with frozen yogurt from a separate ice cream store. She offered me a bite of her frozen yogurt, holding the spoon like she was feeding a young child. I felt awkward for a second then decided to take the bite to appease her. She then left and I got an odd look from the next customer. I had to apologize explain that was my mother, thankfully the customer just waved it off.

  • Melissa Burris

    None of this was your fault. SHE was the one who showed up unannounced, she was the one who got offended when you said you did not have time to chat, and who refused to listen when you said you could not perform certain tasks. And she was the one who held a grudge over you simply wishing to do your job. She sounds like a toxic parent, and the sooner you recognize this, the sooner you stop blaming yourself for her bad behavior, and limit your interactions with her.

  • Jackie Fauxe

    Have you been to r/raisedbynarcissists subreddit, OP? If that type of situation happened often you might find some comfort there.

    • Lord Retro

      I don’t have the link handy but we’ve also used the “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” website

      • Jackie Fauxe

        Comments with links won’t post anymore, anyway.

  • hoppytoad79

    Passive-aggressive people are horrible to deal with. All my sympathy. I totally understand the work/personal life separation, and so do my parents. Too bad your mom doesn’t.

  • Leiko Burningbear

    And if you had dropped everything to help your mother, doing things you weren’t supposed to be doing, and got fired….I bet she’d hiss at you for getting yourself fired. Then immediately complain that you needed to get off your lazy butt and get a job.

  • Souless night

    Sheesh lady, the world does not revolve around your massive ego.

  • Jourdan Townsend

    Yep, I had one of those. Ran my own business for years working from home, she didn’t understand why I couldn’t just chat in the middle of the day and would tell me I was rude and spoiled.

  • Bethany Lieflijk

    The only thing worse than having a NAR story is the other guy being a relative and being able to follow you.

  • Abigail Hermione Irwin

    Dear Mom: Are you planning to grow up anytime soon?

  • Bill Cademy

    Several years ago, our daughter was working at a very nice restaurant. (Think one named after a cream-cheese desert.) One time, a friend of mine and I went there and asked to sit in her section. She was, of course very happy to see me – but she knew I was just there to be proud of my daughter, not to interfere with her doing her job properly. I let her go about her duties without asking for any special favors or discounts.
    She did her job very well, and I was very proud of her for it. Why would I get in the way?

  • Sounds like Mom was acting a bit shelfishly.

  • Lord Circe

    Always sucks to realize you’re related to a NAR.

  • Matt Seifman

    Some people (even mothers) think the world revolves around them and to tell them otherwise is offensive.

    I’m sorry you had to deal with that and what’s worse is you have to go home to that too.

  • allahboleh

    We’ve had several employees we’ve either not hired or had to fire because their parents wouldn’t stop interfering in their employment

  • Tyler Tenebrae

    One can almost feel how she’s torn between the instinct of a nagging parent and the instinct of a rude customer.

  • Kirishima Touka

    I’m also a different person in work and at home. Work-me is all, “I’ll plan my day to the minute, always answer my phone in two rings, stay late to finish work, and always do things for my coworkers” whereas home-me is like, “Dishes? Lol, nope.”