Not The Kind Of Behavior That Cuts The Mustard

, , , , | Right | November 11, 2019

(I’m a cashier in a grocery store. I’m very friendly and like to help out in any way that I can, though I’m bad at picking up on “hints” that people try to give without just asking for what they want. We’re often a bit short-staffed, and when people forget an item, the vast majority of the time they’ll run off and grab it themselves while I’m scanning their other things because it’s a lot faster than waiting for a clerk, though some are still worried about holding up the line behind them. A lady in her late 50s comes through my till.)

Me: “Hi there. Did you find everything you needed today?”

Customer: “Hi. Yeah.” *finishes putting her stuff on the belt* “Oh, I forgot mustard.”

Me: *cheerfully* “Well, did you want to grab it still? You’ve got lots of time while I scan this stuff, and it’s just right there!” *gestures to the aisle, which is maybe thirty feet away*

Customer: *a bit coolly* “No, it’s fine.”

(I figure she doesn’t need it that badly and will get it next time. I scan a few more things.)

Me: “So, how are you today?”

Customer: *in a suddenly very chilly voice* “Fine. I’d be a lot better if I had my mustard.”

Me: *responding to her tone* “Oh, er… Are you sure you don’t want to grab it? There’s not a line or anything; you’ve got lots of time!”

Customer: “No.” *glares pointedly at me*

Me: *finally catching on* “Oh, would you like me to call someone to get it for you?”

Customer: *loudly snapping at me* “THAT WOULD BE NICE.”

(Taken aback by her anger, I page a clerk to come over to my till. While we are waiting, I ask:)

Me: “Ah, so, what kind of mustard would you like? Regular, dijon, flavoured? We have dill, bacon, horseradish—”

Customer: *in the same snippy tone* “Just normal mustard.”

Me: “Okay, so just yellow mustard. What size? Just a small one, or large, or something in between?”

Customer: “I don’t know. Just a regular size! It’s just mustard!”

Me: “All right, ma’am, we have quite a few types; I just want to make sure he grabs the one you want.

(A second customer joins the line as the grocery clerk arrives. I relay the message to the clerk and he hurries off to the condiment aisle as I smile at the new customer and tell them it’ll just be an extra minute because he’s grabbing an item. By now, I’ve finished scanning all my current customer’s things and we’re waiting in awkward silence. I can feel the huffiness radiating from her and use the time to take a sip of water instead of looking in her direction. The clerk comes back a moment later with a medium-sized bottle of yellow mustard. I take it from him and am about to thank him when the customer makes a noise of disgust.)

Customer: *to the clerk* “I wanted Dijon mustard!”

(I know full-well she said “normal” mustard when I offered her Dijon as an option, but I hold my tongue and remain polite.)

Me: “Sorry, must’ve misheard you. Do you want the same size as this one?”

Customer: *grunts in what I assume is approval*

(I exchange a glance with the clerk, who sighs slightly, takes the bottle back, and runs off again.)

Customer: *yells loudly after the clerk, startling everyone now in line behind her* “Bring me a large one!”

(I’m trying to hold in my annoyance as she mutters to herself about incompetent workers, hoping my coworker will be fast so I can get this lady out of here. The second customer is eyeing my current one with a raised eyebrow and an unimpressed expression. Thankfully, the clerk returns quickly and hands over the new bottle.)

Me: “Is this the one you’re after?”

Customer: *rudely* “YES, finally.”

(I quickly scan and bag the item as the clerk scurries off, tell her the total, and let her put through her card. She is still being rude and huffy with me when I ask her for a rewards card or if she’d like carry-out service, so I say nothing more than I absolutely have to, still managing to keep my tone polite. Once she’s done with payment:)

Me: “All right, you have a good day.”

Customer: “Well, it would’ve been a terrible day if you hadn’t bothered to get me my mustard!”

(She gives a final sniff of annoyance and stalks off with a great deal of haughtiness. I try not to let the irritation show on my face as I turn to the next customer, who is watching the woman walk away with an incredulous look on their face.)

Next Customer: *rolling their eyes* “…or she could have just gotten it herself and spared everyone the hissy fit.”

(Or instead of being passive-aggressive, she could have just asked. I’d have been more than happy to call someone immediately if she’d just told me in the first place.)

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