Playing The Waiting Blame

, , , , , | Right | November 1, 2018

(I am working at the registers with a line of people. A man on his phone comes to the registers and puts his books on the counter without acknowledging me or pausing in his conversation. He puts a finger to his lips when I greet him. I stifle the urge to sigh, and ring up his items.)

Me: “Your total is [total], sir.”

(He turns his back on me and continues talking.)

Me: *louder* “Your total is [total], sir.”

(He sticks a finger in his other ear and walks to the farthest point of the registers with his back to me. I turn to the lady who is next in line with huge eyes, look down at the pile of books in front of me, then gather them all up and set them on a shelf behind me. I suspend the transaction and call the lady forward.)

Lady: “Don’t worry, hun. He’s a rude jerk.”

Me: “Thanks, ma’am. Sorry for the wait.”

Lady: “Don’t apologize, dear. You aren’t responsible for his bad manners.”

(I get through three customers before he comes back and cuts in front of the rest of the line. He stares while I retrieve his books and redo the transaction, and then he wordlessly pays and walks off. I get through my line and a manager approaches.)

Manager: “A man just complained that you ignored him and helped three people before helping him.”

(I explain the situation, and the manager merely frowns.)

Manager: “Well, you know, some customers don’t appreciate you stopping their transaction.”

Me: “And the twelve customers behind him would not have appreciated being forced to wait for him to come back. Do you want one complaint, or twelve?”

(The manager just sighed and walked away.)

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