Socially Distancing Yourself From The Jerks

, , , , , , , | Right | May 25, 2020

The story with this customer is a bit of a saga. It begins in late fall of 2019 and continues into March 2020.

We have an older semi-regular shopper at my grocery store who is just an a** to all of us. He has never once been polite. I honestly don’t remember what he said to me the first time I had him at my till, but the interaction caused me to dislike him from the start. I think it was just his “cashiers are worthless and your only purpose is to serve me” attitude.

The second time this customer came through my till, I was warned by my supervisor that he would be difficult to deal with, and I received similar treatment from him. I was yelled at for not immediately moving to load his single bag of groceries into his cart. Admittedly, loading carts is something we are required to do by corporate. However, since we are the only store in the area with that policy, most customers load their carts themselves, especially if they have small purchases. They always thank us when we do it for them. But not him.

The third time I saw this customer, I was the supervisor on duty, and he went through a coworker’s till. I went over to her till and bagged for her — even though cashiers at my store are supposed to work without a bagger — because I knew this customer would be disrespectful to her. I was right. He yelled at her for touching his groceries before he had everything out of his cart and then yelled at her again when she took too long to ring him up… which wouldn’t have happened if she could have started when he was loading the belt.

The fourth time I saw this customer, I was again the supervisor on shift, but I couldn’t get to my (other) coworker’s till in time to help her. He berated her for similar “mistakes.” He first yelled at her because she offered to put his receipt in a bag. Then, the customer yelled at her again when she asked if he would prefer to hold on to his receipt or have her toss it.

I’m sure you get the idea; this guy is a piece of work. None of us like dealing with him, but you know how it is when you work in customer service. No matter how big of a jerk someone is being, you still have to smile and be polite.

The most recent time I see this customer is in March 2020, during the crisis. A lot has changed in my store in order to keep it running. Now, there are plexiglass screens in front of the tills, sliding doors behind them, and markers every six feet so customers know where to stand in line. We’ve also had to hire a lot of new people, both to cope with panic buying and because we need to have more tills open to reduce the number of people in close proximity to each other. Also, corporate has suspended our cart-loading policy for the moment, since it would mean getting within six feet of customers.

This time, my supervisor notices this customer first, as he gets into line at a till manned by one of the new hires. At her suggestion, I let the new hire out on break so she doesn’t have to deal with him on her third day after training.

He is just as rude to me as he has been in the past. I complete the sale with a smile on my face in spite of this. When I finish ringing him up, he demands I move his groceries to his cart. I take great pleasure in telling him he will have to load his three bags himself, as I am no longer required to do so by corporate, due to the current crisis.

It’s not much, but boy, did that feel good.

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