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They Want What You Don’t Sell, But Sure, You’re The Stupid One

, , , | Right | May 24, 2022

I have owned a small business for nine years, wherein I hand-make all of the items I sell. I have been in retail and customer service for several years prior, so customer shenanigans are nothing new to me, and I’m typically pretty good at handling problem customers.

I am set up at an expo when a tall man in his late thirties comes into my booth with his dog. He holds up a dog bandana I’ve seen and we discuss a custom order for a reversible bandana. After choosing the patterns he would like, he begins holding up different size bandanas to his dog to find which fits the dog best.

As he’s doing this, a small old lady I wasn’t previously aware of steps out from behind him.

Lady: “What’s the price for that?”

Me: “It depends on the size he decides on, but it would be between [amount #1] and [amount #2].”

Lady: “You charge that much for a collar cover? Are you stupid?”

This throws me off for more than one reason. First, I’m hoping I misheard the second part, but her tone tells me otherwise. Second, I do not sell collar covers and there is nothing in my booth to indicate that I do. I’m also positive that I did not misunderstand what the man, who I assume at this point is her son, wanted, as we’ve discussed his order in length and she wasn’t involved in the discussion. However, both the old lady and the man are standing there staring at me. I put on my best customer service smile and remain professional.

Me: “I’m so sorry. I actually do not sell collar covers. My price would be for the reversible bandana we were discussing, and it includes tracked shipping.”

Lady: “Now I know you must be stupid. He wants a collar cover. A c-o-l-l-a-r c-o-v-e-r.”

She says this to me as if I’m the biggest moron this side of the Mississippi. I, again, look to the man to correct her, but he just stares at me. Years of experience tell me I’m going to get nowhere with this situation, so I decide to defuse things the only way I can before there’s trouble in my booth.

Me: “I will not be spoken to this way. I need to ask you to please leave.”

I try my best to not be ignorant to a customer. I take pride in making all of my customers feel welcome, but at this point, whatever order this man may want to put in will not be worth the $5 or so that I will make on the order, and I’m honestly baffled that a grown man is refusing to correct this woman and allowing her to speak to me this way.

The man puts down the bandanas, but the older lady decides that it doesn’t matter that I don’t sell what she’s looking for or that I asked her to leave. She’s more interested in her own feelings about my intelligence and doesn’t go quietly. Finally, I’ve had enough and raise my hand to stop her tirade.

Me: “Get out. Now.”

She stares me down for a second before they both walk out. I was set up next to a friend, who heard the tirade but hadn’t heard anything prior.

Friend: “What the h*** was her problem, and do you want me to fight her?”

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