Your Patience Is Unbreakable

, , , , , | Right | December 27, 2018

(I have recently been hired at the same bookstore my mom has been working at for years because of a heavy hit holiday season. The store specializes in Christian supplies, with some Catholic supplies. The store is understaffed and the manager is desperate for help. It’s about my third or fourth shift and I’m on register. I’m young and new, so I tend to get the more demanding customers. It’s very busy, and despite our best efforts with our two registers, we still manage to get a massive line for our small store. The next customer has just come to me. She looks to be in her early forties, but she’s acting like she’s sassy sixteen, twirling her hair in one hand while the other is on her hip.)

Me: “Hi there! Did you find everything alright today?”

Customer: “Yeah, sure.”

Me: *smiling sweetly* “Great! Do you have a rewards card with us?”

Customer: “What? Do you, like, want my phone number?”

Me: “Sure.” *pulls up customer search and types in her number as she says it to me; no matches come up* “Nothing’s coming up in the system. Is there another number we could try?”

Customer: “Oh, I don’t have one.” *in a slightly stricter tone* “Never assume that.”

Me: “All right, then would you like to sign up for one?”

Customer: “Do I get a discount with it?”

(Already used to this question with new rewards members, I happily explain that it doesn’t give one now, but it’s a free signup and we can send coupons monthly by both mail and by email, as well as $5 vouchers she can earn by spending money in the store.)

Customer: *wrinkles nose in slight disgust* “Nah. I don’t shop here enough for that.”

(The line is being held up, and I’m giving apologetic glances to the other customers.)

Me: “That’s all right.” *finishes ringing her up* “Okay, your total will be [over $100].”

(She thrusts the card at me and I take it.)

Me: “May I see some ID, please?”

Customer: *rolls eyes and digs in her purse for her wallet* “That’s a debit card. You know, debit? You shouldn’t need my ID.”

Me: “I’m sorry for the confusion, but our system runs credit and debit together.”

(She scoffs and holds out her ID to me with her head back as though her own wallet is some disgusting thing. I thank her and swipe the card before handing it back.)

Me: “Now, if you could just sign this for me, please.”

(I hand her the transaction slip and a pen for her to sign it as I start getting packing paper to wrap her fragile purchases.)

Customer: *watches me wrap her items and in a very condescending tone* “You make sure you wrap those up the right way. I don’t need my things breaking on the way home. You start there on the bottom and work the paper around.”

(I’m clenching my jaw hard and biting my tongue. I’ve always despised being treated like I’m five, and my usual response is to reply in a very annoyed and smarta** way. Knowing I can’t, I just smile and nod.)

Customer: “Make sure the bags are all the way open.” *as though she’s talking to a toddler with an alphabet puzzle* “Now, you just carefully pick up wrapped items and stick them gently inside the bags. Breakables go in the same bag.”

(I handed her her items, and as sweetly and naturally as I could, I wished her a Merry Christmas, and she left. I found out later through my mom that the woman was actually the new hire she told me about that only worked two shifts before storming in one day and throwing her apron down in front of the manager, and then storming back out without a word.)

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