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Worse Than Dealing With Customers

by Diana Morgan
(Evansville, IN USA)

For many years, I worked for the largest retail store in the country, and while it is always a challenge to deal with consumers, there’s nothing worse than having issues with management.

I worked in the Jewelry department, and on this one particular night, I was alone and had a customer ask if I’d change the battery in his watch. Store policy stated that unless we carried that watch, we were not allowed to work on it. If we broke it, we would not be able to replace it and the customer could sue the store.

I explained this to the customer, and very nicely, he asked to speak to a member of management, so I called for one. This particular manager was the most disliked associate in the store. All he ever did was find ways to get you into trouble and have you fired. He’d usually pick people who had been there for years and were making more money than newly hired people.

At any rate, he raised his voice to me and basically scolded me, in front of the customer, for not doing my job, even though I explained the policy to him (which he should have known). That didn’t seem to make a difference in his attitude, and he ordered me to go and get the tool to open the customer’s watch. “You can just get it yourself” I calmly responded, and walked away.

Tempers flared and the yelling continued, until finally, I grabbed my jacket, said, “Ok, that’s it!” and walked out of the building.

In my opinion, there’s no reason why someone should have the right to mentally abuse anyone, and certainly there should have been a little more professionalism in this situation. Even discounting the fact that I was going by store policy and I was in the right, how can any company keep a manager who acts this way. I still can’t figure that one out.

All I know is, I’m glad I walked away because if I’d stayed, I would have probably said something that I couldn’t take back. As it turned out, they temporarily suspended me, until they could gather all the details.

Just as they were ready to fire me, a witness to the whole incident, came forth. She was not only another member of management, but worked full time on the local police force. I was vindicated and that nasty manager never approached me again.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

I love a happy ending! Great story, Diana, especially since you were vindicated. Your point that problems with management can be much worse than with customers is well taken. I guess that goes for all co-workers, since we have to deal with them every day. Sounds like you handled this well!

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