Stop Being Rude To Customer Service Workers

The headline says it all, but let’s go ahead and talk about it. If you or any of your loved ones are rude to retail or food service workers, you’re canceled. As someone who has worked a couple different jobs in the food industry, there’s always one similarity. Regardless of where I have worked or what the job has entailed, I always had to deal with rude, creepy, or intimidating customers. Hey everyone, there’s no reason to be that way. Go ahead and chill.

I will never forget my third shift at my very first job. I worked at a cupcake place in Palo Alto, CA, and I almost thought this shift would be my last. I opened the store with another one of my coworkers and got ready to start the day. A lady walked in first, with a separate couple following shortly behind her in line. My coworker went ahead and took the order of the first woman who had walked in because I was still learning how everything worked, and I was shocked by what happened.

This woman proceeded to give my coworker the most complicated order of a million different cupcakes in a million different, very specific boxes. My coworker was doing her best to keep up, but this woman definitely wasn’t making it easy for her. After a while of going back and forth, the woman grabbed the notepad and pen out of my coworker’s hands, and she started to fill out her own order slip. She caused a huge scene, and it got worse when she demanded to speak to our manager.

I went to the back of the store to grab my manager, who clearly had better things to be doing. That was when the shouting began. This customer started yelling at my manager, saying that my coworker and I were incompetent, unable to handle basic customer service, and disrespectful to her. First of all, I hadn’t even opened my mouth yet, and my coworker was doing her best to keep up with this lady’s complicated order.

My manager seemed nothing short of annoyed and upset, but she kept it professional, just as a respectful person would. She resolved the situation by giving her a few of her cupcakes for free. This bothered me because this woman was exhibiting disgusting, immature behavior and being rewarded for it, but I understood my manager just wanted her out of the store. As she proceeded to scream that she would never be returning to our store, she grabbed her cupcakes and left.

I was absolutely shocked. As someone who was so new to the job, I had no idea that people ever spoke to others with such hate and aggression. So why didn’t I quit, might you ask? Well, remember the couple that followed this woman into the store? The whole time this interaction was happening, they had grabbed napkins and pens, and they had written my coworker and I each little notes that said, “Don’t listen to her. You’re doing great,” with a little drawing of a cupcake.

This couple did more for me than they knew they had that day. They didn’t know I was brand new to this job (or any job for that matter), they didn’t know I was only 16 and scared of the woman in front of me, and they didn’t know that at that moment, I had contemplated quitting my very first job. They just decided it was the right thing to do because they wanted us to know we weren’t all the mean things the woman had said we were. So if this article somehow makes it to the couple that did this for us, I want to personally thank you for restoring my faith in humanity.

Anyway, the moral of the story here is don’t be rude. It literally is not at all hard to be pleasant, so just be that way. Next time your order gets mistaken for something else, the restaurant is taking too long, or the retail store has strict return policies, take into account that the people behind the counter aren’t the ones you should lay into. We’re doing our best, people. Don’t be the reason some 20-year-old girl vividly remembers a horrific work experience she had four years ago. More importantly, if you play witness to a rude customer, level with the workers. Do like the couple did for me, and validate the person on the receiving end of the verbal abuse.

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