Thursday, March 24, 2011

The angry lady

The other day Brittney and I were working together.  It was still early, about 3:00, and Brittney was dealing with a customer who was giving her a hard time.  I didn't follow what was going on until after the fact, when Brittney and Chiy were talking about it.  By the tone of their conversation, some drama had just played out, so I asked Brittney what had happened.

Brittney described the customer to me as the lady who drives the city bus, and I remembered her as someone I had never really had a pleasant dealing with; she always seemed to be in a bad mood.  Apparently this lady had filled a Big Gulp cup with iced coffee, instead of using one of the iced coffee cups.  A Big Gulp cup is twice the size of a regular iced coffee cup, so Chiy told Brittney to charge the lady twice for a regular iced coffee.  Brittney did, and the lady threw a fit because the Big Gulp cups were near the iced coffee dispenser, and she should be able to use one and be charged regular price.

I would normally be sympathetic to a customer in this type of situation if the circumstances weren't extenuating, but they were, since there are iced coffee cups right next to the iced coffee dispenser which say 'iced coffee' on them.  The iced coffee dispenser is right next to the soda fountain, and The Big Gulp cups are underneath the soda fountain. Thus, the Big Gulp cups do happen to be in the general vicinity of the iced coffee dispenser, but anyone with half a brain and who wasn't deliberately trying to get more for less would know that they aren't meant to be used for the iced coffee.

Brittney tried to explain the situation to her, but the lady wouldn't have any of it.  After speaking angrily to Brittney and just being generally unpleasant, Chiy finally told Brittney to just charge her for a regular iced coffee, and that was the end of that. 

The next day I was working with Mattius, and Chiy was telling him about what had happened the day before.  At that time, the lady came into the store again and I recognized her.  She was tall and thin and white, probably about 50, and wearing the city uniform for a bus driver.  I was a little peeved at her for the way she had treated Brittney the day before, so I have to admit that I was ready and waiting to see if she was going to give us a hard time again.  We watched her go over to the soda fountain and fill a half gallon thermos with soda, making sure she wasn't putting iced coffee in it.  She wasn't, so I figured that there wouldn't be any conflict with her. 

She brought the thermos to Matius and said it was a refill.  Matius rang it up.  With tax it came to 96 cents, and predictably, she threw another fit.

Lady:  How much was that?

Matius:  96 cents.

Lady:  I thought it was supposed to be 89 cents.

Matius:  It is, but there's tax.

Lady:  I wish you guys would make up your minds about your prices. (rolleyes)

Matius:  It's 96 cents after tax.

Lady:  You should have told me that to begin with then.  I had the same problem yesterday with the other clerk.

I was standing next to the roller grill, watching this, and Chiy was standing next to me.  We exchanged glances, and Matius turned around and looked at us with this 'WTF?' look on his face.

At this time I just seen red.  I thought, 'This dragon lady comes into the store every day in a bad mood, is never pleasant to deal with, and for the past two days she has decided to share her misery with two of my friends over trivial matters.  She's unpleasant, rude, insulting, and I'm not going to stand here and let her get away with it.'  I decided to let her have it.

Me:  What is your problem exactly?  First off, you filled a half gallon thermos with soda, and we charged you a regular refill price for it.  That's 89 cents for the same amount of soda that you would get if you bought a 2 liter bottle for 2.49.  And since we live in America, I'd think that you would be used to the concept of taxes by now.  The refill is 89 cents before tax, and after tax it's 96 cents.  We're not trying to make this difficult for you; you're going to run into taxes everywhere you go.  And this soda you are purchasing is less than a dollar.  A dollar!  Is it really worth throwing a fit over?  And is it really going to break your bank account to pay an extra 7 cents?  Besides, you know that there is going to be tax, so why is this such a problem?  Think about it.  It's not even a dollar!  What is there to get upset about?

Lady:  ...

Me:  You come in here with this attitude every day, and it's just bad.  Your mood is always bad.  You bring it in here, and you inflict it upon us, and we don't deserve it.  Besides, you're only hurting yourself by walking around with this chip on your shoulder, and trying to make us miserable too isn't going to make things better for you at all.

Lady:  ...

Chiy:  And if you don't like the store, you don't have to come back.  You go to other store, there are plenty other stores in Denton.

Lady:  ...

At that point she was just furious and couldn't get any words out except things like 'well' and 'I don't think so'.  She turned and left and she hasn't been back since.

Afterward I felt bad about tearing into her like that.  Underneath my desire to not let her get away with being a bitch, I had the idea somewhere in my brain that I was trying to help her somehow, by making her aware of how pointless it was to carry around a chip on her shoulder like that.  But I wound up getting upset too, and probably didn't do any good at all.

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