Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Should employees be reprimanded for saying certain things loudly enough for the whole room to hear? (See details.)

Asked by Dutchess_III (38180points) July 13th, 2010

My daughter is working, full time, but at only $8.00 an hour, and with two kids to support, she qualifies for a certain amount of food stamp assistance. I don’t think that’s something any one is particularly proud of. During the time I had food stamps I felt somewhat embarrassed every time I used them, and I’m pretty sure you guys know I’m not some kind of deadbeat. Today my daughter was was checking out at the grocery store, and some item wouldn’t be accepted to be paid by her vision card. The cashier yelled clear across the store to her boss “Hey! This item was rejected by this lady’s food stamps….her Vision card!! It won’t take the food stamps!” My daughter was so mortified that she said, “I think I’m finished now. You can put all of this stuff back,” and walked out.

Another time my other daughter needed to take her son to the doctor, but didn’t have the money. So I wrote her a check to take with her. When she gave it to the receptionist, the receptionist pulled up “my” account, and said very loudly, “We can’t accept this check! You mother bounced a check on us that she’s never paid!!”
My daughter’s hackles rose and she said, just as loudly, “Lady, my Mom doesn’t bounce checks. Look again.”
Sure enough, the woman had accessed the wrong account. Never gave my daughter an apology or anything.

What are these people thinking?

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43 Answers

Seek's avatar

Ugh. Idiots.

Honestly, I wish I could carry around a whiffle ball bat to beat these people with.

And, I deal with that very thing often enough. I’m currently receiving food stamps (I’m not ashamed – My husband and I have paid in a combined 30 years to the program so it would be there if we needed it. We just happen to need it right now.) and the cards are some throwback from the 80s. If you walk past a refrigerator the magnetic strip dies. So, every time I get a newbie cashier, they need to be taught how to enter the thing manually. Of course they have no tact. That’s why we need the whiffle ball bat.

Dutchess_III's avatar

THAT is a grand idea! Whiffle ball anyone?!

marinelife's avatar

You need (and your daughter) to not care what others say about you. Why would you be embarrassed or ashamed about the food stamps or the check (especially since it wasn’t your account). You need to not care what others think.

That said, the cashier and the woman in the doctor’s office were rude.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@marinelife It’s easy to say we shouldn’t care, but we do. Call it pride, call it whatever you want, I don’t like being embarrassed.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Wow!
I see nothing wrong with telling them what you think of them ;)

RANGIEBABY's avatar

Actually, I think the person that should be embarrassed is the cashier. If I was standing in that line, I would probably have said something to the cashier when it was my turn. Like “I would like to speak to your supervisor”. Then I would tell the supervisor that his cashier is very uncouth and I for one felt bad for your customer. I know it is none of my business, but in some cases, I make it my business.

ucme's avatar

Reprimanded? As in nipple clamped? Fuck yeah!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@RANGIEBABY Yes, I think it would be easier for me to stand up for someone else, than for myself. That was a GA. And I told my daughter to call the supervisor….

@lucillelucillelucille Yabutt I don’t like to talk that way in public!

UCME…ow!

Dutchess_III's avatar

You are SO SLOW, Jelly!

NaturallyMe's avatar

Yes they should! There are many things that employees can inappropriately say in the workplace, not only because it’s poor customer service, but also because it can give the business a bad name and it may lose customers as a result. If it’s bad enough they deserve a written warning. Some people really don’t think before they do things, but that doesn’t mean that their damaging actions must go without consequences – if you let it slide once, they think it gives them license to do it again.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Dutchess_IIILOL! Do you think my super cool comments just happen in a split second?? :P

Austinlad's avatar

Yes! Reprimanded and threatened with job loss. AND told to apologize to you. It’s totally rude and unfeeling for the clerk and cashier to have shouted out these comments. If this had happened to me, I would have spoken to the bank manager and store manager and told them that I and my family are customers and not willing to tolerate being treated that way. This kind of treatment of customers makes my blood boil.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@NaturallyMe Thank you! No, I assume you need to consult a dictionary for every other word. : }~

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Austinlad and @Dutchess_III – and that’s exactly what you should do – get hold of the managers and give them feedback about their employees – you have no idea how few people actually do that, and if the manager/owner doesn’t get feedback from customers, how can they be expected to fix anything and reprimand an employee? Trust me, most business owners will really value your feedback, especially the bad ones, because then they can do something about it and improve customer service.

Dutchess_III's avatar

In fact, I’m going to call them too! Thanks again @NaturallyMe

RANGIEBABY's avatar

I actually had something like this happen to me at Sears Repair Store. I went in to get a part for a Sears garbage disposal. The clerk said he would have to order it and it would be a few weeks. I said I needed it now, is there a part from another type of garbage disposal that I could use. In a very loud voice he said “NO LADY, I TOLD YOU, YOU CAN ONLY USE SEARS PARTS. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE YOU CAN USE, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” Everybody in the store stopped and looked at me, so I said “mister, you don’t know me. I can do anything I want and it will work.” I left, went to a big box store got a part I thought I could adapt and what do you know, it worked. I went back and spoke to the manager that day.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@RANGIEBABY Yay for you! What did the manager say?

Austinlad's avatar

I just remembered that one time I was in a store and the clerk was being snappish and rude to me. It wasn’t easy, but somehow I mustered up the nerve to say, “You know, lady, I don’t like you and I’m not going to buy anything from you.” And I walked out. DAMN it felt good.

RANGIEBABY's avatar

@Dutchess_III The manager wanted to know which clerk waited on me and called him over to us. He questioned him right in front of me and the clerk tried to down play what he had said. I turned and said do you think I would have bothered to come back here and talk to your boss if you hadn’t been very loud and rude? He snapped at me and that is when the boss gave him a very stern look, and gently walked me to the door and told me he would definitely take care of it. I shook his hand and said thank you and left.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

In a case like that, I think I would have chewed those people out. Loudly. They should be reprimanded. It’s unprofessional to yell in a place of buisness to begin with; thats why they have phones and intercoms to talk to people. Talk to their direct supervisors and their managers, and even the owners. It may not get them fired but hopefully they would at least get written up.

And sometimes it works the other way around too; in my years as retail I’ve encountered some unforgivably rude and stupid customers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@RANGIEBABY….The dude snapped at you in front of his boss???

@tragiclikebowie LOL! Yell at them that it’s rude to yell in a place of business? :) Yeah, and hopefully teach them the manners that their parents forgot to teach them.
I’m interested in hearing some rude customer stories!

ratboy's avatar

Situations such as you describe are what the founding fathers had in mind when then added the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

knitfroggy's avatar

I can’t imagine why the cashier would even need to yell that to anyone. I work retail and when someone’s buying something that doesn’t go thru on their Vision Card, we are trained to just tell them the item wasn’t food stamp eligible. Then we ask if they would still like to purchase it. There is NO reason to yell to anyone. At my store that cashier would be written up, if not fired. That’s an embarrassing situation and I’m really sorry your daughter was treated like that.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I worked at a bakery and cafe for 2 years or so. They did bread, cookies, sandwiches, soups, desserts, catering, stuff like that. I had a older woman come in once to buy some rughlach. I was helping her and she asked the price because it had recently gone up. She went off on a tangent to me about how they keep raising the price and making them smaller (they were only .99 cents each by the way) and talking to me as if I could give her a discount or do something about it. This went on for way too long and I started to get frustrated. I told her many times I was sorry but there was nothing I could do. I just ring people up and make coffee, I have no authority to give discounts or anything. Eventually she got pretty hostile about the situation and asked me “WHAT DOES YOUR MOTHER DO FOR A LIVING?”, I replied “She’s a lawyer.” She then got huffy and said “WELL YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND THEN,” and left.

I understand some people may be used to haggling, but this place takes careful inventory. If I had given her a discount without permission from my manager or the owners I could have been fired.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@tragiclikebowie I’ve worked in corporate situations, and people act like since this is a famous, well known place nothing should ever go wrong. Like it’s not run by regular people or something. Or who seem to hold you personally responsible for whatever inconvenience. (What was the purpose of asking what your Mom did for a living?)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Dutchess_III -You don’t have to curse or call names or yell.In fact,it’s more effective when yu don’t.There is nothing wrong with setting someone straight;)

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I guess to see whether my family was on a fixed income or how well off we were? I have no idea.

As a side note, although my mom is a lawyer at the time she hadn’t graduated from law school and she hasn’t found work since she graduated

RANGIEBABY's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes, he did. I think he was shocked that I came back and called out his boss, and he didn’t know how to handle it. The calmer I was, the more he seemed to become agitated.
@tragiclikebowie But what do you do when it is the boss himself that is being rude? I went into a futon store and the owner waited on me and my husband. We purchased 4 futons with special convoluted foam mattresses. When they arrived only two had the convoluted foam. I called him and he tried to tell me all 4 were the same. He refused to do anything about it. I went to BBB and he had to answer to them. He finally fixed his error but was very angry with us. About 1 year later my husband and I went with our daughter to pick out a futon for her girls little guest room. The owner recognized us and started ranting and raving that he would not sell anything to my daughter as long as we were there. Other customers were in there as well. My daughter said “well then, you won’t be selling me anything” with that we headed for the door, along with the other customers that had been shopping.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@RANGIEBABY Report him to OSHA or the Better Buisness Bureau? One of the owners of the bakery was a total ass and would do stuff like that. Or tell people not to shop there by word of mouth, I suppose. There’s not a whole lot to do in that situation except for try to make sure people you know don’t have to deal with the same crap.

RANGIEBABY's avatar

@tragiclikebowie He actually shot himself in his own foot that day. He lost at least 3 potential sales. I would imagine the other customers relayed their experience with their friends and so on. Word of mouth can be very powerful.

Seek's avatar

@RANGIEBABY

Very, very true.

My husband (who is a hardwood flooring contractor) consistently says that a happy customer may tell someone, but an unhappy customer tells at least three people. It’s much harder to build up your business than it is to tear it down.

RANGIEBABY's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr My husband was also a contractor and he believed his word was as good or better than hand shake. Always to the customers satisfaction, was how he ran his business.

dynamicduo's avatar

Some people are idiots, some are clueless, and some try to be mean on purpose. I find it’s not worth my time or energy to get worked up over these sorts of things, or try to have the person reprimanded, the effort I would invest in that would not be worth the “reward” of this person possibly being fired or more probably having nothing happen. When it comes to entry level or teenage-aimed jobs, there’s simply no way you’ll change their opinion or their actions in the brief seconds of interaction you have, the only thing you can control is your own reaction to these things. Which is why I choose to not care and not get worked up over it. I use the opportunity to reflect on humanity and what kind of a person I am – I laugh at their juvenile behavior and feel proud about not being as awkward or offensive as they are.

That said, there’s a line and a point in time where the effort I invest is worth the reward. These are situations like the one @RANGIEBABY talks about, where a manager displays such ridiculous or outlandish behaviour and manages to bypass my “dumb human” filter and really piss me off. When this happens it is easy to stop the transaction right then and there, take down the person’s name and employee number if their name is not easily identifiable, and ask for contact information for their manager. I wouldn’t raise my voice, too much effort for return again, but writing a letter is a simple thing to do and lets you regain your calmness and rationality in the face of racing emotions. All companies want your money, sending them a letter detailing just why they won’t be getting your (nor your friends’) money due to one person’s stupidity is in my opinion the best way to get any type of resolution about the situation.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@dynamicduo – while i can understand why one would want to decide to stop supporting a particular company because of the behaviour an employee, i also know that, if you like that company (other than the one bad experience you just had with an employee, assuming it’s the only time it’s happened), it doesn’ make sense to me to write off the company as a whole.

I say this because i’m a small business owner, and there’s no reason why a customer should want to refuse to ever use our services again (or tell their friends to stay away from my shop) just because of the bad behaviour of one of several employees working there. Sure, maybe if the owner of the shop was rude, then i’d say you have a better reason for avoiding the place altogether. A far better action would be to just inform the owner of the bad experience so that they can try to fix it – they aren’t in control of each of their employees, of course, so they really, REALLY value your input – if nobody tells them, they can’t improve the service.

I also say this because i’ve experienced this before, where a customer was not happy with the service of a single employee, so they not only promised to bad mouth the entire company, but also threatened to write about it in the newspapers. Now why try to ruin a business just because of a single employee? That’s not fair.

Also, hopefully, by writing this, some people will think twice before trying to damage a business as a whole, when all they could have done is inform the owner of the problem so that they can try to fix it. Especially if it’s a small business that can’t afford to have customers spreading negative info about it and cause it to possibly lose customers – they will more often than not take appropriate action with that employee because they literally cannot afford to have an employee that’s damaging their business. By damaging the business, the employee gets away with murder and the owner is the one who ends up suffering.

RANGIEBABY's avatar

@dynamicduo There are those time when steam comes from my ears, but I give it my best shot to remain calm. A ranting person is usually not taken seriously. My purpose in holding feet to the fire is not so much for self gratification as it is to bring it to their attention. I honestly think some people don’t realize how they sound, but then again most do. I just don’t want to let people think they can treat everybody that way, and if enough people would stop, take a little of their time and get in their face a little, it might help improve some attitudes.
@NaturallyMe I love Sears, in fact I purchased kitchen appliances from them just recently. The only time I would blame the company is if it was the owner, like the futon man. However, I really don’t need to go any further than just walk away, because that man will kill his own business, all by himself.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@RANGIEBABY – absolutely, if the owner is an @$$ for no reason, i’ll not want to support him/his business by giving him my money.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@NaturallyMe nothing. nevermind.

Dutchess_III's avatar

fine. i’ll just make a new account called “IRS”.

NaturallyMe's avatar

:0…..you wouldn’t dare! I’ll take your Dutchess hostage and put mini marshmalllows up her nose

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ll lock you in the basement!!! I’ll do it, too!!!

NaturallyMe's avatar

Now that’s just beneath you…..only frogs lock people up in their basements…

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