There was a time when I had very little patience. I don’t mean the kind of patience where I couldn’t wait for something or I had to have something NOW.
Patience with others.
Managing my anger. Controlling the high blood, as we call it in my family.
Being able to hold my tongue without exploding after I was done nearly biting it off.
You would think the limits of my patience were tested while I worked in mental health. I witnessed and dealt with a lot in over 12 years in the field. I had kids kick, hit, bite, spit at me, and call me every name in the book (as well as some rather creative ones they added to the book). They lied, tried to be sneaky, manipulate, and split me and my co-workers. If you were in their situation, you probably would have, too.
In just under a year working in retail, it seems my patience is tested even more on a nearly daily basis. Kid losing his mind and threatening to kill himself? No problem. I can handle that. Guest gets bitchy with me because they don’t take the time to read the signs? Hold me back because I might hurt someone. Okay, not all the time, but the last few weeks it’s like all the idiots have been coming into the store and letting their light shine on their jackassery. I really don’t know what they get from it. The more I try to understand it, the more my head hurts because it is so incomprehensible. Once they’ve gone through their ranting and either gotten what they wanted or walked away empty handed, they still look like Cinderella’s ugly step-sisters.
Two weeks ago, I was dealing with a woman who was insisting the price of some toddler clothes were cheaper than they were ringing up. I showed her the sign that it says, “Starting at…” We all know what that means. Right? Common sense. Right? Well, then she made me show her what on the fixture started at the minimum price. Once I did she was okay. Until she started in about the sign on the other side. Which was the same. only there were also cargo shorts and not just shirts on that side. Apparently in her mind even if it said, “Starting at,” everything should have been the price listed. So, I’m calmly trying to explain to her that the price of the shorts are as marked and something else on the fixture is the minimum price. Somehow I wound up between her and her kids/cart. One of them was antagonizing the other and she decided it was time to yell at them and continue on yelling at them. In my ear. I took a step back and let her continue yelling (which went against every social work bone in my body). She then asked for the manager, whom I attempted to call with no luck…because as I found out later, I was still on another channel on the walkie and not the main. She then decided she didn’t want the clothes.
In between her yelling and me calling my manager, I wound up behind her and her kids. She started tossing the shirts and shorts on the fixture. I’m trying to pick them up and finally said calmly, “Ma’am, if you don’t want them, you don’t have to throw them. You can just give them to me.” To which she responded, “I’m not throwing them at you. I’m trying to give them to you, but you’re not catching them.” Now my patience is really tested. and I start biting my tongue. As soon as she walked away and started looking around the department, I dropped the clothes off in my basket I had across the aisle and then went up to explain the signing and pricing to the cashier that called me. Guess who walks up in the lane and starts arguing with the cashier as I walk away? You guessed it. I went on my break after that. I was too hot and I needed to calm down before I lost my temper.
Later on that evening, I talked to my manager for the evening because she eventually talked to the woman who kept insisting the shorts should be $5. She was finally offered them for the price she was insisting on, but she refused them. Should I even mention she tried to go through another lane and get them for even cheaper saying they were on clearance? Oops. Guess I already did.
What a special woman. She was young, too. I’d be surprised if she was 20 or older. She looked no more than 17 or 18. With two kids. I feel for those kids.
Just yesterday, I had a woman near the end of my work day tell me that my friend, who I answered on the walkie when she called for help with a price check, made her feel like “an absolute idiot.” Then said, “And I don’t appreciate it. I thought you should know that.” She had that tone when she said it, too. The haughty entitled tone. I thought to myself, Oh my God. You were a total bitch to her, weren’t you? Pretty much a rhetorical since I’ve had so much experience with people using that tone of voice. So, she showed me where she got the backpack from that she was trying to buy. I showed her the backpack that matched the numbers that I was given and where the backpack she wanted actually belonged. She seemed fine after that. When I talked to my friend later, she told me the woman called me a liar before she even came back to talk to me.
Another special woman. And she had her young son with her, too. Can you guess what he’s learning?
Those are the days I’d rather deal with a client having a crisis than an entitled so-called “normal” person who believes they are the end all be all. Those are the days that I also remember my dad’s words, the customer is not always right.