Spirited Away, Chihiro rain
can_be_cruel can_be_cruel wrote in customers_suck
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Oh, just a tiny little suck from yesterday, no big deal.

I work at a small shoe store. Yesterday two women, an older kid (12-13ish), and an "infant" (she had a car seat, but I never saw hide nor hair of a baby, just a few blankets) came in my store. One of them brought two pairs of shoes up to me, and explained in a slurred voice how she wanted to keep one pair, but exchange the other. I said ok.

They IMMEDIATELY began making a giant mess, yelling back and forth to each other, saying "get the fuck over here!", "you're a bitch!", "hurry up, we need to leave!" All of these are major red flags, and my store has a no-swearing policy. One word, and you'll be told to leave. That's just the way it is...we have a lot of small children and families in our store, and we don't appreciate losing their business because you can't control yourself in public.

They were acting so suspicious, that we actually had other customers watching them, in addition to myself and my employee. A mother and daughter actually left because of the language and the shouting. Finally, they noticed that they were being watched, and were starting to get confrontational with other customers and my employee, so I decided it was time for them to go. I walked over and told them they needed to leave.

They flipped their shit. They started yelling, threatening to smack me, telling I was disrespecting them. I actually had to call the police to get them to leave, at which point one of the women told me that she was going to call the cops on ME, for "being disrespectful to me!" I kept repeating that they needed to leave, and then she goes "I'm going to buy my shit, then I'll leave!" I was like "Um, no, you're not buying anything today. You need to go." They took my name, made all kinds of threats to call corporate, etc. etc., and left. The other customers in the store were kind of shell-shocked, but some of them actually thanked me for kicking them out, which made me feel better (I wasn't happy about having to confront three people who could have easily hurt me if they wanted to, so I was pretty upset). 

I did get a chance to tell my store manager what happened when he stopped in later, and his response was "GOOD! Next time just call the cops and hang up, then they'll get there faster!" I don't necessarily agree with that, but it's so nice to work somewhere where the manager will back you up, and where you can kick out people who are being unholy assholes!

Mods, I hope this isn't considered a zorro, as I was following policy by asking them to leave.


2013-01-13 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Just a guess, but since they brought in an empty car seat full of blankets, I'm guessing they had shoplifting in mind? I'm glad they were swearing if only because it thwarted their plans possibly.


2013-01-13 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

I was just thinking that too. We often get the empty pram situation, soon to be filled with clothing and shoes


2013-01-13 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

(not a mod)

"Zorro's" tend to be revenge outcomes, doing something against policy, or just being rude because they were. It is never a Zorro to call the cops when you are threatened by anyone, even if it is or isn't store policy. Heck, even if the store didn't have a policy of kicking people out of the store for bad behavior, it still wouldn't be a zorro for asking them to leave after they threatened to hit you.


2013-01-13 05:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

I don't think I've ever been in a store where there was a no swearing policy.

I agree with the above poster, they were probably trying to shoplift.


2013-01-13 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

i admit its unusual, but like i said, we have lots of kids at any given time, so its a respect thing (not to mention respect for the employees).

unfortunately thats exactly what they were doing. i found an empty converse box this morning.


2013-01-17 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)

The store that I work at kind of does. We typically don't say anything about casual/non-antagonistic swearing unless it's disruptive. Swearing at, about, or while conversing with, an employee is something much else. We ask you once to stop. After that, we can refuse service and/or have the store's police officer handle it.


2013-01-13 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

I hate people like that! Ugh! I'm guessing one of them was drunk given you said they had slurred speech? Even so, being drunk doesn't mean you can be an ass. In fact, doesn't being drunk let the 'real you' out, so to speak? I've encountered many drunk customers. Some are really nice and tell me I'm wonderful lol. Others? Not so nice!

I'm glad your company has a no swearing policy. We don't have a strict one, but we can tell customers to watch their language if they're swearing at us. It never goes down well though.


2013-01-13 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm guessing one of them was drunk given you said they had slurred speech?

It's certainly a possibility, but I remember jumping to that conclusion once, when I worked circulation desk in my college library and a patron showed up with, yes, slurred speech. IIRC, he also seemed a bit clumsy. I met him socially a few weeks later through a mutual friend, and it turned out he'd been adjusting to a new med and I'd witnessed some of the short-term side effects.

Not saying the customer was or wasn't. I wasn't there, obviously. I just try not to make assumption without more info.


2013-01-13 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, it was a question more than anything, and then me rambling about drunk people. I wouldn't make an assumption, I just thought the slurred speech was mentioned because they were drunk. My dad had a nervous breakdown and had slurred speech. And when I had my wisdom tooth out I had slurred speech as well. A customer actually complained about me being drunk on the job for that one lol.


2013-01-14 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Actually, the exhibited a lot of the symptoms of meth use. I'm pretty sure she was on meth, as was her sister.


2013-01-14 01:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Fair enough.


2013-01-13 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

My speech is slurred sometimes. for me it's a mixture of being super nervous, and trying to talk my my brain's not focusing on words, rahter on stuff around me.


2013-01-13 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

I do sometimes when I'm tired or anxious.


2013-01-13 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm also wondering if there was really a baby in that car seat. It's entirely possible they were using it to shoplift. (And one would think all that yelling would have woken the baby.)


2013-01-13 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

You'd be surprised. My first one? The floor creaking would wake her up. The second? You could have a freaking parade around her, honking horns and other wailing kids and she would still be out like the dead. I used to check on her every few minuets to make sure she was still breathing for the first several months.


2013-01-14 01:53 am (UTC) (Link)

I'm 90% sure there was no baby. The blankets looked totally flat, I never heard a peep, and she sure swung that thing around easily enough.


2013-01-13 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Your store has a no swearing policy? That's fantastic! I wish more stores had that.

I once got into a bit of a fracas in a clothing store with a woman who was loudly swearing up a storm in front of several families with young children. And just yesterday, my mother and I went out for dinner, and at the next table was a older couple with an elderly woman, and they were swearing all over the place while we ate. I can totally understand letting out a curse if something really upsetting or frightening happens, but the rest of the time...I don't want to hear it.


2013-01-14 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)

1: I agree with the potential shop lifting. They were setting up a distraction ploy - you get focused on the one 'in your face' and the other one grabs stuff, sticks it in the baby carrier and then encourages the first person to 'get their shit and leave' at which time first person throws stuff and they both leave.

2: I agree with your manager. With the way they were acting and with what they said, you were at threat if your attention was diverted. Tell Law Enforcement you've been physically threatened and get off the phone *or* lay the phone down, but leave the line open so dispatch can listen in. [I'm un the US for what it's worth]

I see a perma-ban in someone's future.


2013-01-14 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)

I would rather suggest just laying the phone down. I once called the police, but hung up right as they said Hello because the customers who were a bother left. The police arrived a couple minutes later and I got a stern lecture about it. Whenever someone hangs up like that, they think the absolute worst and book it to the store, lights, speeding, and everything else, potentially endangering themselves and other people. And while these customers were horrible and may have been threatening the OP, I don't think it warrants the police to come over ASAP, risking them and others.

So leaving the phone off to the side so the operator can hear what's going on is the better of the two, in my opinion.


2013-01-14 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)

I wouldn't do either, unless I was at gunpoint or something. I don't think customers swearing at me warrants a cop speeding over to save my delicate senses.


2013-01-14 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

But if she HAD smacked you, you would have called the cops, yes?


2013-01-14 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

I did call the cops. I didn't say I wouldn't call them unless she smacked me, I'm saying I wouldn't call and just hang up, like my manager suggested, unless I was being physically harmed or held at gunpoint or something.


2013-01-14 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Another option, as Steve Martin suggested many years ago, is to be crazier than your assailant.


2013-01-15 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)

<- Dispatcher ... laying the phone down (in most departments) is the same response as a hang up. So the police are still going to be running code 3 lights and sirens. Especially if the only thing the dispatcher can hear is yelling and cursing.

The safest thing for you to do is discreetly call 911, don't make a big deal of it (don't yell I'm calling the cops!!) give the dispatcher the information she asks for, and stay on the line if requested. You will probably be asked for a description of the people and if you can see it, the car they came in.


2013-01-14 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yeah. I learned that if you accidentally call 911 it's a good idea to stay on the line long enough to explain the mistake. When I was a teen I hit 9-1-1 instead of 4-1-1. I hung up before the 911 operator even said anything because I realized I had made a mistake. Ten minutes later there were police officers at my door.


2013-01-15 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Our phone had a sticky 8, and I ended up dialing 911. I was so embarassed.


2013-01-17 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)

LOL I had 911 prgrammed into speed dial (very briefly). Hit that instead of the speed dial i'd wanted. Hung up. Same deal--less than 10 mins later, there was a knock at the door. Ooops.


2013-01-17 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Wow, they do all that? Maybe this has something to do with my place of work having a police officer on site or some other idiosyncrasy, but 911 hang-ups usually just get an inquisitive call from dispatch.


2013-01-30 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

I didn't think the police tended to come out if they didn't get any response. They used to, but I though nowadays if emergency operators got a silent call they just assumed it was a mobile (cell) phone which had been sat on and ignored it.

I know I've read accounts of a couple of murder trials here in the UK where the victim managed to dial 999 without the attacker noticing, but couldn't say anything, and so no police were sent and the matter only came to light after the crime as committed.


2013-01-14 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

I was imagining myself in this situation as I read. I think I would have actually laughed--despite being so angry-- when she threatened to smack you (me). People's knee jerk reactions to things are always at the height of what-the-fuckery.


2013-01-15 09:19 am (UTC) (Link)

that empty car seat... its sounds so dodgy its good that you get to watch them, they might have shifty fingers. but im glad they you asked them to leave! they deserved it.