I have a new coworker. She's 18, this is her first job. Second day on registers, hasn't learned customer service shit eating grin and overly nice voice yet.
So she calls me over for help with a transaction. She always asks for my help because I congratulate her on learning so fast to build her confidence. She's learning faster than I did, I don't want to remember my training days!
She's trying to look up his rewards card. She can't find it under his phone number so she is asking him if she can look it up under his name. He's being rude and she asks him twice how to spell his name. His last name is common but it could be spelled differently from the usual, so she asks.
He snaps "Don't you know how to spell Johnson? Why can't you look it up under my address?! You guys ALWAYS DO!!" We'll call this guy Grumpy Asshole (GA).
(Note: We only can see the first few numbers of the address for confidentiality reasons. So, ya know, I don't burn your house down when you piss me the fuck off...)
Trainee: "I just wanted to make sure I did it right, sir." [tears well up in her eyes]
GA: [throws up his hands and yells] YOU JUST THINK YOU'RE THE CIC (Cashier in Charge), DON'T YOU? DON'T TAKE IT PERSONAL.
I interrupt: "No, sir. I'M THE CASHIER IN CHARGE. It's her second day and first job. Your patience would be appreciated."
[GA's self satisfied look at making a teenage girl cry kind of fades]
I quietly instruct her how to finish the transaction and he snaps "What are you two whispering about?!"
She hands him the receipt and he opens his mouth to say something I bet is another insult and I yell to the next person and motion them forward "I CAN GET WHO'S NEXT", shutting him down as a new customer shuffles forward and throws her bag of dog food down on the counter, glaring at him. Trainee is holding back tears.
Afterwards I told her to feel free to use the excuse of being new for like two months, so she doesn't get picked on. To call me if they want someone to yell at. I'm not a manager but damn, don't insult my trainee.
The next customer was patient about her figuring out manufacturer's coupons and thankful. I thanked him for being nice and helping her learn by being patient when presenting her with something new. I think he saw the tears in her eyes she was holding back. It's hard to be rude to a crying girl who's just barely 18.
The manager brought her back to the office and coached her on the fact that rude customers are rare, and when she can exit a verbal abuse situation or shut it down by using conflict mediation skills. She didn't do anything wrong. After that I told her she did well and that guy is ALWAYS a jerk. My manager said next time the GA is in that she should call the him to ring GA through because he wanted to give him a piece of his mind about picking on teenage girls.
I feel awful because my first completely bullshit customer was 8 months in and I did cry and get angry but I got over it by ranting to coworkers. I told her if she needs any help ever, I'm here!
Poor gal, I'm glad we're all here for her.