Custy Leaves Poo In The Greeting Card Aisle
Back Door Signage

The Tale of Superhag

BookaceUgh, I had the biggest hag of a customer yesterday, guys. =( I’ll be the first to admit I take jerk customers too personally and let them upset me too easily, but usually after an hour I’m fine and am performing unflattering impressions of them for my friends. This one, for some reason, stuck with me all the way home, leaving a pit of anxiety in my stomach. This story’s a little long; I’m sorry in advance. I just need some reassurance!

It was not long after noon, during a bit of a lull when an older woman came to my counter to enlarge some knitting patterns that she couldn’t read. No problem at all. While I’m helping her, Superhag rolled up, seeming like a nice person at the time. She was doing some shipping but still needed to pack up her boxes, so I let her pack while I helped the older lady, and when Superhag signaled she was ready, I turned the computer around for her to type her shipping info, and resumed the copies.

At Office Ghetto, copy slaves are basically trained to multitask. If you can’t, you’ll never make it. I’ve actually been complimented many times on my ability to take care of several customers at once; they all seem to understand that I’m helping them all, and therefore delays of a few seconds will happen, but that I’ll keep moving and taking care of their jobs. I pride myself on making sure none of them feel left out. So I kept an eye on Superhag while running copies for the older lady.

RHSEPT 099Superhag was having trouble with the computer. I helped her whenever she called for me. It was just her and the older lady there, but I could see Superhag getting impatient, so I tried to be available the second she called. Then, OF COURSE, the computer for whatever dumb reason dumped one of her shipping manifests and she had to type it again, which, while annoying, only takes a few minutes. While she did that, I finished with the older lady and had her go ring out up front because Superhag was now ready.

While I’m printing the sticker for the first package, another woman walks up. I tell her it’ll be just a moment (per Ghetto rules, we have to acknowledge anyone waiting – and I’d feel bad about ignoring someone anyway!) and keep helping Superhag. After I ship the second box and start on the third, (a process that needs no input from the customer btw. We do it all ourselves.), the woman waiting speaks up and says she’s just there to pick something up and she doesn’t mind ringing out up front. So, while the third sticker is printing, I take exactly three steps from the computer to pick up the lady’s boxes.

Superhag explodes into a gusty sigh. “This is ridiculous!”

OCTOCAROL 287I set the boxes on the counter for the lady waiting, grab the sticker from the printer, and walk to the third package to find Superhag glaring at me and snarling, “I can’t believe you, you’ve waited on three people since I’ve been here! That is unacceptable!”

Me: *stunned* “I…I’m sorry.”

Superhag: “You know what, you ARE sorry. This is ridiculous.”

Me: *beginning to tremble* “Would you like me to call a manager?”

Superhag: “No, I’ll take care of this online.”

I should have called for a manager anyway, but at that point I was in the middle of an anxiety attack and was unable to speak, and just wanted to get her out. I put the sticker on the box, and I guess Superhag hadn’t unloaded enough, because she exploded again: “And I suppose you’ll probably smash my boxes now, so I will be taking out a complaint on that.”

Me: (Surprise at such an insinuation taking over my fear for a moment.) “Wh-what? I won’t do that.”

Superhag: “Oh really?”

Me: “Of course not, I would never do that.” (I mean yeah, she’s a bitch, but I’d never destroy someone’s stuff on purpose out of vindication.)

SkullieswSuperhag: “Hrmph! We’ll see!”

I take the barcodes to the register and have her sign the store’s copy, which, for some reason, she makes a point of scrawling all over: “Please do not break these boxes!” I didn’t feel like telling her the mailperson will never see that note because these papers are for our records only. She then insisted on copies of her signed sheets, which I gave her. Right about then another lady walked up and got in line.

Then, when I ask how Superhag wants to pay, she says she already gave me her card. I tell her I don’t think she did, (starting to panic anew that she did and I somehow lost it even though I was 100% sure she never gave it to me) when she finds it under the papers. Obviously she had set it on the counter and one of the papers fluttered over it. She throws it at me, snapping, “Here it is, you shoved it back at me with the papers.”

I finish the transaction, she snatches the receipt from me, and storms away. I take a step back and try to breathe, and the lady waiting glances after her and goes, “Well, she wasn’t a very nice person!”

OCTOCAROL 026This, apparently, was my cue to start sobbing. I’m not proud, RHU. I wish I didn’t cry so easily. But this woman rattled me. I started to panic that she would write a bad letter full of lies to the company, and that somehow her boxes would get damaged and she’d come back and yell at me, and I would be fired, (after I was JUST made full time!) and my family/coworkers would be disappointed in me and I’d never be able to show my face at the Ghetto again and I wouldn’t be able to make my car or insurance payments or help my mom with bills and it just kept spiraling. On top of which, the reviews affect the whole store, and our store hasn’t had many surveys this year, so I know my boss is under pressure from the DM to get more. A single bad survey would ruin our average at this point. I love my boss, and letting her down breaks my heart. So I’m crying preemptively over disappointing her, too. It was horribly embarrassing, I hate that I can’t be cool and stoic. I tried to apologize to the woman waiting between sobs, who was really nice and saying, “Oh honey, what did she do? It’s okay, don’t worry.”

Then, suddenly, she took off at a stride down the hallway. I assumed that she was going to get my manager, but it turns out she was going after Superhag! After a moment she came back, saying that Superhag had gotten in her car and “got away this time.” I don’t know what she was planning to do if she’d caught Superhag, but knowing that she’d gone after her at all was amazing enough! She then proceeded to tell me everything would be okay again and that karma’s going to bite some haggy ass one day. (Which I do believe.) There are some really great people in the world.

OCTOCAROL 029In the end, everything was basically okay. My coworkers were sympathetic, I apologized to my boss for if we get a bad review (to which my boss replied, “if she writes a bad review about you, then she can kiss my tushie.” My boss is the best. <3) and I know my job is safe and my car won’t be repossessed and we won’t lose the house. (Gotta love the ridiculous things anxiety makes us think, eh?)

Yet Superhag’s ghost haunts me, even a day later. I keep remembering her sneering at me and how cruel her tone was. I don’t understand what I did wrong. The old woman I was helping was there BEFORE the hag, so logically she should get help first, and I tried to always stop and help Superhag whenever she asked and worked on the other job only when she was typing. I guess I could have made the pick up lady wait, but all I did was grab her boxes and set them on the counter for her. It took five seconds, and I did it WHILE a sticker was printing, so it wasn’t like there was anything I could have done for Superhag during those five seconds anyway. I don’t even know where that “you helped three people” thing came from since I only helped two…and why would she accuse me of smashing her boxes?! I’m so afraid now that somehow they’ll be damaged in transit and she’ll come after me, or that she’ll lie and claim they were damaged. We all know corporate doesn’t care if crusties lie, the customer is always right!

WHY am I letting one bitchy ass crusty get to me so much? Crazy flash drive lady is a silly memory! Jerkhole paper guy means nothing to me! I LAUGH about the woman who said I needed plastic surgery! But fifteen minutes with Superhag and I can’t even come home and chillax with some pie without getting a stomachache when I remember her words. (And fuck her for that, too. Dessert should be sacred and should not be allowed to be ruined by memories of jerks.) GAH. Retail Gods help my sanity if she actually does write a bad review. I may have to rent a room under a rock for a few days.

I hate haggy customers. May they stay far away from you all!

-- <3 BookAce


PS: What is “you ARE sorry” supposed to mean, anyway? Did she think I wasn’t really sorry and it means “you SHOULD BE sorry?” Is it short for “you are a sorry excuse for a person?” Is sorry a descriptive word, like “you are awful?” Damn it Superhag, if you have to haunt me why couldn’t you be more specific?


Sales Agent Guy

I wouldn't worry. She just sounds like an entitled crusty who will blame the other person when she doesn't get her own way.


I say this with total sincerity-if something this small sends you into a panic attack, you might want to look into a job not working with customers. It's not worth it to your health.

Luci F

BookAce, you're such a sweetheart. I always love your stories.


I say take a deep breath and just think she will get her superhag ass karma bitch slapped! :)
I have had crusties like that in the past and to this day I still remember some of them, but with fond 'what a jackass that person was'.


Problem is if one suffers from anxiety attacks, it won't just be because of, say, working with customers. And the OP seems to overall like her job!


You did nothing wrong, other than to not treat that old dry sack like the special Pretty Princess that she thinks she is. Seriously you did your job, helped everyone as quickly and as efficient as possible. People like her are generally mad at the world in general and there is no making them happy.

Kudos to your boss and the super custy who was willing to throwdown(verbally) for you.


Oh man, I remember my days at Office Ghetto Copy/Print department. You can't please everyone. And hopefully Super Hag won't be coming back (it sucks when they come back and you have to put that fake smile on again). Don't take anything to heart, you did nothing wrong. That job is hell, and while I loved Copy/Print, it was amazing to see how many people have attitude and think that everything is so damn easy to do that you should be able to do it in the blink of an eye. Enjoy the good customers, they'll make it better.


That special snowflake needs a good dose of rocksalt. Glad you've got a supportive boss, and since I suffer from anxiety sometimes too, I can only hope you feel better soon and escape this horrible feeling!


sounds like she was looking for anything to make her own day bad so she could make someone else feel bad. she probably gets pleasure from it. next time you get a crotchety old bitch, call a manager right away. that way, you don't have to take their wrath full on.

You were doing your job. don't let to hag make you feel like you didn't.


You didn't do anything wrong, don't let it worry you! We've got surveys too at our job and there have been crusties that I didn't even want to mention them too. There are just some people who feel like they have to find something bad to complain about, I'm not sure why!

NC Tony

Sounds to me like a classic Custo-monster. Her life sucks, so by extension she must make your life suck too (since she knows you can't say anything back to her). I personally would have gone into full on sarcasm mode. However, there are three bright spots in this, your next customer, your boss and the fact that you don't have to live with this custo-monster. If you're lucky you'll never see her again.

Retired from Hell

On another list I infest, we call this sort of person a "Special Snowflake" -- SS for short. We all know that in a snowstorm it's impossible to tell one from another, so they're all equal, right? But SSes believe that they are THE most IMPORTANT snowflake, easily distinguished from all the others by their Hiely Visibull Speshulness(tm), and that everyone else in the world exists to make their flakey lives easier. Visualize her in front of a flame thrower; all them snowflakes melt the same.

By the way, I think, as others have mentioned, that if you can manage to afford a spot of cognitive therapy, it would do you a world of good. Your reaction to SS Custy is called 'catastrophizing' -- imagining a cascade of disasters spilling one out of another from an initial unpleasant event. You can learn to use more positive self-talk and then you won't panic so much at the occasional SS jerk. Even if, like most of us, you ARE walking a fine line between getting along and not. Catastrophizing is a misapplication of a vivid imagination, and it does more harm than good.

If you're a Harry Potter fan at all, go back to the scene where Professor Lupin teaches his class how to handle the boggart: SS custies and other creeps are just boggarts, who can be dispelled with a ludicrous visualization and the magic word "Ridiculus!" Can't you just see SS custy flouncing out the door with all her stuff, tripping on the sill and going flat? Or better yet, see her putting all her papers on the roof of the car while she unlocks it, being forgetful because she's too busy being stupidly irate about nothing, and driving off with her papers still on the roof, (for about 5 seconds) and their flying all over the street. Yeah, that's not what happened, but imagining it will help banish the 'spell' that still has a hold on you.

You don't have to let people like her make you miserable.

Cora Burke

Some people are really crappy individuals, and it sounds like she is one of them.

"You are sorry" is southern slang for "you are worthless, etc" e.g. "you are a sorry excuse for a human being". It is very mean. However, I think we all know that we project our own fears onto others. It sounds like she's the sorry excuse for a human being. Try not to let her get to her, and try not to catastrophize (that downward spiral). Just remember, the crappy crusties are not worth the energy of your time, or your thoughts.


Aww BookAce, I'm so sorry that happened to you! *sends hugs*

I wish I could have been there. I've taken lessons from my uncle about how to make my voice very loud without screaming, and I've taken lessons from him on how to be a loud, irate, ass kicking psychopath. Just imagine me being turned loose on Superhag, berating, belittling and insulting her at high volume and listing all the things that make her a bitch. Then try to smile at the thought of a Custy kicking ass in your honor. :)


*hugs* your way, Bookace.

I used to work at OfficeHell - right across the street from your OfficeGhetto. Literally, across the street. Same damn store. Same damn customers. Same people, screaming at me, because their copies weren't done in five minutes when the machine prints 25 pages per minute, and they wanted 1000 copies.

Honestly...even if the boss is great, it might seriously be time to look elsewhere :( Those two companies just "bought each other" and there's going to be a TON of stores closing.


*ginormous hugs to all of you* Thanks guys, you all rock. <33

@ xoxoxo: Believe me, sometimes I wonder if retail's a good place for me! xD But really, 95% of the time I really do enjoy my job or at least don't mind it, and I refuse to let anxiety chase me away from an otherwise decent job. Luckily incidents like this are rare...of course, that means when one does happen, it hits hard.


BookAce, I am so sorry this happened to you. You're one of my favorite RHU posters, and I know personally how intensely an anxiety attack can colour one's work experience, so this story hits me pretty close to the bone.

There's a certain percentage of crusties who will just be mean crapheads no matter what you do. They're people who woke up on the wrong side of the bed, are angry about something (or just angry and have no reason to be), and will just bitch at whomever crosses their path. You could be the perfect slave and do everything wonderfully and polish their toes with your hair -- and they'll still bitch at you. We've all seen them, these folks that walk in looking angry before anything has happened. Or you say "Hi!" and they get pissed off at you for breathing. It's not you -- it's *them*.

And I send you hugs for dealing with an anxiety attack while juggling normal custys and Madame Haggishness. Anxiety, like any other mental or physical condition, is something we learn to live with. Should I not read books or watch television just because I'm nearsighted? No, I wear glasses and sometimes squint -- and my glasses sometimes fog up. I deal with it. Should I eat only bland boring food just because I have allergies and IBS? Hells no, I watch what I eat and avoid my allergens -- sometimes I have tummy troubles, but I deal with it.

Should you avoid situations where you have to interact with people? Pssht, heck no. It's just more of a challenge for you to deal with such situations than it is for folks who aren't prone to anxiety attacks. *You* know what you can handle, and what your coping techniques are. Just because something's *challenging* to do doesn't mean you should avoid it.

And for anyone who can't relate to an anxiety attack, picture what the following feels like. You've got harsh PMS and/or are so underslept that you're almost crying. Your just got dumped or found out that a close friend dies like ten minutes ago -- so your ears are ringing and everything looks almost too sharp. And you've drunk waaay to much coffee so your heartrate's faster than a bunnies'. Now try to stay calm and respond professionally to that screaming crusty. *That's* what an anxiety attack feels like. (At least to me.)

BookAce, you're good at your job and you're a good writer. I wish you a crusty-free weekend.

Book Baby

If you live in a small town, you will find that these asshats are the same way to EVERY retail worker and we ALL know these people.

We have one person in particular that drives ALLLL of us nutso. I have a friend that works at a Kroger affiliate in the same town I live in and, guess what? the customer is the most hated THERE too!

You did NOTHING wrong. Some people just LOVE to piss on other people's candy. OTOH, she may have been having a realllly bad day and will come back to apologize. It has happened at my work, so it might happens at YOURS!


Best advice I've gotten at my job is that when a custy turn crusty, call a manager. Instead of asking her, say, "I'm sorry, let me get my manager over here right away." and reach for your phone/walky-talky/whatever immediately. You do not get paid enough to be yelled at by some random, unreasonable bitch. You can explain to your manager after if you need to, but I feel like it's better to get back-up right away and many crusties are placated just by a presence of authority. Trust me, I am a crier as well. I have been there.


I've had a customer like that, I call her the Crazy Fruit Lady. She harasses all my co-workers and every time I see her I try to hide. I was working self-scan one day and she needed help, I called my manager over to deal with her. I've had that anxiety before so don't feel bad , just do what I do, hope that karma kicks her in the ass. It always makes me feel better though when a customer backs me up. Just remember, good customers always come back and the crazies usually stay away.


The only reason she still haunted you the next was her awful timing, you mentioned that when she started ranting at you, you were in the throws of a panic attack. That in itself is memorable, but having to deal with an old windbag like that on top of it? I'd be crying too!

The comments to this entry are closed.