People are very interesting to me. We are all so different, but yet so much the same. Of course, perspective, attitude, perception and Facebook play a big part in this diversity.
Working as a Customer Service Associate (a.k.a. cashier) lets me meet many different folks and sometimes, we get to chatting if there's no one in line. Some people just come in, get their items and want to leave.
One thing my psychology degrees help me with is how to read people. While far from 100% correct, I can usually tell if someone needs a joke or if they don't. A smile and a laugh is what I'm trying to give them, but not everyone is in the mood or open to that. I haven't been smacked yet, but I think I came close to it the other day.
There's a "regular" elderly gentleman that comes in to buy the same products each visit. I'm not sure what's wrong with him, but he has trouble speaking. My co-worker, who has been there much longer than me, is experienced in waiting on him and says that he CAN speak; he just chooses not to. I've only waited on him once or twice. Well, the latest fun interaction with him came a few days ago. He buys a variety of packs of cigarettes, and I just don't have his order memorized. And, of course, my co-worker wasn't there that day.
So he's pointing and grunting and I almost had it figured out when he decided to come behind the counter and get his own smokes. That goes against so many store policies, it's ridiculous. I stood in front of him, saying that he wasn't allowed behind the counter. He almost ran me over to get his cigarettes. What could I do? If I went on the defensive like I wanted to, I'd surely get fired.
So, I'm ringing up his cigs and needed to see his ID. I knew he was old enough, but I had to have a birth date to type into the computer in order to finish up. He handed me his old, worn wallet with a barely readable driver's license in it. So, I'm trying to figure out what those numbers were when he freaked out and grabbed the wallet back. He managed to say, "MY MONEY!" like I was trying to steal his wallet.
Anyway, I finished the transaction and I swear, I have NEVER had a nastier look shot at me than the look the old man gave me. I mean it was a, " I want to eat your face," kind of look.
But, like I said, it takes all kinds. I don't know how his day had been or what kind of injury he has. Honestly, I felt more sympathy than anger.
Have any of you had a difficult customer or client that comes to mind? If so, how did you handle it?