I just shut down an associate at 7-11, and I feel good!
Seriously, when I step into a convenience store in the morning, I'm trying to get a drink and maybe some sort of breakfast food. I'm focused on the work I have to do for the day and getting to my office. I'm not there to be entertained, cajoled, up-sold to, interrogated, subjected to snarky behavior, or failed attempts at humor. The store's responsibility is to sell me the goods I want and get me out the door.
My week has been the very epitome of hell. I've walked into someone else's minefield after it's already blown everyone up, and I'm being asked to put all the pieces back together. Let me point out: people don't like getting blown up. In fact, they hate it. So, every single client I'm dealing with is angry or screaming. I've worked 30 hours this week and still have 3 days to go.
I have to wait a significant amount of time in this store because of how much the clerk is talking to everyone in line -- in Spanish. Annoyed already. So, when I put down my breakfast sandwich, when she walks away, I'm very peeved -- she says, "What's wrong? We don't have a warm one?"
"I don't want one," I reply.
Ok, this just plain pisses me off. Why do I, the customer, need to explain what I desire to purchase to anyone? What purpose could she possibly have for an explanation? This is the epitome of a useless question - no point to either of us and a waste of my time. However, I indulge her in an attempt to be kind.
"Because I have to walk back to my office in the cold, and I'm not going to eat it right now."
"I suppose that makes sense."
Wha?!!? She supposes? I could care less about what she thinks about this.
"I know what's best for me."
I say, attempting to conclude this conversation and finally get her to ring me up. Of course, the next statement is where she falls into epic fail territory.
"Umm ... no, you don't."
At this point, my concern for her feelings and position in front of her co-workers evaporated completely. I'm guessing this was some attempt at humor. However, humor improperly applied is a very dangerous thing, which is why it's suggested that you don't try to use it when dealing with customers. You never know how someone will take something. I very, very rarely get upset in public. Even here, I didn't yell or make a scene, however I did gather all my focus and stare into the woman.
"Stop it right now," I said, as I watched her shrink to about six inches. "I have a rough day ahead, and I don't need to deal with you."
People who don't know how to read people or deal with them should stick to work that doesn't force them to engage with others all day long, in my opinion. At what point did this woman think that anyone would find someone telling them that they don't know what is best for themselves to be funny? How hard is it for this woman just to stick to her task so there isn't a line all the way through the store? If you just want to talk to people all day, go be a greeter at Wal-Mart, but don't waste my time.