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How do I handle this awful customer again?

Posted in Working Mothers on 1st December 2010

How do I handle this awful customer again?
I work as a front greeter and the other day a lady came in who seemed nice enough. Little did I know, everything she had to say was racist, and then she started telling me that she “could be my mother” because we are from related, but distant ethnic backgrounds. She then told me who I’m allowed to marry and date and who I’m not allowed to. THEN, she goes off and says how much she hates Americans and then acts all sweet to my coworkers, who are all white!
This lady came in again a day ago and was very upset because in truth, she failed to take the necessary steps to ensure that she’d have a room (I’m in a hotel). We were nice and apologized and tried to explain to her what happened, however she became irate and then kept telling me that I should know better. And then she kept calling me “her kid”. Seriously this woman is imbalanced– we all think so along with the manager (who had to set her straight). How do I deal with her again, this is my last week? I’ll attack her! What do I do?
This lady also called us all liars and claimed that because she took a psychology class, she could see right through us. And then she keeps calling me “honey” and then tried to escalate the situation into something a lot worse. The first time I met her, she revealed a lot of her personal life to me which was really inappropriate and then kept telling me that because we’re of similar backgrounds, I needed to listen to her and do what she says. No offense, but I already have a mother. This lady was really stressful to deal with. And then she went so far as to tell me to break off my engagement with my fiance because he’s a different ethnicity, because “it was for my own good”.
How am I supposed to “let it go” when last night as I was leaving, she tried to follow me to my car? The manager stopped her by pretending to need to ask her a question. Seriously this lady really needs help.
She was the one to ask me if I was engaged because I’m wearing a ring– what was I suppose to do, lie? I didn’t answer her question when she asked me what his race was, but that was enough to get her to assume.

Best answer(s):

Answer by P J
So what’s the big deal. smile and think about your favorite song or something.

Since this is your last week, get over it.

You will never take bigotryy out of some people and this one just seem imbalanced to begin with.

Answer by vicpil
you have only got a week to go

just suffer it once more, dont kill her you never know she might be a under cover customer, trying to see how well you cope with her

do your work collegues know how you feel and that you have nothing to do with her

part of your job (unfortunately) is to put up and shut up, just let her get on with her obviously unhappy life, if she was happy she would leave you alone

best wishes

1 week to go and counting

xxx vici

Answer by acmeraven
Pick up a few phrases in a foreign language and pretend you don’t understand english. Have a co-worker in on the plan and ready to step up to bat while you play the poor foreign worker with no english.

Answer by Steph
I agree, you should just let it go. You don’t have to keep dealing with her since this is your last week. There are some really unbalanced people out there and this lady is definitely one of them! Just thank your lucky stars that she’s not your mom!
I know these people are hard to deal with, just keep your chin up!

Answer by lil ole me
First off, stay calm, stay cool and YOU can remain in CONTROL. When she starts up again, I would reiterate to her that 1 … I am not your “kid” and 2 … I am not your “honey” … explain in simple terms that you are trying to work with her to meet her needs, if she continues to be a royal pain … refer her to management … that’s what they get paid the big bucks for … DON’T put yourself in a bad situation … because by allowing yourself to get too involved leads to nowhere but trouble. And who needs that?

Answer by DrIG
Do not attack her.

You stated that this was your last week. You probably will never see her again.

Look for the good side in people, although in this case if may be hard to find. believe it or not, at least at certain times she was trying to be your friend and to help you.

Learn not to take certain things so seriously. You do not see this “lady” at school or a t home. Take it as the rantings of a person who means nothing to you.

Forget about it.

Answer by Tamara K
You only have one week left, so you want to be able to leave the job gracefully.

I would just try to gracefully push her through the steps. Like if you walk her up to the front desk, keep walking, don’t stop. If you are supposed to be taking her reservation and she starts to get irate, just smile and say “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’ll be able to help you with this. Let me get the manager.” And then let him/her deal with it. Try not to agree with her, just look at her blankly, and when she pauses, say I’m sorry we’re so busy today, what can I do for you right now? Polite but firm. Treat it like a crazy TV show you can tell funny stories about later!

Answer by Orchideye
You’re absolutely right, this lady DOES need help. And it’s rather stupid that she thinks you’ll go along with what she says because you’re of a similar heritage– I hate it when people do that.

I do agree with one poster who said to tell her next time that you aren’t her “honey” or her “kid”. Who does this lady think she is? First of all, it’s understandable that everyone has bad days and partially rants and takes them out on inappropriate people and circumstances. What’s NOT appropriate is extending to the point of what this lady is doing. I could totally understand if you had said she ranted and then said she had a bad week and so forth, but it doesn’t look like she did that.

You know what, I think you are allowed to defend yourself mentally and physically. I work in mental health and unfortunately a lot of people can get like this and I’m not afraid to defend myself appropriately as needed. Everytime she goes off on you, what I would do is interrupt her and tell her she needs to do something. For instance, if she is checking in, interrupt her each time and say “oh I’ll need you to do this, thanks” or “oh you gotta sign here”.

Just because you are doing this lady a service does not mean she gets to disservice you. Next time she rants, ask her if there’s something you can help her with, and if there isn’t, tell her if she doesn’t need help, you have work to get done. Don’t let her ruin your last week.

Answer by redvelvetflames4ever
I have to assume you did have a conversation with this woman since she knows your fiance is of a different ethnic group so you opened up that can of worms. Other than that the fact you have only one week left at this place (thank goodness) you won’t have to deal with her much longer. Obviously your manager did step in to your defense (I’m shocked and pleased since that is unheard of in your industry.) The fact she actually tried to follow you to your car is really disturbing and I would threaten to call the police. No need to attack her and since your manager is obviously on your side I would excuse myself and walk away. It’s not job related right? So no need to entertain anything she has to say.

Answer by Great Scott
Inform her the next time she says or does anything even remotely threatening you will call the police and file for a restraining order.