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Or perhaps it’s more like a series of mini-rants.

Either way, here we are:

  • Why is it that people believe that buying a lousy cup of coffee for less than two bucks gives them the right to treat the employees at the coffee place like slaves?
  • How can people coming in for breakfast/lunch right after church justify to themselves calling wait staff “bitches”?
  • What makes a man call a bus person over to a table—while she’s carrying a heavy plastic tub full of dirty dishes, thanks so much—to tell her, “this is the worst goddamned coffee I’ve ever had”?
  • Where does a male customer get off calling the young female employee preparing his food ‘brainless’ and telling her that ‘a monkey could do her job’?
  • In which universe do customer type people live that they believe it’s okay to tell an employee eating lunch during her break, “Since you work here, would you mind giving us your table?”
  • Who tells customers of any age that it is okay to stick chewing gum to non-disposable dishes?
  • When has it become acceptable to buy food ‘to go’ at one place and enter another establishment—with the full family, drinks, etc.—to eat it?

Did I mention that customer type people suck?

Well, too many of them do, at any rate.


  • Janean
    July 21
    10:02 am

    I was in retail for 10 years. I think that is why I feel as pessimistic as I do about the general state of humanity. In other words – people suck.

    I don’t know why people feel like they can stop treating you like a human being if you are standing on the other side of a counter. I will never figure that out. I think everyone should be legally required to spend at least one year working in retail or food service with the general public.


  • Leslee
    July 21
    10:45 am



  • Aemelia
    July 21
    10:51 am

    So true, people seem to think that they are better than the person working retail or food service. Why people think its ok to be rude to ANYone is beyond me.

    I’ve worked retail so I know how nasty people can be…and I always hated working Sundays, because the rudest people seem to shop on Sunday. Go figure.

    I still work with the public, only now it’s in an office environment. If they are comming to see me they NEED something, so most people are nice. But I still get some bizarre requests or people that think I can read their mind.

    When people are nice, I go out of my way to help them out. When they are not, I do what I need to do and do not go beyond.


  • I wouldn’t take a retail or waitressing job unless I absolutely needed work…. and yes, I worked retail several years. I also worked as customer service rep and catalog order taker. If I can help it, never again. I also have an extremely jaded pov as it pertains to humanity in general. Suffice it to say that I have close to zero faith in it and every day I wonder what sort of miracle allowed for humankind to survive this long, given the sheer degree of idiocy and sheer amount of waste of space that I see around me every day.

    Going back to the subject, my husband and I know the kind of thankless job it is to work in a restaurant/diner (he also spent a couple of years working in restaurants and retail), so we always make a point of tipping well unless we feel that the service was sub par in which case we reduce the percentage we leave, but we never leave without tipping. We also try to be nice if we need something changed or “fixed”.


  • Edie
    July 21
    12:09 pm

    Retail sucks!
    Why am I still in it??

    And hear hear to Janine! Retail seriously does not show humanity in a good light.


  • Hit the nail on the head with this one! I haven’t worked retail in over 20 years and I wouldn’t go back unless I was starving.

    And then it would still be a tough decision to make.


  • “Because they can” is the answer to every one of those questions. Sad but true. Whining about it doesn’t help.

    I say they will stop being asses only once society tolerates it no longer and smacks them at the slightest offense, not before.

    Which makes it partially our fault for being so damn tolerant.


  • katieM
    July 21
    6:05 pm

    Its because, in general, people are idiots. Insensitive idiots, unless it is their own precious child who is the object of someone else’s idiocy.


  • JoanneF
    July 21
    6:59 pm

    I’ve worked in retail and people can be pretty messed up. I spent a couple of months waitressing the graveyard shift in an all night diner, and they were even worse. But I must say that they are far, far worse in casinos. Drunken, losing gamblers are not pretty.


  • I’ve waitressed and done retail. To me it comes down to this – some people are ignorant and will never have any class.


  • Ms Lede, ouch! whining? *chuckle* well then…

    oh, and when one job’s depends on being always pleasant to customers, there’s no choice but to be ‘tolerant.’


  • Oh God, I feel your pain. My five years in retail left me with a bad taste in my mouth and the realization that too many people suck and/or are crazy. I left after a lady threw a $2 toy across the counter at me when I patiently told her it was not on sale for $1.


  • DeeCee
    July 22
    1:53 am

    I’ve been in retail and customer service for almost 4 years, and its frustrating, thankless work.

    I’m working in a bookstore now, and it never fails that when I finally get a chance to sit down and pick up a book someone will come in and tell me how great my job is to sit around all day on my a** and read.

    Or when people come in and complain because I won’t take books that have been(my real experiences):
    1. Stored in their garage where they let their animals breed (cats, dogs, rats, snakes).
    2. Through a flood.
    3. *Gently* gone through by their kids but have boogers in between the pages.

    I would very much like to go to their workplaces and be rude to them when they’re surfing poker and porn sites online.


  • Karen W.
    July 22
    2:12 am

    Retail is pretty much the 7th circle of Hell, and I should know because I’ve been in it for too many years. I know I have examples/stories that would curl your hair too. Anyone who works in retail does. The sad thing is, I think people are getting more and more rude and I see less and less manners as time goes on…


  • Karla
    July 22
    12:56 pm

    My sister works in a public library and says that while she’s always loathed children and their clueless parents, she loathes them even more now. “If they’re our future, we’re definitely doomed,” she says.

    Parents, public libraries and their employees are not your personal daycare center and babysitters.


  • katieM
    July 22
    8:40 pm

    I avoid the library for that very reason. Add toy stores to your list, too.


  • CandiceGilmer
    July 23
    2:37 am

    My theory when I worked retail/fast food was that the people who behaved in such horrible ways were the ones who’d never worked retail/food in their lives.

    And they obviously need to.

    Get a taste of their behavior.


  • 1)I worked at McDonalds when I was in my mid-twenties. One afternoon a customer reached across the counter and grabbed my breasts. I happened to be reaching under the counter for a tray. Now these were HEAVY trays–not the little light weight trays they have now. When I came up with that tray I smacked him over the head with it. My manager backed me up. GOOD manager.

    2)We had a repeat customer who came through the drive-thru with his britches unzipped and his dangly parts hanging out. He always ordered a milkshake.

    One evening I was the crew person on deck when that turkey came through. As I leaned out to hand him his milkshake, I squeezed the cup and tipped it in his lap. I always said I sure would like to be a fly on the wall when he explained that mess to his wife!

    Oh, yeah. He never came back!


  • Anon76
    July 25
    5:13 am

    Oh, AL, I feel your pain.

    I did the food-service and retail gig for many years. The audacity of some people is astounding. And I honestly believe it’s only gotten worse over time. However, I think the number of bad employees has increased also. Horrible manners and just plain rudeness works both ways.

    But, you can spot a good employee in a heartbeat. They’ve eaten their fair share of $hit-sandwiches and if, as a customer, you treat them with respect, they go the extra mile for you. I always did and they do, too. You can see the relief in their eyes.

    The bad employee, however, will just give you less attention. You ain’t complaining so I can make you wait while I talk to my coworker about my lousy weekend and your food gets cold. Just leave me my tip and go.

    When did so many people on both sides become so rude?


  • Cindy
    July 25
    11:40 pm

    Totally agree with Janean, it should be a law that everyone work retail for a year. I liked people until I entered the work force (and I’ve been trapped in retail ever since). I think part of the blame is that most of society is mannerless to begin with (just look at drivers, see if people hold doors for others, anything) and partly because of that old saying “The customer is always right.” Because you know what, they usually aren’t. And retail workers are thought of as mindless because the conception out there is that they only went through high school so heaven forbid they didn’t go to college. You know…to be a manager in Target you have to have a B.A. And lots of people in this economy are in retail because that’s the only thing out there. I wonder what will happen when the day comes that like you all (and if I could get out, I would) refuse to work retail? When people can’t go to the store to get what they want or go out to eat because people will be tired of putting up with their crap for little money.

    I remember one night at a Wal-Mart, I went to get my layaway (I think it was near Christmas) and the idiots in charge had one person in layaway. She was having trouble locating some people’s items (because there are other employees who can’t read the account numbers and put things in weird places, trust me). Well everyone in front of me was growling, hissing and cursing her.

    When it was my turn when she came out with my box, she thanked me for my patience. I said I had worked layaway elsewhere for 11 years, I knew what she was going through.


  • I’ve always wondered if this is a US phenomenon (I’m Canadian, and we ARE famed for our sickening politeness), or whether I’ve just been really lucky, or whether there’s something about me and the way I relate to customers that makes me bullet-proof, because I’ve waitressed for 13 years now, and I can still count the “difficult, rude” customers I’ve looked after on two hands. I suppose it likely helps that I don’t work in a bar, so no drunks, but still.

    I mean, yes, I have had some PITA customers who want what they want when they want it and demand a lot more time and attention than most, but even they are usually polite about it as long as they know I’m trying to look after them. I’ve never been yelled at or called a name–the worst that’s happened is that I’ve had people walk out when I’ve told them they can’t have this or that for free or make certain changes to their meal, and that as a server I’m not the one who sets menu prices or policy so there’s really nothing I can do. I’ve had the odd person get a little snippy, but nothing that approaches abusive.

    My biggest beef is with Sunday diners–they come in all dressed up before or after church, and do things like: “I’d like a Senior’s Omelette with no bacon, musrooms instead, veggies cooked very soft, made with egg whites, with dry rye toast, toasted dark with butter on the side, and fruit instead of hashbrowns, but no melon or grapes in it, please. Oh, and easy on the cheese. And could you bring me a new coffee? I’ve let this one get cold…” I fetch them a fresh cup of coffee, then place the order which is like writing a goddamn novel, ffs, they get exactly what they wanted every step of the way, gush about how great everything was, and then leave me fucking 6%.

    Now THAT is a crime. Perhaps they think they’re doing me a favor, helping me live in poverty just like Jesus did? Hate Sundays because of that.


  • […] griped repeatedly here about horrid customers who seem to relish treating servers, waiters, cashiers (anyone with a […]

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