A Conversation for Tips on How to Deal with Difficult People

play dumb

Post 1

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

or play dead. depends how awful a person we are talking about here.

If I am at work and i am dealing with a nasty customer then I play dumb. Not a good idea if there is managment watching but I haven't been punched out by a customer yet.

Sometimes worse than the nasty are the patronising people. I cite a lady who lent right over the counter to where I was sorting jewllry into crates as an example. She came out with the wonderful phase "can you help me or are you a Saturday girl?" To which I have to confess I replied "Huh?!"

I think one of the best policies for dealing with people who are grating a bit on ones nerves is to be honest (you'll get caught if you try to lie, believe me, I know) but don't reveal anything about yourself. If they don't know you then they can't hurt the real you. You inside is standing there laughiong at them while you outside is free to look upset or offended if it will get the job done.

Sneaky cow aren't I?


play dumb

Post 2

Researcher 172133

I used to have a job in a sports store near Newcastle. The uniform was a pair of football shorts, a bright (and I mean hurts-the-eyes bright)yellow jumper and a big name badge. I'm standing around one Sunday morning in the middle of December looking really inconspicuous(i'm nearly 6ft6 and the colour of a banana) and someone walks over to me, looks at me then asks... Do you work here?
What am I suposed to say to such a stupid question. This should probably be a new topic. "How many stupid people did you try and brain with a rock today?"


play dumb

Post 3


having spent over a decade in retail customer service, i've found the best way to deal with problem people is to kill them with kindness. i know it sounds hard to do, but it really works the best. when someone comes into a store in a bad mood, nine times out of ten it is something other than the store itself that has made them mad. they want to drag someone down with them. smile real big, completely ignore anything offensive they've said. like this:
angry customer- 'do you work here?!? can you help me?!?'
you (with nauseatingly big smile)- 'why, certainly, sir! what can i help you with today?'

nothing works better to burst their bubble. when they find their anger will get them nowhere, what else can they do? even better if you can get them what they want right away, because then they have to go into sheepish mode.

i would even go so far as to be patronizingly nice to a problem person. chances are they will go away and bug someone they can get a rise out of.

play dumb

Post 4

The Nitpicker

see my posting to unrighteous anger thread for similar approach

play dumb

Post 5

Geoff PhD

I've had one of those. I was in boots, buying some industrial strength hair product or other. I was wearing extremely tatty combats, a beanie, a steel link neck chain, and a hoodie with
'stop reading my f*****g hoodie' written on the back.

Some old codger comes up to me, prods me with his walking stick, and says 'are you staff?'

Thinking back on it, it would've been more funny to play along..

Geoff PhD

play dumb

Post 6

Kirsteen (less than original, but its the only name I have)

In the shopworker's line of stupid customers (my sister has more of them, but this is my best)

(1) The customer who walked through our department store, looked at a variety of items, then came up and asked "Are you open?". "Well, no madam, in fact we are burglers, here to rob this store of its ugly, yet functional and machine washable garments. Oh, and while we broke in, we thought we would find some of the most awful store uniforms (pleated polyester skirt and blouse in matching grey white and red shapes) to wear while we contemplated our crime."

(2) Then the woman who asked why the shopping centre next door wasn't open on a Sunday. "Well, Madam, it hasn't been built yet. Perhaps if you ask a foreman and fill in the relevant forms, he'll let you borrow a hard hat so you can walk around the hole in the ground for a while. But don't expect to find any bargains. Maybe you could purchase a rock."

So, anyone any hints on dealing with stupid customers. Short of laughing in their faces. (Which I didn't do, I promise). Actual answers to above scenarios were (1) "Yes" and (2) "It hasn't been built yet."

And I always find the best thing when dealing with agravating customers is to find a manager - preferable one who looks older than me and wearing a suit. Then cringe when they completely mismanage the situation, and silently mourne the loss of a customer.

play dumb

Post 7

Jay Dawg

Greetings all. smiley - smiley

Aggrivating customers? Years back I caught a customer peeing in the parking lot of my video store! Then he acted as if I were wrong to interrupt him.

play dumb

Post 8


my favorite has to be this one (or one much like it):

customer: i want this and i want it now! (like maybe a refund on a two-year-old busted alarm clock with no receipt, just for instance)
me: you can't have that.
customer: i'm the customer and the customer is always right. i want this and i want it now!
me: you can't have that.
customer: who do you think you are!?! i want to speak to the manager! right now!!
me: i *am* the manager, sir.
customer: you've got to be kidding me!
me: i *am* the manager, sir. what you want can't be done. is there anything else i can help you with today (wearing large, patronising smile smiley - biggrin )

that was the only part of management i ever really liked smiley - smiley

play dumb

Post 9

Monkey's Uncle

Hey, since you've worked in store management, perhaps you (or someone else around here) would know this:

The other day I was told that those signs that some shops have, 'We cannot accept 50ukp notes' signs for instance, are not actually legal. This guy told me that if you offer to pay with a 50 and are refused, you can legally walk away with the goods since you offered legal tender and they refused to accept it.

Sounds a bit dubious to me...anyone know?

(they say curiosity killed the Monkey's Uncle)

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Post 10

Martin Harper

from the Bank of England's website:

> "Legal Tender"

> "The concept of legal tender is often misunderstood. Contrary to popular opinion, legal tender is not a means of payment that must be accepted by the parties to a transaction, but rather a legally defined means of payment that should not be refused by a creditor in satisfaction of a debt."

> "The current series of Bank of England notes are legal tender in England and Wales, although not in Scotland or Northern Ireland, where the only currency carrying legal tender status for unlimited amounts is the one and two pound coins."

Yet another example of folk wisdom being completely and utterly wrong. Nothing changes... smiley - smiley

play dumb

Post 11

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

I was of the understanding that refusing to take £5) is the same as not accepting payment by credit card of by debit card. It's just a facility which the shop or whatever is unable to support, usually due to its size and the relitive ability of the store to a)take the loss should the credit not go through or the £50 turn out to be fake or b) not ever have enough money in the till to give chnage if a £50 is part of what is in there. Therefore this is not really anything to do with the finer points of currency law but a matter of practicality. I have worked in bars etc. run by students and they for example couldn't take anything above a twenty, some couldn't accept anything above a ten and this again was soley due to the size of the establishment and the amount of cash float in the till.

Bus drivers do this too but thats just because they like to upset me when it is 6.30 in the morning and I've been waiting in the rain for the bus for twenty minutes.

What I really dread is the introduction of the 'exact change only' bus which I have heard has been seen in some areas. I'm going to have to walk to work!

Sorry, off subject


play dumb

Post 12

Monkey's Uncle

Thanks for the info, Lucinda! Looks like my lecturer was doing his whole 'let's see how much the students will accept at face value without bothering to do any research' thing again smiley - winkeye

FABT -- Practicality doesn't generally seem to have anything to do with laws, I find!

Now, when it comes to exact-change-only buses I have some experience, since they were around in my home town many many years ago. I always thought that's how /all/ buses operated, so was pleasantly surprised to come across bus drivers who give change (however grudgingly).

Of course, having it as 'exact change only' gives them a chance to help us out by making it a nice round fare -- say, £1, as opposed to those awkward small change amounts, like 67p. See the gratitude in my eyes.

play dumb

Post 13

Researcher U2562781

Plying dumb is great. Best not to be clever at all then you come across as a challenge to them.

When playing dumb and it come to pint of action, then bring out your sword and show them whet the cleverness inside you outsmarted them. smiley - magic

play dumb

Post 14


You are exactly the kind of person you wouldn't want "help" fromsmiley - sadface

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