Saturday, July 28, 2018

Be Kind to Employees

Today is a special observance day of my own making. Do you ever make up a holiday or a special day? We do this sometimes here at The Manse.

One reason I dislike going out much, is the awful way the customers act. We've really gone overboard with the "customer comes first" motto, because many people are now taking advantage of it and going over the top with abuse!

They are not just mean to the employees, they can be mean to other customers too.

Just yesterday I observed an elderly woman, yes, an elderly one, yelling at a store employee. The employee was probably a teenager, who was putting away shopping carts. I was walking behind this elderly woman when she screamed at the young person and said it was the second time he had walked past her.

Because I was rather close to the incident, I was able to observe that the young employee was diligently attending to his job, was not trying to harm anyone, was not harassing any customers and was certainly not rude.

I told the older woman it was not necessary to cause a scene and disturb the other customers and that it was quite upsetting. I said the employee had pushed the collection of carts across the aisle at least 4 feet away from her. I also had walked in front of this woman, but to that, she answered, "Yes, but THIS IS a STORE EMPLOYEE!"

I explained to this loud, rude, obnoxious older woman that she was in a shopping area, and inevitably there will be other people walking past her, walking across in front of her, etc. but that she had not been harmed.  The woman again replied that this was a store employee!

Later I saw the woman at the customer service area and a young girl who was putting away the shopping carts asked me to go over there and tell the managers what I had seen and heard, and so I did.  The woman was going on and on about how rude it was that a store employee had walked across her path.

After I explained this to the managers, the woman denied she had yelled or raised her voice. Then she asked me what business of it was mine.  I told her I was there when she was creating a disturbance and that it interrupted my nice shopping experience ;-)

The woman swore at me and showed an obscene gesture!

The problem I am seeing is the number of elderly women, who should have by now grown in graciousness, attacking store employees.

Not long previous to this, an elderly woman in another store  shouted at a young man who was putting away merchandise in an aisle. She claimed he was standing in her way, standing in front of her and that he had pushed his cart too close to hers.

Not many people are trained to deal with these rude people.  The rude people are very well  versed in what they are doing and are looking for trouble, even a chance to make money. Sometimes it is a scheme to sue a business.

It is dealt with in various places throughout the Bible: avoid them, cast them out of your midst, disfellowship (ignore) them, discipline them, bring them to repentance, etc.  I would say for the most part, people would do anything to avoid trouble, so they walk away from it. It may be time to confront some of them.

I have seen this sort of thing in all my experiences in churches.  Someone will come seemingly out of nowhere (they are not known to any of the members of the group and have no history with the group) and want to be a church member, and in a very short time will be criticizing, complaining and condemning. Then they will ask how much money the church has, and express the need to have some kind of compensation because they have been offended.  The offense is never clearly stated, but they will aggravate a while and then when they can't get their way they will stage a huge blow up and leave. After that there is no stopping the bad press they give the church, the business, the group (even a ladies Bible class!).

I am not taking the day off  or having a cake but just keeping the employee in mind--whether it be in retail, or at the airport,  roadwork---I have seen these people suffer a lot of abuse at the mouths of  these ne'er-do-wells.  And what is even more astonishing and shameful to me, is that many of them are the elderly!!  While we might expect it to be typical of youth, because of their lack of knowledge or experience, we find no excuse for the elderly to behave in such an aggressive and threatening way to employees.

Also, I no longer remain mute when someone is yelling at an employee. I always correct the abuser. If they ask who I am, I say I am an advocate for the oppressed or say they are disturbing the peace.  I wonder if they know how they sound.

I heard one man respond to a rude, abusive customer, "Ma'am, I am not paid extra to endure this abuse."

I suppose this is one advantage in using the employee-less checkouts. If they don't like the employees, they can just yell at the machines.

A friend of mine told me the best question you can ask one of these obnoxious people is: "How have you been harmed?"

To those who are ready to jump all over this and protest about rude employees "on the other hand" I will say it is not the same at all, because a CUSTOMER HAS A CHOICE--he can leave, report to the company or the manager, the employer, etc.  He has all kinds of "rights". But the employee cannot walk off the job and choose a different place of employment on the spur of the moment like a customer can choose another place to shop. The customer can choose another place to take business and trade, but an employee cannot get the customer of his choice. He is stuck with the obnoxious ones if he wants to maintain his employment.  The employee has to keep his family fed, clothed and sheltered and does not always have the luxury of chosing a job that is nice and fulfilling and uses his talents, is a pleasant place, etc. The employee's whole life is affected:-his house payment, or rent, his transportation costs, just about everything is tied up in his employment. A customer on the other hand has the choice of not frequenting the business.


Unknown said...

Yes. Be kind to everyone. As the popular saying goes, you don't know what each person may be going through. The One who is most often falsely accused is God. He is blamed for everything these days and the Bible is so misquoted, it's a sad state our society is in. But if each of us does what we can to spread some cheer and also to not put up with lies and bad behavior, maybe it will make a difference

Emmarinda said...

My husband,of retirement age and disabled, has a little summer job driving the shuttle tram at the local water park. He often is cursed at, threatened and otherwise abused. Some days, he comes very close to losing his cool. It seems that people are devolving into something less human these days.

Lydia said...

Emmarinda, the customer has been such a strong sense of importance that he now goes over the boundaries of courtesy and attacks employees. We dont have the comedies any more and so no one is laughing at their rudeness like in Mama's Family, Carol Burnett, Andy Griffith...we all watched those programs and NO ONE wanted to be like the rude fool, the unable to please old woman, etc. But today there is no standard humor to put a check on this insanity. I saw a man with a sign on his jacket ...he was in a private company of his own... the sign said, we will not tolerate abusive customers.

Lydia said...

oh yes and dont forget Basil Fawlty trying to run a hotel and putting up with rude customers who were demanding he change things in the rooms or cook the food all over again. He made some remarks that would land hin in a lawsuit today if he responded to an abusive customer !

Unknown said...

I bet that store employee was glad you were shopping that day. Thank you for speaking up.
We as Christians should speak up and confront people who are doing wrong when we see it.
I once saw an old, well dressed man walk into the card section of a store. After he made his selection he slipped the card into his lapel coat and walked out of the store. I told the manager, but by that time the old guy was gone. Not only did he rob the store but he made our next purchases higher because the store eventually raises their prices to compensate for the theft.

Regina said...

I'm sorry Lydia that happened. I wonder if the elderly woman has dementia or something. I was remembering last night my mother being a nurse at a convalescent hospital how some of the patients were not in their right mind. That sounds like what could be happening with her. But then she could just be mean but more than likely she has dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Jana said...

I wish everyone would love one another and seek to do good, but we live in a world with the ungodly, morally corrupt and abusive.... I am proud of you for speaking up like you did. I heard a saying long ago that has never left me. It says, " Evil prevails when good men sit down and do nothing. " I feel like we are required to stand up for what is right, and more of us should take this initiative.

Lydia said...

Argumentiveness is one sign of dementia. But she was driving a very nice car and seemed to have no problem finding her way around. I have seen other elderly women making scenes and dramas about people walking in front of them but I wonder if their eyesight is bad. They don't wear eyeglasses. They accuse others of being rude. They act entitled. It's like a ring or gang of people going around to public places with a mission to intimidate the employees and the other customers. Most people manuever around public places and try to avoid conflict but these people are looking for it. Most people are cautious about speaking to strangers unless it's polite exchanges. These people make enemies right away. It's mostly women but once in awhile I see a man shouting at someone. The employees usually say "I'm sorry you were inconvenienced."

Lydia said...

When they decline into a state of swearing and obscene gestures, there is definitely something more going on in their minds than a mere offense of someone crossing their path in a store.

Renee said...

These are also the ones that complain about the unemployed they complain about those who are receiving assistance.I believe they are just unhappy complainers with nothing better to do.Not to say some employees are rude.but we all have bad days.give people the benefit of the doubt.we all need to remember the golden rule.its people like that that get people fired then complain about the unemployed.I'm sorry it just is not nice.I'll stop ranting now.Renee

Feminine Belle said...


I am so happy you spoke of this issue! Our oldest child speaks many times of abusive customers. One told her he would wander anywhere he felt like it when all she was trying to do was ring up his purchase. :o(

She shares that many times people are rude, or will treat you like dirt as if you are somehow beneath them because you serve. She goes on to state friendly people help speed up the day. Honestly Lydia, I have had a few people on the phone ask if they could call me when they were having a bad day. (said jokingly of course) But it really makes me wonder of the customers that call in.

Janet is right of course about speaking up. As followers we need to speak up. I wonder if I have lost my *nerve* to speak up for someone else. I pray when that time comes, help will be offered. Lydia, you are my inspiration for speaking up!!!

I have taken a learning curve on smiling more and perhaps joking with the person that either helped me, made an appointment, retrieved something, or the many other acts of kindness preformed and include them in prayer after our brief and meaningful meeting.

Pretty sure there are other horror stories employees could share.

As Jesus served, let us serve others as well and speak up!!

Dianne said...

It is good that you defended that poor employee and I hope it encouraged anyone looking on to do the same thing in the future, if needed. It's so easy to just walk on, embarrassed. Kudis to you for speaking up, Lydia.

Lydia said...

Renea, I had not thought of that. Good point. At least they are employed.

Mrs. O. said...

I am also glad that you spoke up. I try to be nice to retail employees because I know that often times they are understaffed, overworked and underpaid.

My fourteen-year-old son says that older people either become nice and patient or mean, angry and grumpy. It seems that he is right and unfortunately more older folks seem to become the latter these days.

ann said...

glad you spoke up for the employee. some people just get older and don't grow up.

not fair to take out anger on someone who can't defend themselves.

joanie said...

I tend to shop at the same time everyday ( before 11 am), at Krogers usually, and have seen my fair share of rude people of all ages, but I guess I am a bit shocked at your report. I do understand the entitled elderly issues. My brother used to co manager a Marsh grocery and most shoplifters were elderly!! They had the money to pay; were often retired from the big auto plants and had managed to get a great retirement package, but felt the store was asking too much for the items they took. We also have had family members who were a part of the great income and retirement days who harshly judge the struggling generations after them. Mostly I have seen or experienced elderly being rude to me or other customers. I am so glad you did what you did - I would, too. I just hope I would speak as effectively as you.
One thing that did really boggle my mind was the part about people ( more than one or two I am gathering) coming to churches and after causing upheaval asking for monetary compensation. I don't know why I should be surprised, as we know wolves abound. What seems different is that years ago, like in the 50's and 60's, people would not want to be thought of in a negative way - they coveted a good reputation even if they didn't deserve it. Today people are more and more proud of their darker side and love to show it. So, the wolves are not even trying to hide it. But if one is not truly Christian they don't understand God's ways and maybe how obvious they are. At least some of them.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am so happy you spoke up for the employee. In my younger years, my teens and 20s, I worked at a bridal shop and often had to deal with customers. I'm glad to say that I did not run into many rude customers, but after being upset the first couple of times, the owner took me aside and gave me some pointers on how to remain calm and courteous even in the face of rudeness. I learned to give people a little grace and benefit of the doubt, which is much easier knowing they had a legitimate grievance rather than someone simply complaining or blowing something out of proportion. It's sometimes not easy to be kind when someone is rude, but I feel that because I have been in the employees' shoes, I am much calmer as a customer when things don't go the way I would wish.