- Bennet Heyn is a student, entrepreneur, and retail employee. Heyn’s seen an uptick in angry customers this year.
- Heyn said some customers curse and yell, while others get angry about store policies that workers can’t change.
- This is Heyn’s story, as told to freelance writer Jamie Killin.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Bennett Heyn is a 21-year-old student, entrepreneur, and retail employee. This is Heyn’s story, as told to freelance writer Jamie Killin.
I’m Bennett Heyn, a 21-year-old Ohio State student, entrepreneur, and retail-store employee. I’ve been working at my store since January of this year, and my coworkers and I have seen an uptick in angry customers.
I think customers might be more riled up because of the stress of the pandemic. We saw how there was a lot of panic when the toilet-paper supply went low, and customers still have a lot of frustration due to pandemic-related mandates like our mask policy.
A lot of customers like to complain when they can’t find things, and some get mad.
Recently, a customer was walking through our store and couldn’t find the blankets section. They came up to me and started yelling at me that we didn’t sell blankets. I showed them the section, and they swore we must have moved our display around. We hadn’t, but I just agreed with them so they wouldn’t get angrier.
Another time, I was working the checkout and a person was trying to buy soda with an expired coupon. When I told them we wouldn’t accept the expired coupon, they said, “Damn asshole,” and I had to get the manager. The manager let them use the coupon and they muttered something else mean under their breath as they left.
A lot of people get angry when we try to enforce our store policies. Once, I was helping with the changing-room area, and a customer tried walking back with 10 clothing items to try on. However, we only let people try on a certain amount of items at a time.
I told them the policy, but they just walked by like they didn’t hear me. I went up to them before they went into the changing room and told them the rule again. They got so upset, they threw some of the clothes on the ground angrily outside the changing room. They ended up trying on the number items allowed, then grabbed the other stuff off the floor and tried it on after. They glared at me as they walked away.
This rude customer behavior makes me feel bad and I don’t like getting yelled at, but I kind of expected it to happen.
My older brother used to work at the same store as I do, and he said to expect some rude behavior occasionally, but to not give it too much thought. My manager says to be calm and professional, but to let management know if things escalate or if the customers need more help than I can provide, such as in situations like those.
But in a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to do any of that. People would just remember that there’s a person on the other side of their behavior – one who doesn’t deserve whatever rude treatment they want to dish out that day.