Today I made a Retail Manager cry

Now, before you go thinking I’m horrible, please bear with me.

Today I went to a local cafe with friends. We had been craving some quality chocolate, and I loved the hot chocolates there. When we arrived I noticed there were a few dirty tables and assumed they’d been busy and hadn’t had a chance to clean up.

We found a table in the far corner away from everyone else. We had one 2 year old and my 6 month old plus pram, and wanted to make sure we weren’t in the way. The table had some crumbs on it, but being a mother of a young one I had wipes. Mothers always have wipes. We cleaned the table down, sat down and decided what we wanted.

Our selections made we went to the counter. We waited a couple of minutes while they finished up what we were doing then placed our orders.

The manager and the cashier girl briefly spoke, and the girl timidly advised there’d be about a 10min wait on food.

“Sure, no worries!” I replied. We weren’t in any rush. I also joked with her about my being deaf when I misheard her ask me a question.

I paid and made my way back to the table.

Only a few short minutes later the manager came over with my drink. She advised she’d upsized it to a large free-of-charge because “I had been so nice to her staff”.

She explained they’d had such a bad day. A staff member had come in with concussion, still expecting to work, and she’d had to send them home. From there the day grew worse. They had been abused all day, she explained. You could see the pain on her face. My heart ached for her. It explained the state of the restaurant, since they were a man down and so run off their feet they hadn’t been able to catch up yet.

Now, I know that there may have been some mistakes made that could have irritated some customers and made them upset. Sure. But I am so strongly of the belief that there is absolutely no need to be rude to staff. I’m the same way with certain call centres for telco staff. They’re humans, with emotions. They’re so often on the receiving end of abuse. It doesn’t need to be like that. Explain the issue and work towards a resolution (wish I could apply the same rule 100% of the time at home with my hubby, I let emotion get in the way there, but I’m working on it). My point being that screaming and tearing someone down doesn’t get you anywhere.

An idea suddenly presented itself to me.

“I want to buy them a present, try and improve their day” I declared to my friend.

We finished our food and drinks and headed to the grocery store (the only thing left open). I picked up some flowers and then began hunting for some individual gifts. Suddenly I spied some “Wonder Woman” stubby coolers. Perfect. I purchased them and we headed back to the cafe.

“Hi!” said the manager when she saw us back again.

“We bought you some presents to try and improve your day”.

I handed over the flowers and the coolers.

“Are you serious?” she exclaimed.

She covered her mouth with her hands, her face turned red, and she began to cry. So of course I cried (I cry when anyone cries, I’m soft).

I reiterated I hoped her day would be better now.

Her other staff member hugged her as she remained speechless. Finally she managed a “thank you”, clearly overwhelmed. We talked a bit, then I bid her farewell.

When I left she had a smile on her face. Mission accomplished.

See? I’m not nasty after all!

I have a few points to be made from all of this:

  • There’s no need to be rude to staff even when there have mistakes made
  • We’re all humans with emotions
  • You don’t know what battles everyone is fighting
  • When you see someone having a bad day make a random gesture to try and improve it. You don’t know how much of an impact it can have

I really hope her day went well after that. My friend and I walked away so glad that we’d gone to the effort instead of just talking about it.

The smile on her face was worth it.

9 Replies to “Today I made a Retail Manager cry”

  1. Beautifully said Kelly, as a retail staff member in a previous life it is so hard to keep your mouth shut when you are being abused by a customer. We were told that ‘the customer is always right’.

    1. It’s so unfortunate that’s still the mindset. It feels like customers these days have this sense of entitlement that’s just not right! I sympathise with anyone working in retail. And thank you!

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