Your stories about working with the GENERAL PUBLIC

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    Jun 24, 2014 6:34 PM GMT
    As you probably know, the general public are almost without exception either batshit crazy, or just bastards. I do like to hear stories of the things they do though. For those of us lucky enough to work with them, please feel free to share your stories here.

    I have a few stories but to begin with, I will explain about the toilet at my office. The toilet at my office has a light switch which some people have trouble finding. 99% of the toilet users having trouble will ask someone for assistance. Very sensible. The others simply go to the toilet with the door to the door wide open rather than make a fuss icon_eek.gif

    (I do actually like working with the public. The majority of the time the things they do make me laugh rather than annoy me).
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    Jun 24, 2014 7:14 PM GMT
    Made a thread about some of my experiences before here:
    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/3206571

    Some of my stories include:
    Almost getting murdered
    A lady not knowing that Florida is a state.
    People throwing fish off the shelf and onto the floor.
    Debating what 10% off an item is.
    Saving someone's life and then getting in trouble for it.

    My latest one deals with my rude customer who couldn't find "New Mexico" on the country list when sending money. I had to convince her that New Mexico was actually a state, and not a country.
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    Jun 24, 2014 7:35 PM GMT
    One thing I appreciate is when people (especially people higher up in my company) say they couldn't do the contact with the public part. It's good to get the appreciation. One of the previous chief executives of my company would actively walk up to clients and introduce himself which I thought was impressive considering how easy it would be to hurry past them. In a similar vein, there should be a special place in hell for people who criticise how you go about things while doing their best to avoid contact with the public themselves.

    I spent two hours showing one client how to invest in the stock market, choose a suitable investment strategy, further reading, what all the jargon meant and so on. At the end all he had to say was to point out that I was losing my hair. I wonder why!
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Jun 24, 2014 8:31 PM GMT
    JumpMan_Josh saidMade a thread about some of my experiences before here:
    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/3206571

    Some of my stories include:
    Almost getting murdered
    A lady not knowing that Florida is a state.
    People throwing fish off the shelf and onto the floor.
    Debating what 10% off an item is.
    Saving someone's life and then getting in trouble for it.

    My latest one deals with my rude customer who couldn't find "New Mexico" on the country list when sending money. I had to convince her that New Mexico was actually a state, and not a country.

    LOL, that is *so awesome*! icon_lol.gif
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Jun 24, 2014 9:12 PM GMT
    I have worked at the same retail establishment for almost 40 years. Ostensibly we are "picture framers" but over the years we have grown tremendously and we do far more than that. Unlike most retail businesses where someone walks in and purchases something off a shelf, this is a much more 'intimate' situation. Someone is bringing us something they value. It could be anything from a snapshot of their baby or dog to some valuable work of art to some memento--a coin collection, a snake skin, a broken wine glass from a Jewish wedding--we've framed all these and much, much more.

    For us "framing" is not just making it look nice. Aesthetics are one component, for sure. But the other component is *preservation*. We operate from the assumption that anyone framing something (it ain't cheap) wants to *preserve* what they are framing. Moreover, although many things are readily framable (images on paper, paintings on canvas, etc.) *many* of the things (as mentioned) are not. How do you "frame" a bottle of scotch or a pair of cowboy boots or a 200 year old lace table cloth that is 6 feet in diameter and so fragile it is literally breaking apart as it is being handled?

    All that to just get it across that what we do isn't just dealing with customers purchasing something off a shelf. We are trained in our trade to solve complicated problems that will give a customer not only a well designed presentation but a means for displaying it that will continue to preserve the item displayed.

    Most of the work we do is "custom" work; each piece hand crafted (more or less). BUT our business also has a do-it-yourself component. The customer places the order, we cut the materials, join the frame and help them put it all together using our space and equipment. This is not recommended for complex items but the average 'picture' can be done this way. It saves people a bit of money (custom labor starting at around $80 an hour).

    Get the picture? icon_smile.gif

    Alright, now, so add to this that our business is located in Berkeley, California. AKA *Buzzerly* aka *The People's Republic of Berkeley*. That is, a truly bizarre mix of 'mostly' fairly well educated people. I'd say 99% of them are rational--what we're interested in here is that *other* 1% icon_lol.gif

    Here's just one example: It was in the evening and only two of us were in the shop. I happened to be working on a project in the custom area (a mezzanine overlooking the downstairs sales and DIY work area). I heard my fellow employee greet a customer who walked in the door: "Hello, how can I help you this evening?" "Hi!" a older woman's voice replied, "I have something *very special* to frame, *an original Monet!*

    Well, that caught my attention so I look over the edge of the mezzanine to see what is going on. There I see an 'elderly' woman with a canvas rolled up in her arms and my fellow employee looking understandably surprised. "Oh, really?! … Well, I've never seen *an original Monet before!*" WIth this, the woman unrolls the canvas onto the design table with a bit of a flourish, obviously delighted and very proud of it (however not handling it at all the way any canvas of any value should be handled). What I saw shocked me as much as it shocked my coworker whose jaw was now hanging half way to the floor. What we were looking at was a *very, very* badly painted--I'd say 'god-awful'--still life of a vase with some flowers in it. (Monet is best known for his impressionist landscapes, still lifes didn't become a part of his oeuvre until later in life.)

    "Well," my somewhat exasperated coworker said, "I must say, I've *never* seen a Monet like *that* before!"

    "Yes," the customer gushed, "Isn't it remarkable!"

    "Indeed! How on earth did you acquire it?"

    "Well," she continued almost breathlessly, "I was down in Brazil visiting friends who have many wonderful works of art. I asked where they got them all and they told me about this medium they knew. You go to his seance parlor and he *channels* dead artists! You sit down at a table where he has canvas and paints, he puts himself into a trance, the lights go off and then “Voila!” the lights come on and THERE IT WAS! This beautiful original Monet!"

    icon_eek.gif (I mean, you know this is for real, right, nobody could make this shit up!) icon_lol.gif

    With this explanation now as fully on the table as this god-aweful painting, my coworker, renowned salesman that he was, immediately reaches for the sample of THE biggest most equally god-aweful AND EXPENSIVE GOLD FRAME in the shop, exclaiming: "Well, have *I* got the perfect frame for *you*!"

    icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 24, 2014 9:17 PM GMT
    JumpMan_Josh saidMade a thread about some of my experiences before here:
    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/3206571

    Some of my stories include:
    Almost getting murdered
    A lady not knowing that Florida is a state.
    People throwing fish off the shelf and onto the floor.
    Debating what 10% off an item is.
    Saving someone's life and then getting in trouble for it.

    My latest one deals with my rude customer who couldn't find "New Mexico" on the country list when sending money. I had to convince her that New Mexico was actually a state, and not a country.


    lol How old was the lady? Classic Murican stereotype icon_lol.gif
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    Jun 24, 2014 9:19 PM GMT
    JumpMan_Josh saidMade a thread about some of my experiences before here:
    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/3206571

    Some of my stories include:
    Almost getting murdered
    A lady not knowing that Florida is a state.
    People throwing fish off the shelf and onto the floor.
    Debating what 10% off an item is.
    Saving someone's life and then getting in trouble for it.

    My latest one deals with my rude customer who couldn't find "New Mexico" on the country list when sending money. I had to convince her that New Mexico was actually a state, and not a country.


    They're probably distracted when they see how HOT you are...
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    Jun 24, 2014 9:51 PM GMT
    kevex said
    JumpMan_Josh saidMade a thread about some of my experiences before here:
    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/3206571

    Some of my stories include:
    Almost getting murdered
    A lady not knowing that Florida is a state.
    People throwing fish off the shelf and onto the floor.
    Debating what 10% off an item is.
    Saving someone's life and then getting in trouble for it.

    My latest one deals with my rude customer who couldn't find "New Mexico" on the country list when sending money. I had to convince her that New Mexico was actually a state, and not a country.


    lol How old was the lady? Classic Murican stereotype icon_lol.gif


    You don't miss an opportunity to be ageist do you? Ever watched Leno's street interviews? a lot of dumb bimbos out there.
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    Jun 25, 2014 1:44 AM GMT
    Lets see, I work in a hardware store and am in the general area of Lawn and Garden, I also cover Automotive n Sporting goods.
    Some people come in and want to know how to properly change the blade on there lawn mower or whats best to use with weed eater to get rid of weeds.
    But, the real one's that kill me are the customers that come in with projects, they've got a list written down of all the things they need, but no idea how to assemble what there getting.

    Boy, aren't people just wonderful.
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    Jun 25, 2014 3:06 AM GMT
    I used to work retail during college. My favorite customers were the ones that would try to make a scene in order to get their way. Yelling loudly, proclaiming to never shop here again, pulling the race card, making physical threats, etc. icon_rolleyes.gif

    I would just stand there calmly and point at the big sign behind me..

    "No returns or exchanges without a receipt"

    They would just storm out and head over to the next store to pull the same stunt. LULZ.
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    Jun 25, 2014 5:30 AM GMT
    I used to work in retail in the Men/Underwear department with Robinsons May (similar to Macys) like a long time ago. Lol, I hated it when people returned all their gifts shit after Christmas. They're gifts, Lol, why return it?

    But yeah, over the years, I had a couple of jobs where I deal with people and public. Most of the time, you just have to bend over and be a bitch to them. Yes, sir, Yes Ma'm. Right away sir. Lol. I'm not saying I'm anti-social but my perfect ideal job is fucking leave me alone, don't come and ask me stupid questions if you can do it yourself and Do Not bitch or complaint to me about your own work.

    Urg, I feel bad for you though OP, can you switch and get a new job somewhere else? icon_cool.gif
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    Jun 25, 2014 6:35 AM GMT
    Everyone should work in retail or food service at least once in their lives. It's an eye opener. icon_lol.gif
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    Jun 25, 2014 6:47 AM GMT
    LAXWill10 saidUrg, I feel bad for you though OP, can you switch and get a new job somewhere else? icon_cool.gif


    I could do but I don't especially want to at the moment. I am lucky in that the clients need my technical advice so they have to mostly be nice to me. If I think they are time wasters or troublemakers then I can imply that investing is very difficult and they always give up. One thing I always watch out for is if they are complaining too much about their last provider, because the others are mostly no worse than us!
  • KepaArg

    Posts: 1721

    Jun 25, 2014 6:58 AM GMT
    I use to be a server back in Hawaii and actually wasn't too bad. I had few dumb questions like if I'd ever been to America, or why after 5 minutes their well-done steak isn't ready yet- lol.

    I would say my overall experience was positive and pulling $150-200 on average for 6-7hrs of work and still getting a little paycheck every two weeks wasn't bad.
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    Jun 25, 2014 9:06 AM GMT
    I used to work a student job at the tourist office in Bruges and had to hear a lot of dumb things unfortunaly, but it was pretty funny.

    One day we celebrated the 15 year existence of the tourist office and some woman (probably american icon_razz.gificon_wink.gif )came in and asked whether we were celebrating the 15th birthday of Bruges. Things like that happened almost constantly icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 25, 2014 1:46 PM GMT
    after 911 here in the US I really had to lower my standards for the general public. This has been re affirmed by various news events like:
    -local wedding cake shop refusing paying customers in a recession. He is out of business.


    I guess its always been there and I was naive not to see it.

    be cautious out there. keep your stuff out of plane sight. have defined goals when interacting with someone. If things not as expected bail and move on quick.
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    Jun 25, 2014 3:13 PM GMT
    There should be a companion thread to this one: really shitty customer service. icon_wink.gif

    Like store employees not knowing a thing about the products they offer
    Being routed to an Indian call center, so you can listen to some fool read from a script
    Restaurants that hire stupid help who leave out items on food, or slap it together

    But I agree, there are bad customers as well. I did my time in food service as a teen.
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    Jun 25, 2014 3:36 PM GMT
    wrestlervic saidThere should be a companion thread to this one: really shitty customer service. icon_wink.gif

    Like store employees not knowing a thing about the products they offer
    Being routed to an Indian call center, so you can listen to some fool read from a script
    Restaurants that hire stupid help who leave out items on food, or slap it together

    But I agree, there are bad customers as well. I did my time in food service as a teen.


    Today I made my first ever complaint to a company, in nearly 34 years of being alive! Hopefully it will not signal the start of my descent into being a grumpy old man icon_neutral.gif
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    Jun 25, 2014 4:04 PM GMT
    I used to sell shoes and one time this really old lady probably at least 75 acted like she was going to give me a hug and instead was trying to make out with me hah. It didnt bother me too much because I know she didnt know what she was doing I just thought it was funny. Her daughter who was pretty much old enough to be my grandma ended up grabbing her and being like mom you know that is inappropiate haha.
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    Jun 25, 2014 4:04 PM GMT
    I really haven't worked with the general public since my teens, as a grocery bag boy (bagger) in a supermarket owned by one of my Father's friends. But even my connection with the boss didn't spare me from the abuse baggers get, who are on the bottom of the grocery store food chain. And illustrating that the general public had as many jerks 50 years ago as it does today, not a recent phenomenon.

    The women were particularly abusive, and rarely tipped. In those days our policy was to take every cart out to the car and load it for the shopper, unless they specifically declined. And then I'd collect any stray carts in the lot and bring them back inside. Hot work during my summer high school break, with my regulation black trousers, black leather shoes, white collared shirt with black bow tie, and heavy white full-length apron.

    The male shoppers (few of them in the mid-1960s) were much nicer to me and tipped well, even though they more typically would take the cart outside themselves. Yet they still might tip me at the checkout merely for having packed and loaded their brown paper bags into the cart. Today many supermarkets won't permit their baggers to take tips, but it's how I made money on a minimum wage.

    One bad experience that I still remember involves putting one of the (then) new plastic gallon milk jugs into a woman's cart. While I was continuing to pack a paper bag, she decided to rearrange the stuff I'd already put into her cart. She dropped the milk jug, and the top popped off, spilling milk on the floor. (The early plastic jugs had press-on caps, not crimped screw-on like today)

    Without a moment's hesitation she screamed: "Look what you did! You'll have to replace this!"

    I replied that I hadn't dropped the milk, she did it herself. She screamed back "How dare you contradict me!" and began yelling for the manager. Whose office was in an elevated open booth up front, so he could overlook the store. He ran down and apologized for my clumsiness, and had someone get her a replacement jug. I kept quiet.

    But afterwards I spoke to him privately, and told him the true story. He said he knew, I wasn't in trouble, but it was his policy not to dispute the customers. Women shoppers - I still dislike them. Thank gawd our local Wilton Manors Publix is so gay that there are more male shoppers than female.
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    Jun 25, 2014 4:19 PM GMT
    One of my short stories will deal with Mean Managers, which I think are the root of all customer service and customer problems. But it actually begins at poor parenting. Badly raised kids grow up to be bad adults, and when they become bosses, all that "bad" trickles down to employees and customers.
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    Jun 25, 2014 4:45 PM GMT
    I managed a gym. It was a friendly place and even the serious folks enjoyed getting a greeting as they checked in.

    One regular clearly hated human interaction.
    He walked in and announced "Fine and you?" each time, without ever looking at the check-in person.

    If was as if he wanted to say "I anticipate your lame-ass greeting and answered it. Now leave me alone."

    I liked him.
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    Jun 25, 2014 4:51 PM GMT
    Samintown saidI managed a gym. It was a friendly place and even the serious folks enjoyed getting a greeting as they checked in.

    One regular clearly hated human interaction.
    He walked in and announced "Fine and you?" each time, without ever looking at the check-in person.

    If was as if he wanted to say "I anticipate your lame-ass greeting and answered it. Now leave me alone."

    I liked him.


    There was a girl who worked in a French bakery near my office. When I went in she would say things like "What do you want?" or "Yes?" in a very snooty way. She was fantastic. Another time I went to a wine bar with my friend and a French waitress (theme?) took our order, which was for the second cheapest bottle of wine they had (obviously we didn't ask for that, we gave the name of the wine). She said "Do you know we have another one that is even cheaper?" with an amused smirk on her face. I liked her too.
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    Jun 25, 2014 4:58 PM GMT
    33 years working as an airline steward , i should be writing a book ..icon_smile.gif

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    Sep 05, 2014 8:37 PM GMT
    Here's one for ya ...... Today at work I'm helping this guy get a few things in the BBQ section, he's got on these tight jeans showing outline of his undies, he's tail gating with some friends at a game ,, anyways he tells me where they'll be and I'm like , ok.

    As we're talking he hicks his foot up on a bag of charcoal to tie his shoe , he pokes his ass right at me as if saying do you like , and I swear if we were alone I'd have asked him out.