Welcome to Bored Panda, how may I help you? Ah, I see. So, you Pandas work in the food, retail, and services industries and started the week off dealing with some incredibly dense customers. Denser than the core of Planet Earth, you say? Well, don’t worry about it, plenty of us have been there.
In fact, our team has collected a whole bunch of examples of the dumbest things that customers have said and done, to make you feel better. Trust us, you’re not alone in this. Of course, this isn’t to say that all customers are dumb: most are polite and decent. However, a small proportion of them are nightmare material and don’t even know what chicken wings are. And here’s the proof. Grab a soul-healing cup of tea, scroll down, upvote the situations that made you laugh, and share your own retail nightmare scenarios in the comments.
Bored Panda reached out to Save the Student, a British project that advises students on how to make their money go further, about how the pandemic affected the job market and what to do if you feel like you're stuck at a job where you feel demeaned. Jake Butler from Save the Student said: "It does depend on location and other factors, but finding a job during the pandemic, specifically lockdown, has been extremely difficult for students. It's true that some businesses, such as supermarkets and delivery companies, have increased recruitment, but large student employing sectors such as retail and hospitality have really stuttered due to being closed for many months."
Jake from Save the Student added that while some retail and hospitality jobs are returning, many students are "shunning them as there are worries about job security and also working conditions." According to Jake, one of the main worries that many have is that the market is weighted towards the employers and not the employees.
"For those that feel demeaned in their current job, I would suggest it's worth studying the rights you have as an employee," Jake told Bored Panda what we can all do if we find ourselves being treated less than humanely at our workplace. "Even during the pandemic, there is no excuse for an employer to break the law at your expense. And if you feel you're being treated especially poorly I would suggest looking to switch jobs, but doing so wisely."
It’s easy to stay professional when the customers who you deal with are nice, pleasant, and see you as a human being. But the challenges start when you come face to face with someone who demeans you, acts overly entitled, or simply asks incredibly dumb questions. All of which makes you question why the nation’s education system has set the bar so low.
Earlier, I’d spoken about how to deal with difficult customers with Alexander Kjerulf. He’s the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at ‘Woohoo inc.’ and knows a lot about helping keep employees motivated, happy, and using their skills at their best.
Alex put it very simply that if you feel like you’re forgetting that you’re a human being worthy of humane treatment at your job, then you should seriously consider moving on. “Quit, and find a better place to work, where they actually care about their staff. And quit sooner rather than later. The longer you stay, the more they will grind you down until you lose all the energy and optimism you need to move on and find a better job,” he told Bored Panda.
He said that it’s common in restaurants to treat their customers like kings. And some places complement this by treating their employees badly. However, this is far from all right! It shouldn’t be the norm.
“99% of people are nice, but the occasional rude client is unavoidable," Alex noted that you will have to deal with difficult customers sooner or later. It’s not something that you can avoid forever and ever, no matter how good (or lucky) of an employee you are. "You can learn tricks to deal with them, and that's great, but no one should have to put up with mistreatment."
Working in the service industry doesn’t mean that you have to be a doormat, however. If you find yourself constantly being walked over, belittled, and demeaned, you have to reach out to your manager for help. They should be willing to step in and help you deal with anyone who isn’t acting like a human being should.
“You have to remember that in many cases a customer who behaves badly is not necessarily a bad person—it can be a good person having a bad day and that’s why they’re acting out. But the sad truth is that some customers act this way because they’ve learned that it works and will get them discounts or preferential treatment,” Alex said that some customers might be nightmare material by accident while others are very Slytherinish and sneaky.