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Please Give Us A Break

Updated on December 7, 2010

I spend 40 plus hours a week at my job, working for a company that claims that both shopping and working there is an enjoyable experience. We are paid to cater to and kiss the butts of the rudest and most demanding group of people that I have ever seen. Our store is a high end grocery store, and the majority of the employees that work there shop elsewhere because they can’t afford to do business with their own employer.

We all take pride in our work (that is a job requirement). We try to give the best presentation possible to every cut of meat, fish, and lamb, chicken…it goes on. But when some rude and careless customer comes over to our case and trashes it looking for a cut of meat or chicken, then walks away from his or her mess, it really ire’s us to no end. But we bite our tongues lest we lose our jobs. Believe me, with the prices we charge, these customers are eager to complain about anything just to get something for free. People even rip off the meat labels because they think we are hiding something under it.

It is not just our department. The other full service departments like bakery and the deli experience the same things and we all seem to vent on each other about the morons that we have to cater to.

But we have one dissident among us, and for the sake of this writing, I will refer to her as Deidra. She is the woman that stands in the front of the store and cooks samples of food for the customers as they walk in. She has a very haughty attitude, is very demanding of all of the departments to bring her what she needs when she needs it, and has little respect for her co-workers as well as herself. And just like the customers, she is the first one to complain to management if she doesn’t get her way.

Unlike all other co-workers who tell the meat department ahead of time what they need cut so it is ready when they get off in the evening, Deidra waits until she is finished with her duties before placing an order. Now you have to realize that Deidra is in and out of the meat department all day long, barking orders without authority, but says nothing about a special request. But at 8PM, long after we have cleaned and sanitized the equipment so we can go home, Deidra comes to the window demanding to have a bone-in ham sliced on the saw, or a special roast cut, or whatever. It has been the catalyst of many discords between her and us. What is her argument? “I am a customer right now and you will give me what I want when I want it!”

This has lead to many meetings in the manager’s office since she has complained about our attitude towards her. It was resolved; however, that Deidra was to put her requests in early. She was not satisfied with that, and has now called on the help of a friend to come in as she got off work and place the special orders for her. We still have to dirty the equipment all over again. I asked her why she does this, and her reply was “I am a customer, and I expect to be treated like one. What if another customer came in late and wanted something cut?”

“It depends on what their attitude was or what they looked lke. We may not have what they need in stock.” A young co-worker replied. I smiled at his remark. So as she walked off, she rooted through the meat case and left it a mess. I just shook my head.

It has become a fact of life in my profession that rude and inconsiderate people are everywhere. But it is the few that are considerate and understanding of your efforts that make the job worthwhile. While some customers will purposely trash the display with you standing right there hoping that you will say something, others will actually clean up after them for us. Those kinder, more compassionate people are remembered when it comes time for their special requests.

When you are in a grocery store shopping, and you find yourself messing things up a bit, think about one thing: What if someone came to your place of business and trashed your work area? What if this happened over and over again, several times a day on a daily basis? I bet you’d be pretty annoyed.

Think about it

Copyright 2010 By Del Banks


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Dude, I know where you are coming from! I been doing this kind of work for 25 years, and these people wont never change. We need more of us to speak up and be herd. Maybe somethig like this will get the word out!

    • badegg profile imageAUTHOR

      Del Banks 

      9 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

      Yes it is sad. After a while, an employee can become bitter and desensitized toward good customer service because of the way that they are treated by their clientele. It is good to have compassionate and understanding customers such as yourself to make our day seem more worthwhile. Thank you.

    • adenmark99 profile image


      9 years ago from THORNTON, Colorado

      I think that From Whole Foods to Wall mart the rudeness remains the same unfortunately. I try to remain polite and clean and make the employees smile because they only deserve respect. I used to have a conversation with the Fresh Fish and Seafood section at Whole foods, once a week. Unfortunately some employees have been treated so poorly by clients that they don't even smile. It's sad.

    • badegg profile imageAUTHOR

      Del Banks 

      9 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

      Those of us in the "service industry" are really looked down upon by those we serve. Whether you are a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker...any of us, servers included, we all posess special skills that can take years to hone. I'd like to see one of these idiots that criticise us come in and do what we do as well as we do it. They won't be able to.

      My grandfather was a master chef and owner of a famous Hollywood Restaurant, yet because of hs nationality, he was looked down upon by an ignorant few.

      These feelings have always been there and will continue because some people just can't be pleased!

      Good luck to you.

    • profile image


      9 years ago from somewhere out there



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