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Alternate Ways to Deal with Customers

Updated on August 16, 2012

{Alternate Title: 'How to deal with customers if you don't mind losing your job!'}

We've all heard it before,

"The customer is always right!"

Yeah, yeah. Like that hasn't been beaten into our skulls enough over the years. As many different types of unruly customers we have been forced to deal with, we really haven't been given many different ways of dealing with them.

The standard way of dealing with customers is to be the little something I have named...

The Polite, Customer is Always Right! Service-tron 9000 (Available to abuse at a store near you)

To work any customer service related job, you have to be courteous, apologetic, and borderline masochistic.

Frankly, I've had enough of it. You can smile and apologize until the cows come home and you'll still have every insult and dirty look thrown at you. Every customer is not created equal, so why are we still using the same old, tired methods? It's time for a change and I think these new methods I have come up with are just the trick!

The motherly method

Kids today. They are just not being raised well enough. Where their parents have failed, it is time for us to step in! Insist they use proper grammar and manners, or you are not going to finishing ringing up their order until they do.

"Gimmie? Oh no no. That won't do at all. It's 'May I...' and don't forget to say 'please' and 'thank you' as well."

And why stop with just their etiquette? Their whole demeanor could use a change!

"Pull up those pants!"

"Sit up straight!"

"I am not your maid! The trash can is over there."

"Don't you roll your eyes at me, young man!"

"Do you pay the electric bill around here? Stop letting all the cold air out and shut that door!"

Don't have a room available? Just send them to the nearest changing room, bedroom section, or even just a corner. As long as they understand that their actions got them into trouble and they have to think about what they've done.

Did you know

There are several punctuations that have been created over time to denote sarcasm. There's the reversed question mark, or snark mark "⸮" The inverted exclamation point "¡" And more recently the SarcMark has been created, which looks like a swirl around "." Available for only $1.99! ...Because that's totally something I'd spend money on¡

I like his art!

The sarcastic method

This method can be effective especially when you're dealing with a dim customer that has yet to grasp the concept of sarcasm. You get out how you're really feeling without actually saying it and the customer still thinks that they are right. Everyone is happy!

"Oh no! You're threatening to leave the store and never return? I really wouldn't want that. How ever will I survive without your weekly abuse? My paycheck is really going to suffer if you don't buy that pack of beer."

"Please, keep hurling insults at me. They really make my day. Wow, I've never been called that one before! You're so witty and creative."

"Well of course I can read your mind. I'm just purposely not because there's nothing I enjoy more than making my customers hostile."

"No, I was just kidding about not having that item. I'm just hiding it from you because I thought it was a fun game."

Don't forget an eye roll or two and a smug smile. Remember, a bit of sarcasm a day keeps the idiots away.

The blunt method

Sometimes everyone needs a harsh slap from reality.

Or a punch. Which ever gets your method across best.

I've found that many people have wanted to use this method during their time in the food industry.

What's that? You need a large burger with extra cheese and bacon? Heh heh, oh no your portly self does not need it. And neither does your whale of a child for that matter. Just because you've ruined your own body and health does not mean you should do the same to your offspring!

Look, if you want to come in to my place of work and be decent with me, then you look no different to me than any other customer and I will treat you with the same respect as I would anyone else. If you get nasty with me, maybe workers should have the right to get nasty back. Remember kids, it's what's on the inside that counts.

How to 'Jazz Hands'

Now, obviously, this method can apply to any area where employees are forced to deal with rude, obnoxious, and stupid customers.

Someone trying to get "yo digits" and you want to let them down "easy". Give them this number. Not blunt enough for you? Then tell them to take a long walk off a short cliff.

Customer wants to know where a certain section or the bathroom is and they're literally standing right next to it? Have a special song and dance routine prepared especially in their honor and it ends with you doing jazz hands towards the sign and/or aisle. If you aren't very good at singing and dancing, signs are fun to make! A giant arrow should get your point across. Don't forget the glitter. And then crown them Captain Oblivious and have a grand parade in their honor!

You are guaranteed a never dull day! Same for your customers.

The mocking method

Very similar to 'the blunt method', this method usually involves a lot more laughter, directed at your customers of course. When a customer asks you a stupid question, and believe me they will ask you a stupid question, you can respond anywhere from a content chortle to and all out cackle. It all depends on how ridiculous the question or statement is. For example...

Once when working retail, I had a woman tell me she had a 30% off coupon. I was a bit befuddled because I could not remember such a coupon. As she handed me the coupon, I corrected her saying it was $10 off a $30 purchase, to which she replied in an obvious manner, "Right, 30% off!" This was worthy of a good chuckle on my part, but not worth the effort to correct her.

It's up to you to decide which situation is worthy of what laugh.

The honest method

You know, it's time people knew the truth. You do not work a minimum wage full time job just so you can put up with constant abuse from complete strangers. You are not just some blank slate that someone can let all their aggression out on. You are a human being with emotions and feelings who is doing the best they can possibly do.

When you misunderstand a customer's request and they start shouting at you, calling you rude, tell them, "No, you're the one that's being rude. What I did was a misunderstanding, what you are doing is verbally attacking a complete strange in a public location in an attempt to belittle them and make yourself more superior. That is being rude."

When a customer throws a fit over the price of an object or a coupon you cannot accept, do not give into their childish demands. Because that's all they're being; a spoiled brat of a child. "I'm sorry you misunderstood, but if you do not have the money, then I cannot give you the item. Please come back when you are ready to make a purchase like a mature adult."

When a customer dumps all of their aggressions on you, stop them before they even have a chance to finish. "I'm sorry that it's raining while you're here on vacation. I'm sorry that someone at a different store treated you poorly. But I have no control over those events. What I do have control over is helping you. In the time it took for you to yell at me, I could have already helped you by now! Instead, you wanted to take this time to make someone feel just as lousy as you feel, and that's really low."

You know, in all the jobs I've had, I've actually been pretty fortunate to have some awesome managers. They're all awesome because they've all told me the same thing.

"Never let a customer talk down to you or treat you poorly."

"If they're just going to be rude to people, we don't want their business anyway."

"The customer is not always right. We just have to make them think they are."


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    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      7 years ago

      Haha, that is a great story ^_^

    • MissyGear profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks, Kim. That quote seems so profound now, but it was actually really funny when my manager said it. Or rather shouted it as he ran through the store to go prove our last customers of the night wrong. They were in our store way past closing time and told us it was because our website gave a different closing time. My manager was perfectly polite to them until after they left. He ran to his office and came back laughing triumphantly with a piece of paper he just printed out that showed our store time was correct and they were wrong. Even managers like to prove customers wrong sometimes.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      7 years ago

      The quote "The customer is not always right. We just have to make them think they are." is absolutely fabulous! It applies to many relationships not just customers, lol ^_^ don't tell my husband I said that. This hub is hilarious and I can't help but share it and vote it up a bunch!

    • MissyGear profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      An interesting thought. We've all had our fair share of bad workers as well. Maybe I'll write up a follow up article about it. Thanks for the idea, Archer.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 

      7 years ago from Missouri

      Had a situation today. My history includes 9 years of big box management. Got out because of the hours. Anyway, today went shopping with my wife. She wanted a particular plastic tote container. Found it, then looked for ten minuets for a lid. Couldn't find one to fit. As we were leaving the department, met a young lady who worked the dept. Asked her that if she couldn't find a lid to fit, could I get 50% off the item. She walked over and picked up a lid, and put it on. I told her I'd tried that one, didn't fit. You guessed it: it fit. My wife got a good laugh at my expense, and I got a good portion of humble pie as I shook the young lady's hand and said thank you. Your article depicts bad customers, but there are just as many bad workers who do not understand respect or customer service. Both sides need a little more patience and to treat each other better, if you want better treatment. Overall, a very funny hub, and great examples of what to think, if not say.

    • MissyGear profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      If only others could be that open to the truth...Thanks, Biz!

    • MissyGear profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks, TT!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      LOL...great hub! voted up!

    • BizVT34 profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      Missy, nice job. Next time I'm "that guy" I prefer the blunt method, I don't want to have to try to figure out that you're mad! LOL

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      7 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Great job, Missy, really enjoyed it. :) Shared.

    • MissyGear profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      I fully agree, Effer! I am always on my best behavior when I'm out to eat or shopping. I even scold my friends when they start misbehaving.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      7 years ago from Carson City

      This is GREAT!! Love it! With many years of dealing with clients and their issues and complaints....under my belt...I am soooo glad to be retired. UGH! the things we must often tolerate!

      You are correct and FUNNY! Your ideas are terrific and should be put to use!

      I will say this, though.......People who have had to bear with the attitude of kissing butt for a customer.....have learned quite well how to be polite, reasonable customers themselves!!! UP++

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is funny Missy, Great "alternate" methods!

    • MissyGear profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks, Josh. I have a friend in the same line of work. Though, working right next to major hotels, I deal with a lot of their gusts! I can only imagine what they put up with.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania


      This was so awesome Allison! I work at a hotel and so wish I could use some of these lines. Customers are usually never right! LOL As always, loved your pictures! Very funny hub here! :)

    • MissyGear profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      My old manager use to say *a lot* of things he shouldn't have, both to the customers and behind their backs. Maybe that's why he got fired...I always thought he was funny though! Thanks for the comment, Rich.

    • MissyGear profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      If only customers could appreciate this humor equally. Thanks for the comment, Billy!

    • rcrumple profile image


      7 years ago from Kentucky

      What a contradiction in hubs tonight!! lol

      I love this. There have been times I've actually said some things that I shouldn't have ("I'm just looking", "Boy I'm glad gave us eyes so we all could do that!") but I was the store manager and got away with it! Love this! Funny / Awesome / Up

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I've worked a lot of years of retail and it's not easy at your alternative methods of dealing with customers.


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