As college students, when it comes to getting a job for the summer, corporations aren’t exactly looking to hire us into upper level management. Instead, we get stuck in the service industry. While I enjoy my job selling cupcakes at the mall and I like my employee discount on all the pastries you could imagine, the customers I deal with are not as sweet.
Dealing with difficult customers never really gets easier, however you can be more prepared for when they come your way. Don’t forget to keep your cool if a customer is getting under your skin. Personally, I prefer to kill them with kindness, keep a positive outlook on the situation and stay collected. Think about it this way, all the weird and annoying customers you serve will make for great stories to share with your friends. That, and I like to keep telling myself that my job’s free cupcakes make it all worth it.
The Seemingly-Kind Little Old Lady
Don’t be fooled by her hobble and cane as she walks through the door. Granny can pack a punch, figuratively of course. She fools you into thinking she’s harmless, looking so old and sweet, but when she opens her mouth you soon realize that she’s actually quite demanding and possibly senile. You try to be nice and throw on a smile but she criticizes your haircut and talks about how these establishments were better “back in the day”.
Now first things first, you should know that she’ll probably never be completely satisfied, but you can try to combat her nit-picking, crotchety attitude by using your extra nice voice and smile when accommodating her. She’ll like you a lot more if you just go along and agree with her about “those darn kids these days”.
The Indecisive Couple
You know the ones. That couple that walks in holding hands and staring lovingly into each other’s eyes. The ones who go: “What do you wanna get babe?” “Oh whatever you want honey” in an annoying banter that never seems to end. They can’t seem to make up their minds because of just how in love they are with each other.
We really should be happy for them, but it’s hard when getting through to them is like pulling teeth. The best way to deal with these two is to end that constant back and forth between them and recommend something to them you think they’d like. They’re likely to go with your advice than to continue trying to make up their minds. Plus the faster they make their decision, the faster they can go back to canoodling with each other.
The Dirty Hippie
Is he stoned right now? Is he drunk? Is he just a little crazy? For all we know, it could be all three. They walk in and start talking to you about those herbal remedies, and how we really just need to be one with the earth and Mother Nature, and how you really should serve all organic products.
They typically mean well, but they might talk your ear off about how everything should just be groovy like back in the day. Despite how confused you may be by their tangents on “The Man” getting them down and so on, just stay nice and keep a smile on. Try to direct them back on track, otherwise you may get stuck with them for a while.
The Overly Curious Customer
They will ask you questions about EVRYTHING under the sun. They will quiz you about your menu and every item of food listed. They just want to know everything. Was this made in the US? Is it organic? Do these come in any other colors? They say there’s no such thing as a stupid question, but there is such thing as too many questions. The only real way to deal with these customers is to answer all of their questions to the best of your ability. Unless you have some duct tape to keep them quiet, although that doesn’t normally do well for business.
The Know it All
No matter what, you are wrong when it comes to the know-it-all. They will try to casually drop into conversation how “my mother’s best friend owns a bakery and she bakes cupcakes and so naturally I know everything there is to know about cupcakes” and proceed to brag about how you clearly don’t know as much as them. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that these people don’t like to be corrected or proved wrong, so I tend to live by “the customer is always right” philosophy. Just flash them a smile and let them continue to think that they know everything.