To comment when a customer abuses staff

(33 Posts)
Labyrinthian Sat 10-Sep-16 08:40:22

Im abroad. Waiting in coffee shop queue, guy in front of me has a heavy accent, hardish to understand. Menu in English, staff speak English and local language.

Guy in front is super rude ordering. Really aggressive to staff. Then One of staff ask him to repeat something, he goes mad, shouting at her, including 'god your stupid, you can't even speak american'.

I interrupt politely and ask him to stop speaking to the staff that way. He goes CRAzY. Roaring and shouting at me. Who the f do i think I am. My parents and family must be ashamed of me. On and on. Shouting right in my face. Really aggressive. Eventually goes back to his transaction, shouts at staff, turns back on me 3 times in total attacking me. Tells me his family is from this country so he has the right to speak to staff like that.

I do not engage further and he gets more and more angry. Eventually he leaves.

Then I go to pieces, shaking. He was very scary. I ended up staying there in case he was outside waiting

So aibu? Would you have interrupted? This is not my first time doing this BTW, I've done it in both supermarkets and restaurants because I hate to see people harassing those in jobs they feel are stupid\ beneath them (and I've done it in a school and office too - all times were completely justified).

DerekSprechenZeDick Sat 10-Sep-16 08:48:16

Usually staff are capable of telling a rude customer where to go. I guess it depends if the manager is loitering about though grin

I've had customers tell rude customers to do one when I've been at work. It usually embarrassed the rude one

I wouldn't butt in though

onemorecupofcoffeefortheroad Sat 10-Sep-16 08:49:19

YANBU. You didn't succumb to the bystander effect. Well done you - be proud of yourself.

wowfudge Sat 10-Sep-16 08:51:26

Sounds as though this guy has a chip on his shoulder about his accent tbh. I don't think you were unreasonable. If you choose to intervene you have to expect that you might get some of the backlash.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 10-Sep-16 08:52:58

Be very careful. I wouldn't interfere tbh and that guy is the reason why!

Rude people can be very irrational

wanderings Sat 10-Sep-16 08:59:40

We need more people willing to challenge rudeness, so that the perpetrators stop thinking they can get away with it under the defence of "the customer is always right".

If I wasn't afraid of being beaten to death, then I would be thinking that if he did choose to assault me, it would be there on CCTV, there would be numerous witnesses, and he would then be getting a richly deserved prison sentence and a six-figure fine for being an idiot.

Sadly the justice system doesn't work like that, so I prefer to take the self-preservation route instead.

GoblinLittleOwl Sat 10-Sep-16 09:25:32

Yes, I would have done what you did, but when he started abusing me I would have found the manager and laid a complaint against him.

Narnian Sat 10-Sep-16 09:35:28

There was a horribly aggressive and nasty man in M&S a while ago yelling at female staff who behaved professionally back to him. I was about to say something to him (I'm a midwife and have encountered these bullying fuckers a lot) when the security guard came over. He shut up immediately and was escorted from the store but not before saying he would be complaining to customer services etc.

When I got home I emailed customer services to relay the event in case he did complain and let them know how wonderful their staff had been.

It makes me so angry that people treat shop workers this way - even more so when it's a man being abusive to female staff. Tossers.

Labyrinthian Sat 10-Sep-16 11:13:23

It just makes me so angry. Its a developing country and I'm guessing his family left and moved abroad and he was raised abroad (his English was very hood, just with a strong accent). But that doesn't entitle anyone to feel superior. There was no manager present and I don't think the staff were genuinely able to stand up to him.

Rosae Sat 10-Sep-16 11:20:24

I have to say I probably wouldn't directly interfere, but that's to do with similar experiences in the past ( while sticking up for someone on a bus I once got told 'remember I saw you get on so I know where you live' ). I would now, and have, gone to get managers or security.

GlitteryFluff Sat 10-Sep-16 11:24:50

I work in a shop and we're not allowed to say anything... The most we can get away with is asking them not to shout at us or if not asking another colleague to serve them.
The amount of times I've wanted to say things like why do you think it's ok to speak to me like shit? Why are you being so aggressive? Etc but we're not allowed. I've been called a cunt, followed around the shop by people shouting at me, backed into corners etc it's awful. Once an older man was in the face of an 18yo screaming at her and being so rude that another colleague did say don't speak to her like that, it's rude etc and he did go and apologise after luckily he didn't complain otherwise I'm sure the colleague would have been told off for speaking to him like that!

So thank you, for standing up to him, I'd love it if someone did that for me whilst I was at work! It's when you wish everyone in the queue, general area then followed suit and said yeah, stop that, yeah don't be a dick etc to get them to fuck off!

KellyBoo800 Sat 10-Sep-16 11:32:37

I worked olin a shop from the ages of 18-22 and was physically and verbally assaulted by people like this on more than one occasion. I would have loved for a customer to stick up for me like you did, so I don't think you were being unreasonable at all.

I was always told to remain calm and polite but that never stopped it. It wasn't until a new deputy manager (who was HUGE) witnessed it and stepped in, told the customer to fuck off and not to speak to his employees like that, that I got the confidence to start sticking up for myself without fear of losing my job.

APlaceOnTheCouch Sat 10-Sep-16 11:49:23

I don't think it's reasonable or unreasonable. I just don't think it's that effective to intervene in that way. It's likely to escalate the situation rather than defuse it.
I worked in a forward facing role for years whilst a student. We were always told we could refuse to serve or engage but our first approach would have been the conflict resolution approach. Throwing an unconnected third party into the mix, makes it harder to resolve and defuse.

TSSDNCOP Sat 10-Sep-16 11:51:22

Whilst on holiday I witnessed a woman being extremely rude to the staff in the hotel. She tried unsuccessfully to drag me in, I didn't interject at the time on either side as I didn't know what the issue was.

However, in that face of the staffs professionalism she got ruder and ruder. The women had tears in their eyes, one was the spa manager.

The woman stamped off shrieking that she was going to the hotels general manager.

I gave the spa staff my name and room number and said if the general manager came to have him contact me. I wouldn't comment n the problem, but I would certainly comment on how they had remained polite and calm in the face of verbal abuse.

var12 Sat 10-Sep-16 11:58:08

If he's from the country, why doesn't he just speak to the staff in their own language, rather than try to communicate through English??

I wouldn't have intervened, but TBH if you do, then you shouldn't be surprised that someone you already know to be aggressive is aggressive with you.

WorraLiberty Sat 10-Sep-16 11:58:18

Was he drunk?

Any American I've ever known has referred to their language as English.

'You can't even speak American' makes no sense really.

JellyBelli Sat 10-Sep-16 12:00:36

I've told staff I would support them if there was a complaint, or if they wanted to complain about an abusive customer.
I have stood up to bullies in shops but womdered afterwards what I would have done if the situation had escalated.

RandomDent Sat 10-Sep-16 12:00:45

Good for you for stepping in, I'm sorry he was such an asshole.

I have stepped in a couple of times when a manager was having a go at their staff, and I was a customer. I suspect the manager is less likely to shout back at a customer though. smile

WorraLiberty Sat 10-Sep-16 12:01:12

And what var said.

The guy's a twat if he chose to speak in another language anyway, considering he must be able to speak theirs.

Cellardoor23 Sat 10-Sep-16 12:02:32

I've known Americans to say I speak American and they weren't drunk, just an idiot.

ijustwannadance Sat 10-Sep-16 12:07:55

Was it a culture thing? Thinks men are superior? Is it stange for him to say your parents and family should be ashamed of you for questioning his behaviour.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 10-Sep-16 12:08:37

He's clearly a cunt.

You are a brave or stupid! woman.

But you know what? You've probably made biggest impact on the staff member who may have gained a little bit of self esteem from it and realised they don't have to take that shit. I hate it when I hear stories like the one above where someone would get a ticking off from a supervisor for stopping a customer treating an employee like shit.

I don't think we can solely blame parents or education system or whatever for the entitled attitude of adults nowadays - we can blame a society where people stand back and watch it. (And sadly have to watch it for fear of physical violence)

Wauden Sat 10-Sep-16 12:09:46

Good for you to stick up for the staff. The man may have had serious issues and on drink/drugs etc, but there is still no excuse.
I told a customer once 'do not get aggressive with me' and she calmed down. Before when she complained, the manager stood up for me.

Mummyoflittledragon Sat 10-Sep-16 12:13:06

I wouldn't necessarily intervene. I have in the past. However, you can make yourself a target for verbal or physical abuse. I have spoken to the member of staff after the event to ask them if they're OK and to state the rude customer should not have spoken in this manner.

DesolateWaist Sat 10-Sep-16 12:14:46

Having spent many years working in retail I generally step in. Or at the least say something to the staff after they have gone.
It is dreadful having someone shout at you and all you all the names under the sun and not be able to say a word back to them.

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