Be Nice or Leave
I had to "deal" with an irate person the other day (as I do almost every single day). Most of the time it's anger over a misunderstanding or a mishap on the part of the staff that I need to apologize profusely for. I throw on "I understand completely" and "It will never happen again" and "I will personally handle everything for you from now on" (which I actually make an effort to do, by the way). And it's not hard for me because nine times out of ten, I agree with the customer and I want to keep their business.
But the other day was special. This guy was special. He took his anger to a special level of supreme rudeness and condescension that I have not seen before. At least not in a pet store. And this guy knew exactly what he was doing. Walk in, wait until multiple people are there to witness, find someone at the register you don't recognize, then start screaming. He was good. He was very good. This guy was so loud, so alarming, so forceful and nasty (over being denied a discount on a $15 bag of dog food)- I thought I might have to call the police. It wasn't hard at all to imagine this guy becoming violent. He was convincing enough to raise my blood pressure.
I should mention that this guy was not suffering from any kind of financial hardship. He was dressed in business clothes and rolled up in a BMW or a Benz or another luxury something or other.
From the skill with which he used his fury, I got the impression that this guy was a lawyer. He was certainly educated. He came ready for an argument, whereas I was 100% unprepared to match him in a verbal dispute. And he knew it. And I knew it the minute he started flipping out.
I quickly decided the best and only solution was to get this guy out of the store immediately. And in order to do that, I gave him what he wanted. I hated to do it, because it means he'll come back and do it all over again to some other poor sucker. But I also felt that it was worth the $5 we didn't earn from the sale to relieve the tension and keep everyone in the building safe.
I've been thinking about this guy a lot. I guess I think about anyone who is a d*** for no good reason.
Someone tougher and braver than me probably would have succeeded charging him full price.
Oh wait, we're talking about dog food. All of this is over f***ing dog food. I could have subjected myself and others to prolonged excruciating harassment over D-O-G F-O-O-D. NOT WORTH IT.
Two days ago, I was on an airplane. It was taking a long time to get off when we arrived. A middle-aged couple who had been seated at the back of the plane lined up in the aisle and stood blocking my row (as well as a few others). Just ahead of me was a young woman with three kids under the age of 5. She had diaper bags and backpacks and purses and stuffed animals to juggle. Ahead of her was an elderly woman whose husband had to struggle to get the suitcases down. The middle aged couple that had already cut in line picked up their suitcases and started yelling and shoving the young mother and the elderly couple. Luckily the flight attendants were NOT having it.
This extremely rude and impatient couple were on the last flight in or out of the airport that night. No connecting flight. When they got off the plane ahead of me, they stopped in the dead center of the terminal (blocking the pathway) to look around, so the hurry was all for naught. No reason I could fathom explained their behavior.
A lot of people have heard me tell the story of working with Tom Sizemore. I don't mind naming him because what he did is so callous, so ridiculous- anyone who calls him a friend should be ashamed for him. It was while I was working on a movie with him a handful of years ago (after he did rehab- he was supposedly 100% sober this day). I'm standing at the snack table gabbing with a co-worker in between setups. All of a sudden I feel someone grab me by the shoulder and push me to the ground. I look up to see Mr. Sizemore reaching into a container of brownies. He proceeded to pick up an entire handful and shove it into his mouth as he walked away. All without a single word.
This kind of s*** drives me crazy. It really bothers me. I don't know how people get to be such a**holes. How do they live with themselves? Is there some thrill in inflicting discourtesy for selfish gain? Why is there so little regard for others? Why do these people just decide that the strangers surrounding them are insignificant and disposable?
I think these a**holes are all miserable. I think these people will all end up alone with no one to call on them. I hope that is some kind of punishment.