Retail Stories: "I Would be Careful if I were You"
"I'll be outside in the parking lot with people"
I've worked on multiple retail jobs and collected a lot of interesting stories. I still think back to the experiences...
I've become a person that's extremely picky with whom I work with especially what kind of employer/manager I work with. I still remember in my early twenties, working for an employer, whom I had trusted until there were none. Thinking back, there were many reasons for the end of that relationship, but this event had definitely ruined my last bit of trust for them. I can't say they were terrible employers, however, if there were more empathy, communication, transparency, and sense of responsibility, the results could've and would've been different. I mean, what's the point of saying all these now, no more blabbering, let's get to the story.
At the time, the company I worked for a small business that distributes personal care products, they deal with both B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to customer) sales. I am part of the B2C -- retail.
Imagine a small retail store, about 25' by 15', with black and white renovation and decors, inside a mall that is fairly quiet during the week. Then imagine an afternoon, where there was barely any traffic, and I was the only one mending the store. I had a computer mouse in my right hand and my eyes were on the computer screen, looking at a list of items that need to be replenished in the store.
A woman in her late thirties or early forties entered the store, I immediately stopped what I was doing, greeted her. Her hands were holding big garbage bags and she said she only speaks Chinese. I immediately reassured her that I can speak the same language as well, she let out a sigh of relief when she heard me. Then she went on the complain and explain the reason she's visiting, which relates to wholesale (B2B) issues. As much as I had wanted to assist her and troubleshoot whatever problem, I can't, I don't have any access to the information to help her, of course, neither do I have the authorization to do so either.
After hearing her out and letting her know that I, unfortunately, cannot assist her, and the only way to resolve this is for her to communicate with the Wholesale/B2B Team. She raised her concern that she is unable to communicate with the team, as she doesn't speak any English and she was assisted by someone on the B2C team when she was placing her order last time. I tried taking her information down and let her know someone will get back to her, however, she insisted on being assisted at store level and refused to leave without resolution.
I gave the boss a call, she picked up and I quickly went through the situation with her over the phone. At first, she responded she's busy, however, as I've let her know the customer is not willing to leave, she said to call the security. At that time, I just felt it was exagerrated, as if she's willing to communicate with the customer, perhaps it could be resoluted. Honestly, I didn't want to be caught in between something really messy, and whomever had assisted the customer probably received a reward to building that order, therefore, the issue should be looked at by the B2B team and whomever had previously assisted her. I asked the boss to talked to the customer and visit the store to resolve the problem with the customer. She was hesitant and hesitantly agreed to talk to the customer. The boss spoke briefly with the customer, with me translating, and agreed to visit the store.
After a while, the boss arrived, with me still translating, neither the boss nor the customer can come to an ideal resolution. The customer confused, raised her voice multiple times throughout the conversation. The boss unwilling to settle told me she needs to get back to whatever she's doing and asked me to call the mall security or the police. Despite the boss' whispering, the customer still heard the words "security" and "police"; she was furious, and raised her voice and started throwing a scene. The boss ignored the customer and walked away -- yes, she left, left me to deal with this mess all by myself and wipe someone else's butt (sorry for my lack of better words).
The customer upset and yelling at me, I looked at her, in disbelief -- of course, more so of the fact that the boss would turn away and just leave.
After a few moments, the mall security arrived, they asked the customer to leave, then walked away. The customer, still in the store, started yelling and screaming, pulling tantrums and brushing shelves of testers and products onto the floor. Throughout the entire thing, I apologized to the customer multiple times, tried calming her down and get her to leave the store first -- obviously, none of my words mattered to her.
The securities came back, seeing how much trouble the customer is causing, the securities finally decided to escort the customer out of the store (they were quite nice though, they apologized for the mess the customer caused).
Just before the customer left the store escorted by the securities, she yelled "I have connections, I would be careful if I were you. When you leave tonight, I'll be outside in the parking lot with people. Even if I don't show up tonight, I will another time." The securities didn't understand her words and I didn't get the chance to tell the securities before they left.
I was left by myself in the store, feeling extremely insecure and scared for my safety.
After thinking for a few moments, I decided to give the boss another call, so she is aware of what had happened after she left -- even though she is the last person I had wanted to speak to at that moment. The boss picked up, I briefed her and had let her know I have been threatened, she said "no, she won't do that, don't worry". I don't know if she's still busy, or if she didn't care, or if that is her way of "caring", I had told her I don't feel safe, we ended the call with her telling me the customer "won't do it" and she's very busy and have to get back to whatever she's working on.
I was shocked the second time, I know there isn't much for her to do, but, honestly, I felt she could do better in being more empathetic.
That was the moment I felt the trust was gone and I can't rely on, nor work for a company that thinks so little of their people's safety. I kept working for them weeks after that, then we parted our ways.
"In a detailed 68-page decision, which represents some of the very first quasi-judicial interpretation of the Bill 168 amendments to the OHSA, and which should be of interest to employers all across the province, the arbitrator found that the amendments change the way in which employers must now respond to verbal threats. In short, because the uttering of a threat of violence now legally constitutes an act of violence, employers can no longer dismiss such behaviour as mere talk."
*Disclaimer: Retail Stories are based on actual events and experience, with some details added and/or edited. If there is any resemblance to your experience and/or people you know, it may or may not be coincidental.