What would you do?

25 Oct

Recently at work, we’ve had a lot of clients (old and new) pay with checks that subsequently bounce. One particular client lives ABOVE us and owes us around $6000 of which we’ve seen none. We saved your stupid cat, just pay your bill, gooberface.

Management decided that the best way to curb this problem was to require anyone paying with a check to also serve up either a driver’s license or a credit card that we could keep on file. They posted a big sign about it and told us absolutely no exceptions. This is a wonderful idea in theory, but it’s easy to enact this sort of regulation when they are not the ones who will end up face to face with our…er….um…..entitled clientele. The front desk buttoned down the hatch and prepared for the shit storm.

We deal with difficult people day in and day out, it is just part of the job. I’ve developed a lot of techniques to manage the rising temperature of my blood. I apologize a lot for things I have no control over. I say I’m going to go speak to someone about it, step out into the back area, fume for a minute, come back out and tell them that circumstances cannot be changed. I’m a pro at keeping my cool in front of these people, but today I just couldn’t. I’m a bit stressed. I’m a bit tired of working so hard and being underpaid. Somedays, I just don’t care if they fire me. Today was that day.

I told this woman her balance, and she pulled out her checkbook. I took a couple of deep breaths, preparing for what was to come. “Maybe she won’t mind?” I reassured myself.

“So with that check, we just need a driver’s license or a credit card on file?”
“Is this some sort of joke?”
“It’s a new policy. We are asking all of our clients to do this.”
“I’ve been paying with checks for years. You think I’m trying to stiff you? YOU think I have no money?!”
“We are happy to accept the check. We are just asking everyone to have an ID on file as well.”
“Well…I…..NEVER! You cannot be serious?!?!?!”
“We just started doing this in the last couple of weeks.”
“I have been coming here for TA-WENTY years, and I knew Paul for SIIIIIX before that. Does that mean nothing to you? My loyalty as a customer?!?!”
“Well, I’ve worked here under a year. How the hell am I supposed to know how long you’ve been coming here?” Uh oh, Wilson (yeah, I call myself Wilson in my head during inner monologue) you are losing your cool. Hold on. Don’t….lose….it. “I haven’t even been alive as long as you’ve supposedly known them.” Not the answer the old hag was looking for.
“I am a dedicated customer, and you have the nerve to insult me. How am I supposed to feel about this deep insult? Do you understand how this feeeeels? What would you have done? What would YOU do in this situation?”

I was past the point of no return. This woman hated me. I was fuming at the absolute ridiculousness of the whole thing. This is the point in the story where if I was recounting to my friends I would have told them my response. My friends’ eyes would widen, “Noooooo, you said that!” I’d shrug my head sheepishly and say, “Nah, I apologized…. but I wanted to say it.” Not this time, Wilson. I actually said it this time.

“You know what. I probably would have just handed my ID over and saved myself five minutes instead of making such a fuss.” I said it in the most calm voice you can possible imagine, because damnit, that is what I would have done.

The woman huffed and puffed and stormed her way out with her frou-frou dog.

I felt AMAZING. Having acquired a bit of a New York attitude is not such a bad thing.

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