A Bad Day Gone Wrong

October 21, 2008
By
Carolyn slams her car door shut as she slips on a sheet of ice, spilling her scorching hot Starbucks coffee all over her new sweater. “Ouch!” she screamed as she slowly drags her feet dreading the long day at work. She thinks to herself, “I do not know how I will be able to stand another day listening to this annoying Christmas music, dealing with the customers trying to save as much money with coupons as they can.” Extremely aggravated due to not having a day off in three weeks, she flings the door open so hard that it slams against the wall. Even though today was her scheduled day off, she received a call at the last minute asking her to come into work. Under her breath she mimics her bosses annoying voice, “Umm Carolyn, this is Shelly. I was wondering if it would be possible for you to come into work today. I know that it is really early and short notice, but Rebecca called in and said that she has a severe case of the flu. I called you first because I know I can count on you.”
The mall seemed busy to her for the past month, and she even had bruises on her arm from people running into her while she stocked the shelves; but she knew that since it was a week before Christmas the mall would be packed with all of the last minute Christmas shoppers frantically trying to buy the best gifts they can find. She dreaded going into work so much that she actually contemplated ramming her car into the semi that drove next to her on the highway. As she walks through the back door into work, she realizes that she forgot her lunch at home. She thinks to herself, “Great, now I have to spend ten dollars on an overpriced lunch and sit in the crowded food court.” She slowly heads up to her department where she puts away her purse. Shortly after opening, the store filled with customers, overflowing with holiday cheer. The last thing she wanted to do was put a smile on her face.
After an hour of folding clothes, cleaning out the dressing rooms, and helping people pick out Christmas gifts; Carolyn got a page from her boss over the intercom saying, “Carolyn Mooney please report to the men’s department to help check out.” She mumbled under her breath, “Ughh… could this day get any worse?” When she got to the register she noticed that the line wrapped around the floor and all the way into the cologne department. Taking a deep breath and forcing a fake smile on her face, Carolyn began to check out customers.
Carolyn monotonously helped seven customers, as she started to count down the time till her lunch break. As she scanned the store, the line seemed to grow before her eyes. Trying to stay calm, Carolyn said to her next customer, “How may I help you today?”
In a snappy voice the short woman responded, “Well I’ll tell you how you can help me. You can start by explaining why you charged me twice for this one hundred dollar sweater! And you forgot to ring up my coupon that I gave you from the newspaper.”
Carolyn started thinking, “Where do I know this lady from? I don’t remember checking her out.” In a polite voice, Carolyn said, “I’m sorry ma’am you must have me confused with another employee.”
The lady responded in a sarcastic manner, “Umm I don’t think so. Who could miss your fun holiday spirit? I haven’t seen someone hate Christmas so much since the last time I watched the Grinch.”
Carolyn, shocked by the rude comment, fired back, “Well! I am sorry ma’am if I have offended you, but as you can see there’s a long line of people behind you. What can I do to help solve your problem?”
“If you were paying attention you would remember me telling you my situation. I need for you to give me my one hundred dollars back and refund me the difference from my coupon!”
Before Carolyn responded, a man from the back of the line shouted, “Could you please hurry up? I have been waiting here for forty-five minutes!”
Another person yelled, “Take your return to Customer Service! This register is for checkouts only.”
Carolyn, trying to calm the crowd down says to her customer, “I am sorry that this happened, but they are right ma’am. In this line we are only doing purchases. All returns and complaints must be done at Customer Service on the third floor.”
While the lady’s face turned bright red, she yelled at Carolyn saying, “Do you know how long I have been in line? I waited thirty minutes just to get up here the first time, and I waited another forty-five minutes once I realized that YOU screwed up my purchase. But you wouldn’t realize that because you have not been paying attention to what you are ringing up or who you were checking out. Now I am not moving out of this line till you give me my one hundred dollars back and redeem my coupon! This problem has gone on long enough, and I am sick and tired of dealing with your attitude. Now I would like to have a word or two with your manager.”
Carolyn, annoyed with the situation, and at a loss for words quickly turned around to go get her boss. As she walked away she heard the impatient people in line starting to yell. Rolling her eyes and letting out a huge sigh, she quickly found herself so frustrated that all she wanted to do was lock herself in a dressing room and cry. Walking back to her boss’s office she worried about what her boss was going to say. She thought, “I know she is not going to be happy with me about how I handled the situation, but hopefully she will not fire me. Actually, would it even bother me if I did get fired? I hate this job, and I would love to just not have to spend another day in this awful store.”
She knocked on her boss’s door, and once her boss said “Come in” she opened it. Carolyn said, “Shelly, I am having a little bit of a problem out in the men’s department. I have a customer who is getting upset and she is demanding that she speak to you now. I have tried to calm her down but she will not listen to me, and she is being extremely condescending to me and other customers in line. I can not put up with her anymore; can you please come take care of her?”
Irritated with the fact that Carolyn could not handle the situation on her own Shelly says, “Carolyn, is this not a problem that you could have avoided?”
Carolyn at this point really did not want to deal with Shelly, and she quickly became sick of Shelly not helping her; so she decided to take matters into her own hands. She said to Shelly, “Listen, I have been out there putting up with her for a good fifteen minutes now. I am sick of listening to her yell at me. I am losing my patience so either you come out here and help me, or I will just walk out and not come back to work ever again.”
Shelly, astonished at Carolyn’s response, says, “Ok I can tell that you are upset. I will go out there and take care of her. Why don’t you just go take your lunch break, come back, and I will have you work in the back folding clothes so that you won’t have to deal with anyone else. How does that sound?”
Carolyn, still frustrated, thanked Shelly for helping her out. She grabbed her purse and left for her lunch break. She thought, “I really wish that I would not have forgotten my lunch at home, because I know that there is no way I will be able to walk past the mad lady and have her not see me. Plus there is going to be such a long line at the food court, and I am really not in the mood to be patient and wait for food that I don’t even like.” She decided to try and sneak past the lady, and go to the food court anyway. If the line seemed too long she was going to just walk around the mall and do some last minute Christmas shopping for her family and friends.
Something that the rude lady said to Carolyn really hit her hard. It kind of upset Carolyn when the lady referred to her as the Grinch; she really did not mean to come across that way. She was just really stressed out and not in a very good mood when called into work unexpectedly. She felt so bad, that she decided to buy Christmas gifts for everyone that she worked with. Carolyn also decided to change attitude at work. She thought, “It’s really not that big of a deal for me to have to work today, and it definitely shouldn’t put me in a bad mood or let it ruin my day. Most people would kill for my job, even if it does come with bad hours. I really should be thankful that I even have a job, instead of complaining that I have to work.” Ever since that day Carolyn went to work with a huge smile on her face; she rarely ever complained about having to work.





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