Working retail. - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Working retail.

I've had this retail job for about 4 years. At first it was really difficult for me, but I started getting used to it all. I've built a tolerance to bad customers to where it didn't really affect me at all. I felt pretty confident and good about my job and my work performance.

Til about 6 months ago that is.

Recently, there has been this one woman that comes in occasionally that is the female version of satan. Trust me, that is an understatement. First time I met her I had a run in with her over something very childish, and now she comes in just to target me and give me a hard time. Now she comes in the store to do just that, she doesn't even want to buy anything. As soon as I see her I start having a panic attack. Its very obvious that I'm panicking, I'm sweating, getting red, and shaking pretty bad. She feeds off this apparently, she likes to watch me squirm. She finds me and comes right up to me and starts giving me hell. She'll purposely humiliate me in front of other people and my coworkers. I start to shake a little bit and she asks why am I shaking and laughs at me. Why is your face red? She makes fun of me for having a minimum wage job. She does everything she can to ruin my day.

The funny thing is, I have always been friendly and more than polite with her. She just has something against me. I don't even know her name, and she treats me like she hates me. I even asked her one time what she has against me. It took a lot of courage for me to actually go and ask that, and she told me to mind my own business. I called in sick today just because I was so scared of seeing her again. I don't know if I can handle my job anymore. I'm even scared to go out in public now in fear of seeing her somewhere and her confronting me about nothing just to watch me squirm.

Why do people have to be like this? She doesn't realize she's having a huge negative impact on my life right now. After years of getting better, I find myself back to square one again. In the last few weeks I've fallen into a deep state of depression over this. I don't know if that might seem kind of stupid to any of you, but just knowing that a total stranger can hate me for no reason whatsoever really makes me want to just stop living.

Most people would just say 'screw her' and move on with their life. I can't for some reason. This is a huge problem for me. I have no one to talk to about my anxiety, so that's why I'm asking you guys. Why can't I overcome this?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 07:39 PM
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Wow, that woman must not have a life to just come in and give a person hell for no reason. Gosh, I can feel your pain! That would have such a destructive impact on my well being to have to put up with that let alone work retail.
Can you talk to your boss about it? do the other co workers know that she targets you?
Maybe you can call security on her? Because thats just harrassment and she has no right to do that to you.
Even if shes a customer, can you get her banned from going to your workplace?
That is behond a joke! Legally, there must be something you can do. Id definately talk to your boss about it, even tell your boss its really having an impact on you, not just on the job, but at home too.

I tell you everything that is really nothing, and nothing of what is everything, do not be fooled by what I am saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying. ~ Charles C. Finn

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 08:08 PM
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really talk to your manage or tell a supervisor that can tell your manager for you. you can get her kicked out of the store and not allowed to come back in
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 08:11 PM
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Isn't that harassment? I'd talk to the manager about it and they might stick around and see what happens. She sounds like an old hag w/ no life.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 08:14 PM
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First, I'm sorry to hear you're having these problems.

Second, this woman makes fun of you for having an honest job and collecting a paycheck (more than can be said of several people), when she is the one wasting time to get her jollies by trying to belittle someone. It may not offer you much comfort, but she truly sounds like a worthless, petty ***** and I'm sure karma will come her way.

I would not let her make you call in sick. She's nothing. Just roll your eyes and have a laugh if you see her and go with the flow. Treat it as a big joke, because she obviously IS a joke.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 08:21 PM
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You are obviously a good worker because you worked at the same place for 4 years. I would definitely talk to the boss about it. Years ago I worked at a store by myself. A female customer came in and called me cruel names and threatened me (said she was going to come back and kick my a**!). I was in tears and called my boss about it. Immediately he called her up (we knew who she was) and banned her from the store. After that, there were times when I was alone and it was so scary. I was even afraid I would bump into her somewhere. A good boss (or whoever usually takes care of that sort of thing) shouldn't allow that to go on. You deserve to be comfortable and happy in your workplace. It is your right!
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 08:30 PM
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Hello MBS,

I'm really sorry you're going through this. I've had a similar experience actually. I've worked retail in a flower shop and had one particular customer come in occasionally who I couldn't deal with. I found her to be scary, rude, obnoxious, pushy, and completely unrelenting. She would complain about things, and then interrupt me, then tell why she thought I was having trouble answering her questions. She was a truly horrid person. I worked in a small shop so unfortunately I couldn't just ask someone else to deal with her because most of the time I was the only one behind cash. My coping strategy with her was to try to 'shut down' emotionally from her - not to react to her bs and to just carry out the transaction as unemotionally and quickly as possible - to become 'robotic' almost. It's easier said than done, for sure. But honestly, people like these have issues that are major - you have to know in your heart and in your head that it's really NOT YOU. It's them.

Your Lady Satan sounds particularly hellish. She asked you why you were shaking and laughed? That's ridiculous and to me, signifies an abusive/sadistic personality - she knows how to push your buttons and likes the fact that she affects you. That's probably why she keeps coming back.

The bottom line is that although SHE has the problem that is causing this situation - it is ultimately up to you how you choose to deal with your feelings towards this situation. For me it helped to know that she is the one being inappropriate - and you don't need to beat yourself up over this. It's not your fault. You are handling this to the best of your capabilities. Try not to give up.

Can you tell a supervisor that you've felt disrespected by this customer? Can you ask someone else to help her when she comes in, instead of you? I think if you tell people that she has made you feel uncomfortable and has insulted you, they might know how to better handle the situation. If you have to deal with her, I suggest you try to 'detach' emotionally and not respond to her BS at all. She will still give you attitude, but at least you will be more in control of yourself.

She doesn't realize she's having a huge negative impact on my life right now. After years of getting better, I find myself back to square one again. In the last few weeks I've fallen into a deep state of depression over this.
Don't give this situation the power to make you feel as though you have fallen back to 'square one' again. You haven't. You're just interpreting the situation as negatively as possible and feeling down about it. Try doing some thought records about this. Try to see this from a realistic perspective.

She only holds power over you if you give her that power.

Good luck! and I hope you feel better soon!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 09:04 PM
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i didn't read any other replies, but it's almost like stalking and harassment, i would take a picture of her on your cell or maybe even film what she's saying and give the info to the police soo they can get a restraining order... lol i dunno maybe that's a little much but if she really just comes in to make fun of you then she should not be allowed to enter that store anymore. it's causing you soo much stress and making you miserable, this can't just go on.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 10:50 PM
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This was all good advice. It would help if another co-worker or two is a witness to her unreasonableness to you if they did not experience it themselves. Tell your supervisor, with the others hopefully, and all the things you have done to serve and placate her. She is interfering with your ability to do your job by monopolizing your time without due cause or reason. She needs to be put in her place and banned from the store.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2009, 11:22 PM
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Retail jobs are great for people like us because it forces us to face our fears every day. I also work in retail so I can relate. You are always going to come across these kinds of customers. Rude people who are never satisfied and take pleasure in other peoples discomfort. The problem is that there is nothing you can do that won't get you into trouble or get you fired. Confronting this person will probably just make it worse. Talk to your is their responsibility to handle these kinds of things. If you're like me then you don't get paid enough to put up with that kind of ****. Try not to let this get you down. Don't give her the power to destroy all you've worked so hard to build.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2009, 12:35 AM
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Want us to come to your store and take care of her?

I'd follow everyone else's advice and talk to your boss/supervisor. There's no way this woman should be getting away with what she's doing. Have you talked to your co-workers about it, or have they mentioned it? They shouldn't be standing around and just watching this happen.

If you run into this lady outside of work, try to keep calm, but remember it's not a work situation so you can maybe say a few of the things that are on your mind Wouldn't go too far, but maybe just tell her to back off and get a life.

Good luck, keep us posted!

"My anxieties have anxieties." - Charlie Brown

"I live in my own little world. But it's ok...they know me here." - unknown
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