Sunday, August 5, 2012

How to handle "Jerk Customers"

It doesn't matter whether you are schooled in business, or in hospitality.

The first rule they teach you is......


Do they teach you this sometimes?

Most of the times?

Nope, "always" is the way it has been taught in the old school.



Yesterday, while you were doing something of great importance, Klecko grabbed Sue McGleno and visiting Granddaughter M-Rose and headed up to the park.

The park isn't a public one.

It's actually more of a playground that sits behind the Catholic school.

This place has one of those jungle gyms thats the size of a small mountain, and a swing set.

If I remember right, it's about 6ish or 7:15 p.m.

The sun is out, and fittingly the sky is really bright with enormous clouds.

It looked like one of those religious post cards that you'd find in a Bible Belt gas station.

We've entered August now, so I guess technically we are into the dog days right?

Nobody else is at the park.

First I look at the 3 year old.......

Then I looked at the young girl I married, and today......she's a grandma.


If there is 2 things I've learned about grandmothers, one would be that I'll never be able to bake the things they baked as good as them.

Technically, I can.....

But in practicality, you're just never going to see it that way.

Your mind needs you to believe that your Grannies P-Nut Butter Cookies are 10 times better than mine, and ya know what?

I don't blame you.

That cookie trapped in your memory is a sanctuary from all the ridiculous crap you'll have to put up with at work today, or the routine-routine-routine you will have to continue to experience when you get home from work tonight.

Cook Dinner -

Walk Dogs -

Pay Bills -

Go to the Gym -

Do the Laundry -

The other thing I've learned about grandmothers is, granddaughters worship them.

Many times more than their own mothers (within reason).

As I get older, I am becoming sensitive to how powerful the bond between grandmothers and  grandchildren.

Its sacred.......and a little spooky if you ask me.

So now that we have this entire playground to ourselves......

and now that I realize I am only going to get about 13% of the attention,

Klecko sat on the swing set and hung like a monkey while the tandem of "Power Chicks" continued climbing a plastic wall that I'm guessing was supposed to replicate the face of a cliff, and then they would glide down a long-twisty slide.

They did this over, and over, and over, and over.......

If you've ever spent the evening with a 3 year old, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

So while the girls were engaged, I just swung.

The sun blasted the west side of the school.

It's a 2 story brick school, and it was kinda cool because the first level was shaded with a shadow that cut off perfectly between the 2 flloors.

The contrast was spectacular.

The girls weren't talking that much, so it became easy for Klecko to squint into the bright reflection of the upper windows let his mind drift back decades.

Sometimes if you stare at an empty building long enough, and you keep your body still and your mouth shut....

You see things.

Some might say ghosts, but I'm not certain I believe in them.

But I do think there is something about energy, good and bad that remains on certain locations.

But you have to look for it, and you have to focus.

I wish I could tell you what I saw last night, but if I used words.... I would just be selling the energy short.

But trust was amazing.

So then as I began to drift back into the present. The first thing I began to think about was work.

I had just spent an entire day setting up and participating in our monthly Retail sale which is open to the public.

At one point during our sale, a woman who was accompanied by family member became belligerent and even a little hostile.

I did my best to extinguish whatever was upsetting this woman, but after several attempts, it was obvious she was going to remain difficult.

So let's go back to the golden rule of....THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

What would you do if a man or woman stood amongst your wares projecting an additude of anger?

Do you let it run it's course?

As a Pollack, it's not in my DNA to work like that.

I told the woman if she was going to continue being disruptive, I would have to escort her off the property.

With a sense of entitlement she snapped backed.......

"Fine, I won't buy your baked stuff then."

"Yes you will." I said, "Or otherwise you just wasted a trip, and you'll look silly. Neither of us want that for you."

The woman set down her bag.....

Walked out the door.......

Leaving her family bewildered,

And thats when it happened......

A small pocket of customers applauded for not letting that woman ruin their experience.

Customers are getting smarter, actually they are full fledged - wise.

Consumers don't hate the proprietors like they used to.

Most people realize these days that small business isn't out to dupe them.

In some respects I think customers have come full circle and realize that a sharp business owner can also protect them from the weirdo's that inhabit every concept.

A great deal of my Retail client base don't just support my company.....

They support me, and the team of people I work with.

I gotta say that's a humbling feeling.

So now the silence is broken.....

Sue McGleno says "One 3 more rides down the slide."

And as baby M-rose fought on this, I just not only thought.....but actually felt like a Grandfather......

The plan to shut down was timely since a bunch of 17 year old's were drifting into the adjoining picnic area.

As they pulled out their cigarettes and pledged their love (in whatever fashion today's youth do), I just plopped the kid onto her Big Wheel and gave her a shove.

My day was over.


  1. Klecko - I just love reading your blogs. You have a lot of soul in them words!

  2. Thanks for sharing. I know how ya feel at times. I just became a great uncle in May and am thrilled to be able to be around when she gets older. Was good to finally meet you on Saturday if only for the few seconds of time. Thanks for the Retail Day I will try and make it the next time mich earlier.