“You did the right thing.” I told her as she wiped her tears away. I would have been crying too if a customer had tried pulling that same act on me. Screaming. Pounding the counter. Threats. Typical things that customers usually say when upset, only louder and more physically displayed emotions. Stressing out one of our newer Selling Supervisors to the point of breaking down. She was afraid. Who wouldn’t be? Everyone was uncomfortable. That behavior was unacceptable and violent.
The customer had a discrepancy. Her payment toward her credit card debt had been charged twice. This happens from time to time. Pretty frequently actually. So when we called the credit card company, like any person with a credit card should know, they said she had to file a discrepancy with them and it would be taken care of. She wasn’t satisfied with that. Our store name was on the card so it had to be our fault. She didn’t even pay the bill at our store. She paid it by mail. No error was made in-store. No record of the double charge from us.
Of course, this customer didn’t care. She wanted her money back right away. So while I was shuffling our sobbing selling supervisors away from the monstrosity of a customer, my store manager was risking her job by taking money out of the register drawer and handing it to the childish and sad excuse of a human being. One who used her emotions and fists like a gun to an associates head, or at least, that’s how I imagined it since that’s how we all seemed to be reacting. Customers and associates dead silent. Afraid to speak up. Afraid to even breath lest they become the object of her terror.
Handing the customer money, my store manager tried to calm her and smooth things over. I felt a moment of panic as I unlocked the office and ushered our shaken selling supervisor into its safety. That transaction was risky for both of them, because without information as to where that money was headed in the register, and no record of the double charge to her card on our end, it could be seen as the customer stealing and my manager allowing it.
Basically a whole lot of illegal happening.
Not that the customer cared. She got her way. She just learned that yelling and and pounding her fists would give her money from an institution which owes her nothing. People could get fired for catering to her unacceptable behavior, and she wouldn’t even bat an eye. She could have charges pressed against her if the company wanted. But who would care out of the millions that company made a day? What’s a little over a hundred in comparison to millions? Very small.
I thought of a Needtobreathe lyric as I sat our SS down:
“Beg the book to turn the page/ cuz I get stuck where the villains get away/ Somewhere in this wretched tale/ there must be a time where the victim gets his way/…just…one…time…”
No matter. I tried to comfort my crying comrade. “You tried to do the right thing.”
She sobbed in response “What does it matter,doing the right thing when it’s followed by the wrong thing and recognized as commendable?”
I merely looked at her with pain in my eyes. I knew that question well. It struck my heart and broke it. It’s such a deep part of human nature…at its core the question: Where is justice when corruption seems like justice?
I didn’t have the answers. I’m not God. I don’t know reasons. It felt hopeless and nothing was fair. All I managed to say was “It doesn’t matter what anyone else did. You tried to do the right thing. Don’t ever stop. You did well.”
Let them suffer their own foolishness. I whispered within myself, as the flames of justice smoldered to damp ash in my broken heart.