When Culture Works Against a Customer

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There is a very humorous story of an employee who not only misplaced his cell phone once, but twice within the same day. True to form, he was able to continue his business trip.*  His story relates how he had the courage to recognize  – because of his own actions – his buttons were pushed and what he was capable of – it may be called:

Unresolved anger, rushing without focus, lack of self-management or a learning experience to depend on someone who is much younger than you are.

Yesterday on my way home, I stopped at the grocery store and found myself in a somewhat similar situation – a reversal of the above-story. The small electronic scanner, at the check-out counter failed.   After scanning my card, the screen did not link to the next page.   The moment I pressed the screen, it reverted to the welcome screen.  After at least five attempts, the Check-out Clerk announced, “She doesn’t know what she’s doing, call a Supervisor.”  She refused to hear how I explained the screen was malfunctioning.

The Supervisor arrived, attempted a fix, but the electronic scanner continued to fail. The Supervisor worked earnestly, while the Check-out Clerk mumbled for all to hear,  “She still doesn’t know what she’s doing.”   Finally, I asked if there was an ATM machine in the store.  I was told there was and had no trouble getting cash to pay for my groceries – which is what I attempted to do at the exit counter.  When I arrived back at the exit counter, both the Supervisor and the Bagger had their heads down in apology, while the Check-out Clerk, did not.  She only displayed an indignant face.

One definition of Culture in a workplace is, “It’s how we do things around here.”    I will probably visit this store again because there were other employees who had a friendly service attitude. Outbursts do occur, for a variety of reasons.   It’s How You Choose Who You Want to be Known As in the situation that matters to those around you and what you learned about yourself.   Have a great week in your career!

“Jo Ann” M. Radja, Career Management Coach and Change Agent

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* http://fortune.com/tag/stanley-bing .   “A Tale of Terror in which my true status in the universe is revealed to me.” September 22, 2014 print edition of Fortune Magazine.

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