The customer is not always right, especially when their demands go above and beyond store products. There is a fine, definite line between employee property and customers' needs. In this story, the customer crossed that boundary and this is what happened:

Source can be found at the end of the article.

Bit of background: My store isn't a typical ice cream place. We don't actually scoop the ice cream for you, nor is it self-serve. The ice cream (or custard, or yogurt, or whatever) actually starts out in liquid form, then we freeze it into a solid using liquid nitrogen. It's a really cool process, and most customers (especially children) love it.

Our story takes place earlier today. It was my first day back from a vacation visiting my brother in a different state. Because he lives very far away, and is much older than me, we don't get to see each other much. Anyway, while I was visiting him, he bought me a very pretty bracelet shaped like a butterfly (important). I decided to wear that bracelet to work today.

The day started out normal enough. Most of the customers were nice and easy-going, most of the children that came in were well-behaved (you'd be amazed how many kids treat the store like it's a playground). I thought the day was going well...until this lady came in.

We'll call her She-Devil (SD) and her two year old daughter Spoiled Girl (SG).

I greet SD and go up to the counter to take her order.

Me: Good afternoon ma'am, have you been here before?

SD: Yes.

Me: Okay, great! Do you know what I can get for you and your daughter?

SD: (rather curtly) We haven't decided, you don't need to pester me.

So that's how it's gonna be? Fine.

Me: (putting on the retail smile we all know and love) Of course, take your time. Let me know when you're ready to order.

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About five minutes later, SD calls me over.

SD: Hello! Excuse me! I'm ready to order now.

Me: Yes ma'am, what would you like?

SD: You know, it's really ridiculous that I had to wait five minutes for you to take my damn ice cream order.


Me: Yes ma'am, I apologize for the wait. I just wanted to ensure that you had enough time to decide. What would you like today?

SD: I don't want anything, you've ruined my appetite. (Seriously?!?) My daughter, though, wants [flavor] with [topping].

Me: Certainly ma'am, what size would you like?

SD: UGH, you mean I have to tell you the size? You don't just know?!?

This went on for a few minutes, until SD finally told me the necessary details for her order. I mixed the liquid together, and proceeded to start freezing it. As I began to freeze it, SG caught sight of my bracelet.

SG: Mommy! Mommy! A butterfly! I want it.

SD: (to me) Where did you get that bracelet?

I explain to her that my brother gave it to me as a gift, and we had purchased from a flea market in his state.

SD: Well, my daughter really likes it, and I certainly can't go to [state] to buy one. (Even if you did go, it's one of a many things from flea markets.) Would you give it to her?

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Me: (stunned) Uh...I'm sorry ma'am, this bracelet holds a lot of significance for me. It was given to me by my brother, and I don't see him very often--

SD: Yes, yes, I don't care about that. Well, if you're too selfish to give it to her, (what?) at least let her wear it for a bit. I'm the customer, you're required to do what I want. First of all, I've seen the way your child is acting in the store. She's climbing all over the tables, knocking stuff over, behaving like a monkey on speed. (I don't blame the kid for doing this, as she doesn't know better; I blame the mother for not supervising her child in a public place).

I'm willing to bet that she would break it ten seconds after I give it to her. Second, it's my property. I can give (or refuse to give) it to whomever I please. Third, and perhaps most importantly, as I already explained to her, the bracelet holds a lot of sentimental value for me. I would be very upset if she broke it, lost it, refused to give it back, etc.

Me: I'm sorry, ma'am, but I will not be giving her my bracelet.

SG begins to bawl. SD leans across the counter, nearly spitting in my face.

SD: WHY NOT?!?!?!

SG: Mommy she doesn't know how to share!

SD: You've made my child cry, you stupid b**ch! I DEMAND TO SEE YOUR MANAGER!

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Sigh. I go to the back to fetch my manager (M), who is a really cool lady. She's just a few years older than me, and she's someone that will have your back. I try to explain to her what happened, but I'm really upset (I've never had a customer yell at me before). She tells me she will handle it, and gets me a drink of water. She heads out to confront the She-Devil. Both she and SD were talking loudly, so I was able to overhear their conversation:

M: Good afternoon, ma'am. I see you've had a problem with my employee?


M: I see. And this is because she refused to give your daughter her bracelet, is that correct?

SD: Yes. WHAT are you going to do about it?!?!

M: Nothing.

SD: Excuse me?!

M: You heard me. The jewelry is her property, and she has the right to refuse to give it to your daughter. I won't tolerate abuse of my staff. Please pay for your ice cream and leave.

I cracked the door open, and SD's face was priceless. She speechlessly paid for her ice cream and left with her bratty child in tow.

All that over a $10 bracelet...Wow.


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