Customer service workers speak out against disrespect


Faith Casey, Editor

Employees are speaking out against rude customer behavior and exposing said customers on various social media platforms. Over recent years, viral videos of yelling customers have circulated the internet.

Usually, these employees work in fast food or retail, but all types of service workers are speaking out. This epidemic of rude behavior is believed to have been worsened by COVID-19. 

Controversial mandates and shifts in the political atmosphere over the pandemic are thought to have caused impatience and mistrust among citizens. These feelings may be what’s driving these customer interactions. 

Students at Valley have experienced their fair share of interesting customer encounters. Senior Rin Northedge works at the Starbucks in Purcellville.

“A lot of people are in a rush and uncaffeinated,” Northedge said. “One time I had a customer try to steal food from behind the counter.” 

Northedge finds themself avoiding any extreme situations with customers, most likely due to their de-escalation training all Starbucks baristas receive. 

“I usually find myself apologizing, explaining the situation, and then politely asking for patience,” Northedge said. 

Despite Northedge never being insulted or yelled at, lack of understanding from customers can still be difficult.

“I think men tend to be less sympathetic even after explaining the situation, but there’s a wide range of rude customers,” Northedge said. 

Sophomore Parker Price works kitchen staff at a winery, and she too has faced irate customers.

“I’ve had an extremely rude customer bombard me with disgusted comments, directing them at me because she was drunk,” Price said. “Whether you are drunk or not, it is not alright.”

Northedge tries to be understanding of customers, realizing they may have had a bad day or struggle to handle emotions. Even considering this, Northedge believes disrespectful behavior is not warranted. 

“They should be more conscious about taking it out on others, particularly service workers who face the brunt of it,” Northedge said. 

On an Instagram poll, students shared their experiences with rude customers at their part-time jobs. 

Junior Nathaniel Hertzberg says customers harassed cashier workers and used drugs in the restrooms. Senior Desiree Wilson claims one guy started cussing at the workers over a dollar. 

Entitlement is something workers claim to commonly experience from customers. Parker Price feels this is an unfortunate part of being a service worker.

“When you work in the social service industry, you have to deal with those who feel they are better than you,” Parker Price said. 

Employees across the country believe in better treatment from customers. Price feels as though no matter the circumstances, workers should be treated like people. 

“These people are just trying to get through the day and earn money,” Price said. “Just respect them and leave them alone.”