Communication Skills/Rude or Angry Customers


Hello. I work part time at a grocery store and deal with a lot of random customers through the day. Some are beyond rude, not only to me but to everyone they come across. For example, one day a lady came to my line and handed me her reusable bags to put the groceries in. As I start to bag she stops me saying "You're not normally a sacker are you? Because you need some schooling! This is terrible!" I say nothing, take the food out and start again changing the way I do it. I said nothing more to her. She then gets an attitude with the checker and snatches the receipt out of her hand. How do I handle these types of people? Another time, a woman came up and bought wine and some beer. The cashier asked for her identification because judging by looks we couldn't tell her age and company policy requires us to card anyone under 40. She refused to show I'd and called us both idiots for not seeing she was over 21. What to do?

Try these:

1]  draft a personal Bill of Rights like this example:

2]  Learn how to use empathic listening - it often defuses rude people:

3]  Choose from these examples to fit your situation:

4] Learn how to assert your feelings, needs, and boundaries respectfully using "I-messages"

Overall, study this: You don't have to be a victim!

- Pete

Communication Skills

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about how to significantly improve your thinking and communication effectiveness, and your relations with adults and kids. I cannot answer legal, medical, grammar, punctuation, spelling, or spiritual questions.


I have studied and taught communication and relationship skills for 40 years, and have been a professional family-systems therapist (MSW) since 1981.


I am a past Board member of (a) a large suburban community mental-health center and (b) the Stepfamily Association of America, and I am a current member of the National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council

I have published 6 books, including one on communication skills: Satisfactions ( 2nd ed., 2010); and over 150 articles in the nonprofit educational Website Break the Cycle! -

I have also published articles for and over 150 educational YouTube videos.

BSME, Stanford University, 1959 MSW, George Williams College 1981 Clinical internship U. of Illinois Institute for Juvenile Reasearch (IJR) 1981 Over 100 post-grad courses on a wide range of human-relationship topics

Past/Present Clients
over 1,000 self-referred Midwestern-U.S. adults, kids, couples, and families

©2017 All rights reserved.