Anonymous said to realsocialskills:
Yesterday I saw a man being very angry with a cashier while I was standing in line. She was obviously upset and nothing she told him would calm him down, even though she wasn’t a manager or anything. I wasn’t sure if I should say anything to him to help her or if that would make the situation worse. What are you supposed to do when you see someone being rude to an employee?
I’m not sure whether there are effective things you can do to directly intervene in order to defuse the situation. (Do any of you? If so, please comment.)
There are a couple of things you can do afterwards, though.
You can be nice to the cashier afterwards. Like, you can wait until he goes away and say “Wow, what an asshole.” or “That guy was really mean. I’m sorry you had to put up with that.” Being reassured that other people saw what happened, and that it wasn’t their fault someone was horrible to them, can help a lot. It’s hard for most people not to blame themselves when others berate them.
Another thing you can do is be a witness. Mean customers often decide to complain to managers and say that the employee mistreated them. Managers sometimes believe mean customers over employees. This can get people fired. If a mean customer is lying in a way that might hurt an employee, you can contradict them and tell the truth. That can protect them from being punished for a lie.
Anyone else want to weigh in? People who work as cashiers or other customer service roles - is there anything bystanders have done to protect you from mean customers that’s worked? What’s backfired? People who’ve intervened - what worked? What didn’t?