Sunday, July 6, 2014

How do you deal with difficult people?

So there is a cashier at Target that I have a hard time with. And what makes it even harder is that I can't seem to get it out of my mind!

This has been going on for the years that I shopped at Target. Now that we moved you would think that it's not such an issue anymore. Except that our bank is still in Chanhassen, which is conveniently right next to a Target. The Target out here is about 15 minutes away, so it only makes sense to shop at the Chaska Target before we go home.

Anyway, the things she has done is never anything enough to complain about to her manager. It simply is her attitude about us--she obviously doesn't like my kids. I don't know if it's because there's so many of them or if it's just them, but she is rude and snippy to them every time we go.

I would consider that maybe she just doesn't like kids in general. (I used to be that sort of person. I liked them just fine but didn't know how to talk to them.) But she would go from yelling at my kids for doing something very minor, swatting their hands away from our merchandise on the counter, to being very sweet and friendly to the family ahead of us with children.

She especially doesn't like Luke. After having yelled at him again (she yells at him every time she sees him) she told him (out of habit) to have a nice day. He said, "Whatever." I didn't even correct him on that one. I couldn't blame him for not liking her with the way she treats him.

There was one time we shopped and Dennis was with us (a rare family shopping trip). I think that was the day we bought the kitchen island. She pressured us about opening a Target credit card and when we declined, she went from pressuring us to badgering us. She seemed almost offended, arguing with us about why it would be wise to open the card and why she couldn't understand why we wouldn't. Even Dennis was annoyed, though he hid it better than I did. I was ready to bite her head off at this point. I knew she was going to give us a problem, and she did.

I should probably add in case you think I'm a bad mother, just letting someone yell at my kids all the time, that when I say "yells", I don't mean that she raises her voice. I mean that she has a certain irritated tone and a stern command. It still makes you feel like you're being yelled at, rebuked, so that's why I use the word yell. There have been a few times I have stepped in to explain my kids but for the most part, I just try to make the kids be quiet around her.  I don't want them to get in any trouble with her and I am trying (very hard) to be a good example of how to deal with difficult people.

For the most part, we just avoid her register, and for the most part, I'm successful. I rather stand in a long line over having to deal with her--that is how hard she makes it. I have gone to her a few times when I don't have my kids around, and she is decent, though not friendly, but at least doesn't make me feel uncomfortable. There have been a few times though when the manager points me to her register when the lines are long. So I obediently go along, but after yesterday's encounter with her (nothing big, just the usual unfriendliness,) I think I will let someone else go instead of me. Or maybe that would be a good time to explain to the manager why I don't want to go to her register.

So I guess what it all boils down to is that it bothers me that she doesn't like my kids. I'm not sure if I'm on an ego-trip and feeling that everyone should like my kids, or feeling sensitive because it's very difficult to keep my kids behaved enough to everyone's expectations. She obviously does like kids, she just doesn't like my kids.

So I don't feel like I can really complain to the manager about her. What should be my chief complaint? That she doesn't like us, or that she is just not friendly and bothers not to talk to us, except to yell at us?

So my question to you is, how do you deal with difficult people? The type of people who don't do enough to complain about them, but just enough to make you feel uncomfortable?

I've been thinking a lot about St. Therese and the difficult nun she had to deal with. It was an older nun, who could be very picky and demanding to those who cared for her. No one wanted to deal with her (not even in a convent!) so Therese either volunteered or was assigned (can't remember which) to help her. Either way, she always made an effort to treat her like she would treat Jesus. The nun was far from grateful and always complained about Therese or to her own face about her. Yet in the end, Therese had her victory: one day the nun asked her, "can you tell me, Sister, what it is about me that attracts you so? For every time I see you, you have the most delightful smile." Therese had said that it was Jesus in her soul that attracted to her. It was the opportunity to make acts of love.

So though I am FAR from copying Therese's acts of love (I can't even talk to this woman anymore), I am trying hard to teach my kids that sometimes just ignoring someone is best. But it sure is hard.

Today we will be going back to the store to get a picnic table for the balcony, which is why this is on my mind I guess. I have been wanting patio furniture forever, and although a picnic table isn't exactly what I had in mind initially, it will be perfect for the kids and parties. Not only that, but they're 50% off right now and I can actually afford it! (Does anyone else think patio furniture is over-priced??)

So I'm looking forward to the getting the table, but dreading seeing this cashier again, though you can bet we will be avoiding her line.

Boy, St. Therese would just be all over this one...


  1. Well, that sure makes shopping unpleasant at that Target. I would avoid her register at all costs. Your kids certainly don't need to go through that. If the manager points you toward her line, I would certainly tell him , No Thanks, and explain exactly why you don't want to go through her line. Doesn't matter that she is nice to other kids, she shouldn't be treating ANY of her customers that way. Being rude to any customer in a retail environment is a no, no and you certainly have every right to complain that you aren't being treated correctly.

  2. I'm no St. Therese either. I try to avoid difficult people as much as possible, or get up my nerve and have some kind of discussion in which I practice being assertive and calm. Or kill them with kindness. I would just avoid her. I think it's a good plan that if she opens a new register to let another customer get there fast. I know it's easier to think of these strategies when you aren't in the moment.

  3. She also has Parkinsins (sp?) Not that this makes it ok to act in this way or anything but it does make the situation awkward. At least for me it does. If she had done something really out of line, I would complain regardless. But the little petty things she does and the way she acts doesn't feel worth it. Avoiding her is I guess the only way I can go. Anyway, life goes on! I don't know why I let it bother me so much.