By Jasmine Nguyen, Co-Lifestyle Editor
Thanksgiving is only a week away, and while some are worried about what side dishes to prepare or how to keep your mouth shut around your relatives, many stores have already planted the holiday shopping spree tree that will grow out of control into long lines, irritated shoppers and limited edition peppermint candles. From November to December, it’s a hectic time for consumers but even more so for the workers at stores and restaurants. Stress runs high during the season and many workers and shoppers come into conflict that holiday cheer can’t fix.
According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 43 percent of full-time undergraduate students are employed and 81 percent of part-time college students are employed, so many students have to deal with difficult customers while juggling school work.
Difficult shoppers have become sort of a “meme” among the younger generation. Many fellow college students who work have talked about dealing with “Karens” at work. Now, if you don’t know what Karens are, all you have to know is they’re usually entitled, and will ask to speak to your manager with a drop of the hat. A Karen doesn’t have to be a woman, any customer that comes in with a sense of superiority can fall under the category.
Cecilia Madrigal, a worker at Big 5 Sporting Goods, is constantly undermined by customers because she’s a woman and many don’t trust her to know her way around the store.
“One time, a guy who I was helping said can you get me a guy to help me, so I can talk to someone who knows about knives,” Madrigal said.
Adri Guzman, a worker at Macy’s, has customers who demand to speak to her manager even when she explains the company’s return policy. There was an instance, where a customer wanted to return an item without her receipt and Guzman tried to explain the policy to her but she wouldn’t listen and called for the manager. Guzman’s manager simply explained that an item couldn’t be returned and the customer tried to convince the manager that Guzman was lying to her beforehand and never told her a word of it.
“The item was returned because the customer eventually found out the receipt in her purse, but refused to be serviced by me,” Guzman said, “but the customers said I gave her a hard time and gave her the worst customer service that she had ever received from the store.”
Madrigal has had many customers berate her to change store prices or take old coupons when she has no control over those things.
“A lot of time, I feel annoyed or angry because they think they can treat someone any way they want because I can’t say anything to them or my job is at risk,” Madrigal said.
It’s hard to deal with entitled customers, especially during the Holiday season. It’s a stressful time that has workers feeling trapped because they have to keep a professional facade.
So if you know a Karen, or if you’re a Karen yourself, think about these words.