My Takes

It's Just My Take

Sears Employee Pushed Too Far

Sears Mall Entrance

Sears Mall Entrance (Photo credit: JeepersMedia)

Last week in Winnipeg, a heated confrontation between a Sears Clerk and an unruly customer took a turn for the worse when a racial comment was uttered by the clerk.  It was in response  to the clerk’s mental acuity being challenged but that didn’t matter.  The customer asked the clerk what Domo, (gas station) he came from and the clerk unwittingly and in violation of all customer service rules, engaged the customer in an argument.  “Let me guess, you came off the boat?” Was his response.

To be quite honest, and in my opinion, it was not a bad comeback for one-uppancy.  It was
designed to hurt, belittle and embarrass the customer in front of the
shoppers and employees.  Foolish?
Definitely.  There’s no place for racist comments.  I doubt that the
clerk himself was a racist.  He reacted to the customer’s punch with a wicked
counterpunch.  A punch that unfortunately was heard and felt around the
world because of its racial undertones.

In any argument, making racial comments and gay slurs are never taken
lightly.  Given the history of hate crimes against these groups.  Because of this, one must be
sensitive and level-headed.  Some of us have thinner skins than others. We bristle at the slightest negative comment directed against us.  We also say the first thing that comes to us in trying to defend the verbal personal assault.  Sometimes it is not from the heart but unfortunately, it falls in the category of the things we cannot take back.  I have done it and I’m sure you have too.  It really doesn’t mean we are bad people, homophobic or racist, just people who were pushed in a corner and reacted instinctively. Lashing out blindly, using whatever we could find.

The clerk was fired soon after.  Do I think he should have been? I don’t.  He should have been suspended.  Cops get suspended for doing worse things.  With pay to boot!  The clerk should have been made to attend classes on how to deal with situations like these. Unfortunately, Sears employees are not provided training in customer service. Maybe spend a day volunteering in the soup kitchen would be helpful too.   The customer is not a victim.  His behavior doesn’t warrant him being treated like a hero.  He was belligerent, forceful and rude. He was not a saint.  He should have been escorted out before his behavior cost someone their job.  The clerk is the victim.  But the victim of his own doing.

Looking at the video, you can see other Sears employees standing close by without intervening.  Why wasn’t security notified at the first sign of unacceptable behavior on the customer’s part?  Why didn’t the employee back away from the situation, as per protocol, and alert his manager?

I once got a friend, who was white, so mad at me that she uttered the dreaded ‘N’ word in anger.  It never crossed my mind that she was racist.  I just thought that I must have really pissed her off.  Did I just step off the boat?  Was that your best shot?  Well to be honest, I don’t like being on boats so I took the plane and I got off that plane 26 years ago.

Just my take.

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6 thoughts on “Sears Employee Pushed Too Far

  1. Great post! We are all guilty of saying things we shouldn’t and we have to be careful with our words. No, I don’t think the clerk should have been fired for his unkind words. I agree with you that the clerk should have suspended and been re-trained and required to do some volunteer work. Society today is too quick to punish instead of helping people learn from their mistakes.

    In my opinion, the customer was the one responsible for the situation. When asked to remove his son from the lawnmower, he had no right to make a rude comment to the clerk. People naturally want to defend themselves and don’t always think before they speak. The clerk was wrong in how he responded and I’m sure he instantly realized it. Once our words are released, we can’t retrieve them.

    The customer probably went home laughing about the situation. He wasn’t defending his rights, he was being a bully. His anger got the clerk fired and he got away scot-free ready to start another situation at another time. What a great role model he was for his child. He just taught his child to be angry, inconsiderate, unloving, uncompassionate and unforgiving.

  2. Jeanne Balleny on said:

    As a person who has worked in Customer Service for many years, from pizza joints to the casinos, I feel it takes a very special kind of person to do this job!! Many times I have had to bit my tongue trying not to get caught up in this kind of situation. As I am sure that everyone who works in CS has. It worries me that major companies do not send their employees on training. A one day course on CS probably would have saved this girl her job. As for the gentleman, and I use the term loosely, his day will come.

  3. Apparently the bystander who posted the video said the worker was in the wrong when he told the costumer to get “his f@&&king kid off the lawn mower”. If the worker had used a different tone with the customer… I’m sure it wouldn’t of escalated to this.

    • Even with the unprofessionalism shown by the clerk, I sort of doubt that he walked up to a guy with his kid sitting on a mower and said that. There’s more to it than meets the eye but regardless of the missing pieces, both parties got carried away in the moment. Thanks for commenting, Jen!

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