Shopping Day | Dealing with Rude Customers

If you follow me on twitter, you surely saw my tweets on this yesterday. I hesitated sharing this here, but since I really try to *keep it real YO* I am giving you a glimpse into this bad interaction.

Yes, I said rude CUSTOMERS! This was a tough one and I addressed someone about their rude attitude during my shopping trip. The thing that really got me is that most people always voice their disdain over rude employees. Actually, this cashier wasn't the friendliest but I felt she sensed the judgment the customers were throwing at me.

Yesterday during a trip to Kmart for the Super Double Coupons, I had my first ever rude customer experience. To say I was livid is truly an understatement! Their rude behavior stemmed from me using coupons and putting something back after it had been on my order. These customers obviously lived through the Depression so I can honestly say I was surprised I got the attitude from them. Hello!! – this recession IS my depression.

Let me clarify, whenever I am in a checkout line, I always show fellow customers the courtesy of a warning, if you will. I know I may take a few minutes longer because of the coupons being scanned. I simply do this to forewarn them so I don't get an annoyed reaction. If I do get a negative smirk, at least I can tell them they were warned – good deed of the day and all. Honestly, when they see how much I have saved they are usually so flabbergasted they hold me up post-checkout to get tips :)

This experience was different. I didn't have tons of coupons, just one actually.

When I felt the *sighs* and rolling of the eyes, I spoke up. I will be honest, my reaction was not as Christ-like as I wish I could say. Obviously, I'm a believer so imitating Christ in all that I do is important. These people just caught me off guard and hit that button that pushed me too far! I think it was their age that threw me for a loop. Usually, the older people *get* that saving money through little ways can help a LOT! I'm akin with the older generation in that way :)

In all that I do, I am all about the underdog. Protecting the little guy.

I hear all of these coupon myths, one being that we can't afford things because we use coupons. We all know that is the farthest thing from the truth. I can afford more because I use coupons. I am deciding where I spend my money, not the stores/manufacturers.

Truthfully, many people are too embarrassed to use coupons because of getting a reaction like I received in this interaction. Some of the reaction came from me putting something back because I changed my mind. They commented (under their breath but I heard it) that I should not have gotten the item. I guess my purchases, or lack thereof, became their business.

I have family members who have HAD to put things back because they didn't have the money. Honestly, many cash-only users will put something back because they have gone over their limits – either way, it doesn't require judgment. And, honestly who has the energy to be that ugly??

So, getting this reaction – and my reaction – was all quite a surprise for me yesterday. I was frazzled, which is very hard to do to me. I was disappointed that people behave this way. But, I came out of it on my knees in prayer and know that my passion is even greater: I want to continue helping people, equipping them with knowledge to be an empowered shopper and good steward of their money!

With that, I'm glad it happened (to me). But, if I ever saw it happening to someone else, I'd probably do the same. I turn into a cougar/momma bear/grizzly when I see, what I perceive, as wrongdoing to anyone. I always say, *God don't like ugly* and that includes my reaction to those *ugly* actions and comments. So, lesson learned for me. I have said I'm not perfect…and I'm thankful for that. But, I can always strive to be a good example.

So, what a day I had! This isn't a bashing of whoever those people were. It's more of an awareness that people still look down on people trying to save money regardless of the need. Boo on them and YEAH for us because we're wicked schmart!

Have you ever had a bad customer experience?

Photo Credit

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on July 08, 2009


  • Barb - July 08, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

    Oh Sweetie! I am sorry that happened to you. I have had it happen many times. I have warned people ahead of time too :) But seriously, I HATE when people look over all my items, it is none of their business what I am buying and how I am paying for it! Keep saving girlie!

    • mommysnacks - July 08, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

      Thanks, Barb! I appreciate the encouragement :)

  • MamaBennie - July 08, 2009 @ 4:45 pm

    I had a similar terrible experience, because I always have coupons…a lot of times I have coupons for just one free item, like right now I have a coupon for a free DiGiorno Flatbreat. Well, I know when I get into that line, that people are going to curse at me, because that is just what people do here. They actually use profanity at other people who use coupons, or write checks. I always turn to them, and say,”I am sorry that I want to save my money on the little things, so I can afford things for my child.” That usually shuts them up, and I know it isn’t right, but I get a small amount of joy making them feel terrible about being nasty.

    • mommysnacks - July 08, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

      MamaBennie – good response to them! I did tell the people that I try to help people save money because this economy is tight. They obviously didn’t care as they chose to speak more under their breath. No respect for me to say it to my face when I’m right in front of them! Crazy people – crazy, crazy!

  • Amy in OHio - July 08, 2009 @ 4:49 pm

    You are right where you need to be in your journey – we lose sight of that from time to time (especially in moments that are less than stellar). God has us right where he wants us at all times. This happened for a reason, and you’ve probably already realized what that reason was, eh?

    Even your reaction was part of his plan.

    • mommysnacks - July 08, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

      Amy, you’re so encouraging and that’s why I luz ya!!! I didn’t even think about my reaction being a part of His plan. It totally is…as you know, I did refrain :)

  • Melissa - July 08, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of your experience- I saw your tweets yesterday and definitely felt your pain! I’ve been there- seems like I always get in the line with the rude people. Not sure- I think it is the heat here :)

    I don’t understand why people get so mad- maybe it is because they wish they were saving all that money. Or maybe they just have bad attitudes. I try to not let it affect me, but I know that is easier said than done. I hope you feel better today. :)

    • mommysnacks - July 08, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

      Melissa, I feel much better today! I took a lot of time to reflect on *why* I let it get to me. It all boils down to people making others feel like less because of what they look like, how they pay for things, their kids, whatever. It’s judgement and wrong doing in general and it definitely got the better of me!

  • Kristin - July 08, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

    I too saw your Tweets yesterday, and I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. Couponing isn’t done often in the part of AL I’m from, so when i take a handful of coupons to Walmart or the grocery store I know I’m in for it with the customers behind me. Unfortunately it’s humiliating for my husband, and I can’t drive, so it causes issues with us often. We have had to change our entire shopping routine and go super early in the a.m. or extremely late at night when the stores aren’t crowded to keep from hearing rude remarks. Too often, the cashiers here aren’t even well-versed in accepting coupons so the check out process takes even longer.

    It’s funny, most of the rude remarks I’ve received have come from people around that age, who are impatient and I think feel they have the right to be as rude as they want to be. It’s sad that we can’t all be Christ-like all the time and encourage people in their journeys to live better. If they only knew how much you helped others through your journey it would have completely blown their mind. If I hadn’t found your blog, I wouldn’t be climbing out of the hole I was in a year ago. For that, I’m grateful to you, Andrea. You go, girl!

    • mommysnacks - July 08, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

      Kristin, I think you hit it when you said *feel they have the right to be as rude as they want to be.* That’s what I got, which irks me even more! I don’t care who you are, no one has a right to be rude!! Sounds like you have to deal with a little bit to coupon too – hey, it’s worth it though right?!?! I’m glad you found my site and the many others that do this!

  • kristen - July 08, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

    I have had similar responses several times. Usually it just rolls off my back. After all I am the one getting $100 in groceries or whatever for about $20. But every now and then I do let it get the better of me. Not my proudest moments, but hey we are all human.

    • mommysnacks - July 08, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

      Kristen, they’re never a proud moment when I let someone set me off! But, you’re right…I did walk out of there paying just $35 for over $70 worth of stuff!

  • shevigirl - July 08, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

    I missed your tweets yesterday…how in world that happened I don’t know! What a terrible experience! I tend to get comments when I have all 3 of my kids in tow and coupons. I consider myself a pretty organized shopper and have everything ready, but kids being kids, well, you know. I actually had a lady at Kroger in Middletown ask me if my kids were always this rowdy. I politely said, “no, they are much worse usually, you caught them on a good day”. Not true of course, but I got a good laugh out of it when we got to the van….(their “rowdiness” consisted of repeatedly begging for M&M’s as most 3 and 4 year olds do)

    I laughed reading this….thanks for being the one to show me how to save my family money!!

  • Someone Being Me - July 08, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

    I’ve had a few cashiers who argued with me about a coupon but seldom do I get any nasty looks from the people behind me. Although honestly I really don’t pay much attention. I am not the least bit embarrassed to use coupons or spend an hour digging through the clearance section. I feel bad for the people paying full price.

  • Paul - July 08, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

    Don’t worry about the idiots that are to shy to use coupons.
    I have always used them and once found a loophole in one stores coupons. I collected many over a month and got over a £100 worth of shopping for free. It took them over 30 minutes to add up the coupons at the check out and I was getting some nasty comments. But they all looked amazed when they realised I did not pay one peny.

  • Marianne - July 08, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

    You know, I’ve talked about this on my blog before, the “couponing stigma” that’s still out there. Experiences like this (or fear of an experience like this) really DO keep people from trying their hand at serious couponing.

    I’m so so sorry that happened to you; there is nothing worse than someone being rude just because they think that breathing air gives them the right to say whatever the heck they think.

    I often let others go in front of me in line just for this reason (usually when I only have one of my three kids with me) and thankfully I have some of the AWESOMEST checkout ladies at my Lebanon Marketplace Kroger who get a kick out of how much I save.

    Gonna have to go back on your tweets to see what happened. Chin up, girlie. We are the wicked schmart shoppers!

  • Jennifer - July 09, 2009 @ 1:13 am

    I had a similar experience on Friday. Two young girls were in line behind me buying wine. They were making rude comments and my stepson heard them. I choose to do my shopping around 9pm in order to avoid the crowds since I know the coupons take extra time. I am not really sure why they chose to get in line behind me with only one item anyways!
    My stepson told me that he thought those girls were being mean because we are trying to save our pennies!
    (He’s 6) He said that maybe I should give them a coupon to use since they make me so happy. LOL through the eyes of a child!!!

  • Joyce - July 09, 2009 @ 9:13 am

    I have had some “mean” folks behind me while using coupons. I usually don’t give a reacion right away. I wait until my cashier gives me my total and then I say, “woohoo! I went from $38 to $8. That’s what I’m talking about.” I then look at the folks making comments, smile and wish them a good day.

  • Kellee - July 09, 2009 @ 9:45 am

    Pay those people no attention! You are saving money and providing for your family! If you ask me, those rude people don’t understand how much you can actually save by using coupons! Don’t feel bad about *acting ugly* either! I think God understood how you felt!

  • cathi carpenter - July 09, 2009 @ 10:05 am

    I know what you mean… I was in line on July 4th…and I chalked it up to it being the holiday and everyone rushing about…but there was like NO ONE in my Super Target at 8am…and there was NO ONE in my line. I had a few transactions…but NOTHING major…and there’s this guy sighing …rolling eyes….drumming fingers…I just looked at him…square in the eye and said….”I’m sorry this is a hassle for you….” He looked genuinely STARTLED…like he didn’t think I’d SEE how he was behaving. Then I looked down at his purchase….A case of beer. And did my very best “Mother-Theresa-Catholic-Nun” look and just shook my head…..Now don’t get me wrong… I am not a prude or t-totaller at all…but…well…I figured instead of saying the zinger in my head, I’d hit them with good old fashioned mommy guilt. I don’t know if it worked…but….I held my head up and giggled to myself all the way to the car….!

  • Jean - July 09, 2009 @ 10:12 am

    If I am behind someone at Meijer who uses a lot of coupons, I’m always impressed by their savvy-ness. HOWEVER, I have to comment on the part of your post where you talked about cash-only buyers having to put things back at the checkout lane b/c they’ve gone over their limit. This DOES frustrate me. While I can appreciate people wanting (or maybe even needing) to shop on a cash-only basis (I’m sure I could benefit from that myself!), it would be nice if those cash-only shoppers would take their calculator as they go through the store so that there are no surprises at the checkout, and I am left standing in line while they decide what they are going to put back.

    Don’t beat yourself up too much about your response. Like you said, we are all human – imperfect – and we all far short of that mark that we are constantly striving for. Thanks for ‘keeping it real’!

  • Jennifer - July 09, 2009 @ 10:17 am

    I am surprised that I haven’t received that kind of reaction. Even when people have to wait behind me in line, they are so happy about my savings. One lady told me last week that I was an inspiration to her and that she needed to start cutting her coupons too. I like in Oklahoma and people here are generally so considerate.

  • Sariah - July 09, 2009 @ 11:09 am

    Sorry to hear about your experience! I haven’t had anyone say something to me, but I know at KMart when I was doing my multiple transactions to use all my coupons that people behind me were getting irritated. I did let people go in front of me, but people were sighing and looking impatient. For the most part they just got out of my line and got into the other open line. I probably would have gotten in and out of line if I knew how busy it would be – but when I came in I was practically the only person in the store and there wasn’t anyone in the checkout lines at all – and then all of the sudden there were tons of people!

    When I’m doing self checkouts and I know I’m going to be there a long time, I will tell people if they get in line behind me.

    Nothing really aggravates me at the checkout line – I just figure everyone’s doing the best they can and no one is intentionally trying to personally hold me up. I’m willing to wait.

    The only time I’ve ever been verbally attacked in a store was because of my autistic son’s behaviors, and it was people of that generation who, as was said, feel like they have a right to say whatever they want and be as rude as they want. And I want into mama bear mode and yelled back because they had no right to belittle him or me. I didn’t insult them (as they were insulting us) but I said what his condition was and that we were doing the best we could. I saw them as I left the store and I very badly wanted to go and say something about how my son couldn’t help himself and what was their excuse, but I didn’t.

    People can get mad at me and my couponing, but no one is allowed to attack my children.

  • shevigirl - July 09, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

    Marianne–I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Kroger Marketplace in Lebanon. We recently moved from there to Middletown (bigger house, less cost). I really miss the cashiers and baggers there. They were always so nice and really acted like you were the most important person.

  • d - July 09, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

    by the time i’m checking out, i’m probably more annoyed by the general public inside the store than the people in line behind me will get due to the few minutes they have to wait while i try to get out of there.

    the one thing i always do is ignore anyone else in any line while i’m checking out, mostly so i can stay focused on what it going on. i’ve got a pretty quick-witted tongue and could snark right back at them, but i’ve found as soon as you start paying attention to others, you lose track of how your items scan. so i just don’t acknowledge that they are even there, it’s just me and the cashier (or the self-checkout machine).

    a technique i use with the self-checkouts is when they cause a delay (the dreaded meijer blinking red light), i’ll get annoyed, it seems to take the heat off of me and put it on the machine.

    i’ve had my moments where i’ve given in to these people, but my remarks aren’t directed towards them but designed to cause things to go slower (them: “ugh, c’mon”, me: “oops, dropped my pen”). let them think what they want about, perhaps it gives them some pleasure while they do their full-price shopping.

    call me selfish and uncaring about others while shopping, but i am. why should i have to apologize to someone because i am trying to reduce my out of pocket spending? my opinion is the way i shop has no effect on anyone else at all. if people are in that much of a hurry that they can’t wait the extra time, maybe they should have planned their day better and quit trying to screw up mine.

  • Christina - July 09, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

    Jean, As a cash paying customer I have often had to put things back when shopping at KMart (I normally don’t have this problem when shopping at other stores.) I have noticed that the shelf tag doesn’t always match up to the register price, therefore putting me over my bugeted amount.
    At the last double coupon sale I wanted to stock up on Zyrtec for my son. The shelf tag said $10.99 and each one rang up at $12.99. $2 is a big difference in price when your trying to squeeze a quarter out of a dime! So I had to say no thanks to those purchases.

  • Tanya - July 09, 2009 @ 5:43 pm

    My latest was this past Sunday. I had an older “gentleman” behind me in the regular check out lane. He had 5 items and he was tapping his foot and huffing and puffing the entire time the cashier rang my order and then when I handed over my many coupons it just put him over the edge. I so badly wanted to say there is a small checkout lane down there ya know!! It gave me a little pleasure to put him over the edge with my coupons, sad I know!! :) It was his fault for using the regular checkout lane! I am a shy girl, but I don’t care what people think when I’m trying to save my family money.

  • Chrissy - July 09, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that gets this response from people in line behind me. I always let people go ahead of me, but it seems that just when I get all my purchases on the counter a line forms behind me. One day at Wal-Mart, I had a difficult cashier who was making me remove every coupon item from the bags to prove my purchases. A woman behind me made a rude comment and I looked directly at her and said, “I’m using coupons. I’m not doing anything illegal!” She went silent after that.

  • Alicia - July 09, 2009 @ 11:53 pm

    I take a little more snide approach when something like that happens to me.

    I normally tell them, ‘yeah, saving $100 a week pays for my quarterly vacation- like my tan?’ or ‘don’t know how we’d pay for the lake house if I didn’t coupon’.

    If they are really hateful, I’ll throw in ‘the highest percentage of coupon users comes from families making 75K a year or higher. The lowest percentage comes from those that are significantly below the poverty line- would you like some coupons?’

    It makes light of the situation and they usually look at their cart in embarassment.

    • mommysnacks - July 10, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

      Alicia – getting this with information…now that gets them everytime! That’s why I not only want to know why I save, but I love information on general demographics of people who do save! I think being smart, in general, makes us better consumers and sharers of information!

  • MargarTA - July 10, 2009 @ 5:14 am

    What a great post! I too have had my share of these moments. When I started using coupons seriously, I have to say I was a bit cowed by these kind of intimidation tactics used by other customers (and sometimes cashiers). I would get embarrassed, turn beet red, and sometimes fumble the transaction, leaving the store without using a key coupon to really score a sweet deal. And one time, I did say something I wish I’d left unsaid. Over time, though, I’ve become (mostly) immune to this kind of harassment. I just remind myself that the complainer is likely to have less of a grip on his or her spending and that if I ever got a chance to view the person’s finances, I’d get a really good laugh.

    Thanks for all you hard work and all your great tips. Your co-customer may not have appreciated you at that moment, but clearly the rest of us do!

    • mommysnacks - July 10, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

      MargarTA – I usually ignore people like this in general. But, with you sharing that you were intimidated makes me even more upset at how people react! Just look at your life and how much saving the money using coupons has helped! I know others feel the way you did and just give up. I’m glad you are still doing it and have a good perspective on those reactions now! Thanks for commenting :)

  • Jeanne - July 10, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

    I know the rude customers are out there, but reading this reminds me of a positive experience I had. I was at a grocery store with my two little kiddos and there was a promo of buy $xx.xx get $x.xx catalina. The manager was helping me because it hadn’t printed on a previous order. The manager thought I needed to purchase more to make the deal work, I looked at my small kids and at the customer behind me feeling exasperated and she said “go for it, you’ve come this far!” I was delighted to see a person so generous with their time. So there are some good ones out there!!!

    • mommysnacks - July 10, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

      Jeanne – that is great to hear! I have had so many positive customer experiences to count! What a great attitude she had!

  • Amy - July 12, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

    I’ve had both support and negativity. The funny thing is, my husband was bragging about my coupon book, and all the money I was saving us and my sis in law, was like, oh, no she is not one of “those” people, I hate getting in line behind them……I still keep sending her coupons for things she uses, she is diabetic, and email deals to her,…..she’ll come around.

    • mommysnacks - July 13, 2009 @ 10:06 am

      Amy, great attitude to have! I’ll be one of *those* people anyday too! Saving money is awesome!

  • Allan - December 29, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

    “Hello!! ‚Äì this recession IS my depression.”

    Uh, really? That’s akin to saying “this hangnail IS my amputation!”

    Sorry, there really is no comparison between the two periods, and that fact that you stated this without any qualification indicates that you see things from your point of view and not from that of others.

    I’m only 45, but know plenty of people who went through the depression and what they experienced (leaving aside the ensuing world war) is something that would change most of us forever.

    Apparently that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    • Andrea Deckard - December 29, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

      Allan, I know the Depression was much worst, but since I wasn’t there I’m living in a state of this recession as a comparison. I have had many people ask me if they think the spending habits of people would change when the recession is over. I tell them to look at those who have lived through the depression. The fact is that behaviors have changed for individuals who never had to worry about things of financial relevance in the past. Regardless of what era you agree with, it’s a comparison that is relevant to those of us living through it today.

      This is, of course, my perspective and my blog.

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