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Paralyzed for words in priority situations at work

Paralyzed for words in priority situations at work2013-09-17T09:15:44+00:00

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    Post count: 15

    I was diagnosed at 25 officially my grandmother told me at 16 I had add. I work in retail I have for 20+ years Overall I do a good job. i am in store management now And often times in high stress situations when dealing with customers who are very upset I freeze. Words elude me, Often times it’s because I am running every possible scenario that I might be able to do to resolve the situation in my head. sometimes i freeze because the person i have to deal with is being, in my opinion, ridiculous and I feel like if I say something i will be curt sometimes I:
    1.I fear that I may have backlash from that at some point if they call corporate.
    2. I am so flabbergasted, i cannot wrap my head around why anyone would be so upset about something that isnt life threatening that I can’t say anything other then I’m sorry.

    3.I know if I do speak to them they won’t hear me anyway and words that they may be able to hear I can’t say because all I want to do is yell at them and say “what the fuck, Sorry i didnt hear you the first time” or simply say “sorry I do my best and I don’t deserve your anger. If you had a bad day or are overly frustrated because people are HUMAN welcome to life,…get over it! I deal with it all day and i understand it’s mostly small stuff. If you got a bad peach will your world end? …I doubt it asshole”

    So all these things run through my head in 1/10th of a second and bam all I end up doing is apologizing instead of finding a way to reasonably state that we will do better next time and maybe it’s again I can’t I still can’t find the words. Mind you I am speaking of highly volatile customers, my average everyday interaction with customers is stellar.

    two days ago I found myself literally paralyzed because a customer had said that one of my employee was dumb and stupid and all I wanted to do was say “what the fuck are you kidding me lady? fuck you lady get the fuck out of my stored don’t fucking come back ever”. And because there were no other words I could put together the only two I found that I could say were…”I’m sorry”. I didn’t even defend my employee to level I feel I should have.

    And in general speaking to other people who don’t have a fast mind is very difficult for me. I can’t stay on track even with meds. The wheels just turn intern intern and speaking slowly what how do you speak slowly I don’t even know… When I talk slower I lose half of what I’m saying because I’m trying to ….. I can’t talk effectively A lot of times. I have learned to pause and think b4 I speak but some days 17 things hit at once and my coping skills are gone!

    How does a person whose mind can have,literally, 17 things flow throw their mind in 2 seconds communicate with an average person? when that person has…what? Maybe 6 things or likely just 1 running through their mind in those same 2 seconds? (I don’t know what an average persons mind is like…mine is in 5th gear almost always, at best it’s in 2nd gear and that takes work lol.

    I can’t Write anything else Because now I’m tired and I think I got out the frustrations that I wanted to share and I’m pretty sure that everybody who reads this has similar issues. I’m not even sure I actually pose a question but I have to sleep so I hope I made sense.

    My best to all namaste.


    Post count: 906


    Start by taking a deep breath. In fact, take several of them. In……and out…..in…..and out….. 😉

    I have spent far to long working in retail and food service. I have almost lost all faith in humanity. But I have developed a few tricks to help deal with “those people” so that I don’t freeze up or blow up.

    First of all, if you know the complaint is coming, take a few seconds to compose yourself before you walk over to talk to the customer. Put your best “how may I help you?” face on and breathe deep. I always find that doing the exact opposite of what I want to do helps. What I want to do is choke them. What I do is be super nice- while picturing my hands around their throat in my mind.

    Take everything they say as if it is dead serious, even when it is stupid. If you are having trouble focusing on what they are saying, take notes. They love it when you take notes because they think you are actually doing something. And ask them to repeat if necessary. “So let me make sure I have this right. You were here yesterday and….”

    Now, I was never the top manager, so I had an easy out by saying “Let me take down your name and number and I’ll have the manager call you”. Then it was out of my hands. But when you have to deal with it yourself the key is too find out what will make them happy. Sometimes just feeling like they have been heard is enough.

    In the situation where the customer called your employee stupid, for example, I would find out what the employee did and then explain it somehow. “Okay, I see. I’m sorry, she’s new (even if she isn’t) and she doesn’t quite understand how to do that yet. So I will speak with her and make sure she knows for next time. Thank you for bringing it to my attention…” Unless they are really rude and nasty in which case I would kick them out. I will not tolerate verbal abuse towards me or someone on my staff.

    What other steps you can take to take them happy depends on your employer. My last employer expected us to just hand over everything but the keys to the store, whatever it took to make them happy. Not a good policy in my opinion.

    If you really just can’t do anything to make them happy, give them the contact information for your head office and let them call/email and bitch at someone else. As long as you have done everything you can you should have nothing to worry about. Most people never follow through anyway.

    Unfortunately there is always the chance that one of these idiots will get you fired. That goes with the territory in a society that believes “the customer is always right”. I really wish people would stop and think before they dump all their frustrations onto some poor person who is just doing the best they can to earn a living. I never complain about staff in stores/restaurants unless they do something that is seriously wrong.

    It would also be nice if more people would call head office to compliment an employee when they do a good job once in awhile.

    Always feel free to come here and vent where is is safe to do so. Just letting go of that stress will make it easier for you to get through your day. And remember, they are the ones who are in the wrong and you are the better person for treating them with respect. Look at it as setting an example, teaching them how to behave properly towards another human being. 🙂





    Post count: 445

    This strikes me as a customer service issue just as much as an ADD issue. If you tend to get rattled—and many people do—it helps to have a customer complaint checklist. The first thing you want to do is lower the conversation temperature: apologize and empathize. Then you fix what you can fix and promise to take any unresolved problem to somebody who has the authority to address it. Blah, blah. You commit your canned responses to memory so you don’t have to think on your feet. You just check down depending on the circumstance. If corporate doesn’t have something like that, they should.

    But I would think the big problem for ADD retailers—as you indicate—is anger management. Sometimes people are just obnoxious or unreasonable. When you have a problem with emotional regulation, you’re tempted at some point to cross the line and say, “Go To hell you crazy b***h!” And that, of course, would run far afoul of most companies’ customer-relations policies.

    But once again, if you have a carefully crafted “complaint tree,” with a series of prepared responses to common customer complaints/problems, a displeased-customer confrontation should be just another day at the office.

    Oh, and one more thing—remember that some “customers” purposefully try to rattle retail clerks with obnoxious behavior so a confederate can rob them blind. It’s important to learn to keep your cool so you can keep your wits about you and your eyes open.


    Post count: 15

    Love your reply. We use many of the same tools ie: super nice while…whatever in my mind, take notes, passing info on to higher ranking staff if possible.

    In this situation after a short time I felt there was no calming this person down no matter what I said. After recognizing that when I heard her call my staff member stupid I wanted to find the correct words to defend my staff and ask her to leave, but my anger superseded my ability to secure a calm demeanor with a non angry words/tone to ask the customer to not disrespect my staff and kindly exit the premises.

    I truly appreciate your help and that you took the time to respond! Thanks.



    Post count: 15

    W green,

    The idea of a customer complaint tree/internal checklist is one i know about but I don’t have one. I will work on developing one and adding that into my bag of survival tricks. In general Planning ahead with lists etc. helps me stay on track and developing personal auto responses like you mentioned makes perfect sense.

    Managing anger is something I can struggle with from time to time but I think I do an ok job stuffing anger and appearing nice. Also I have learned to teach my employees that if I am short/direct in an interaction with them i likely have 6 fires burning and i need to stay focused on top priorities. Teachinig people to understand how i intract when i am being direct instead of having them think I am mad is vital for me.

    Thanks so much for your suggestion and taking the time to help!

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