Saturday, February 14, 2015

McDonald's Meltdowns and Wal-Mart Head Butts

I work in a white-collar office environment. It's air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. I don't have to punch a time clock upon arrival, when I go to the bathroom, or upon leaving for the day. There is not a lot of cursing and yelling going on most days. Not every white-collar environment I've been in has been like this. A boss with a reputation for bullying once yelled something nasty at me. I had a very short, direct, and serious discussion with him where the upshot was he apologized. I later heard that he expressed admiration that I was willing to stand up to him. Whatever. Some former co-workers were quite passionate about their job and would routinely get into very LOUD profane nasty shouting matches with each other. They once got into it in front of a visiting company director. I don't know if they were disciplined or not but I do know that neither one was ever promoted. They're doing the same job today for close to the same pay that they were doing fifteen years ago. So you can connect the dots there I guess. I do not usually work with outside customers. I'm more adept with the written word than with verbal communication so this is probably for the best. There are many angry, frustrated customers who are eager to vent their spleen to an easy target, like say an employee who has certain rules to follow lest he or she lose his job. Having to take this sort of abuse coupled with just the normal problems and issues of work can cause some employees to lose it. The three below videos show some examples of what's really going on the front lines of customer-employee interaction. 

In the first video a Michigan area McDonald's customer is angry about an incorrect charge/wrong order and starts insulting the clerk in the harshest of language. In the second video a Texas Wal-Mart customer named Jessica Albitz is angry about something a tax preparer said to her, comes back the next day and (you guessed it) head butts the employee. Yeah. A scuffle breaks out. The unrepentant Albitz was charged with assault. If you're going to call someone out of her name I don't think you can get upset when she responds in kind. In the last video a Twin Cities teen McDonald's worker is apparently upset about his hours and money. He throws a temper tantrum in front of customers. He destroys company property. The teen and his manager were fired. The adult manager, Brandon Roberston, says it was unfair that he was fired because his possible responses were limited. Robertson could not put his hands on the teen. Robertson called police and did his best to calm the young man. I don't know what this says about our society but I do know there was a reason I don't patronize McDonald's or Wal-Mart. Seriously though I can't abide anyone (customers or fellow employees) yelling at me or cursing at me. It's not that kind of party. Although I am very protective of my job and have done some things I didn't think I would do in order to stay employed there are red lines for me. Verbal abuse crosses those lines. A boss can tell me I'm the worst most useless employee that she or he ever had and it won't get to me. But if someone yells or curses at me then we have an issue. But we're all different.

Brandon Robertson: Lonnie Johnson Confrontation
Jessica Albitz: Alice Keener brawl
Michigan McDonald's Cursing

Have you ever been in a serious employee-customer or workplace dispute?

How did you resolve it?

Was McDonald's right to fire Robertson?

Are people angrier in public these days?

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