Today, Friday, i had grocery and neccessity shopping to do. I have my one supermarket and one other superstore that i like to go to......because the majority of the clerks at these places all know me, and are very nice to me, they accomodate all of my sensory issues that i have with how i like to have my purchases are packaged, to how i like my change given to me..which is not wrinkled, stained, or gross-looking. And they even know how i like to have my packages placed in my trunk.
Well, tonight, i went to the checkout after getting all my stuff, as it started out being one of the lady checkers that is nice to me..there are a bunch of the guys who are nice to me there too...anyway, as i got to the line, they switched checkers on me, to a guy who i also thought would be nice.....as i had had him as a checker before, and didn't have any problems with him then.
When it came my turn to be checked out, however, he looked at me with an unfriendly look and greeted me with a "Hi", that was very cold. I said hi back and asked him how he was, hoping to break the ice. he mumbled "I'm good," in that same unfriendly monotone, and looked down, then proceeded to throw my things in a very sloppy unorganized manner in the plastic bags, as he ran them through the scanner. When i noticed this, i tried to tell him, and he right off the bat, started laughing at me like i was crazy. I informed him that i am not crazy, i am autistic, and he just shook his head and chuckled at the lady behind me, who also was laughing at me. I told them both right out again that i am autistic and to please stop laughing at me..and they continued to mock me and laugh. Fortunately, the courtesy clerk, a young man who is ALWAYS EXTRA nice to me, was standing there, and he heard the entire exchange. He proceeded to re-bag my groceries and toiletries in the neat manner that i am accustomed to, and to double-bag all of them for me so i'd have an easier time carrying them all into my house. The mean clerk, then proceeded to hand me my change, without first checking to make sure it was change that was in good condition, so i asked him if he had forgotten how to do my change---and he snottily retorted back to me, sneeringly:"Well, i can count!!" The nice courtesy clerk heard this also, as the mean clerk and the mean customer behind me shared yet another mean laugh at my expense!!! Of course, i told both the mean clerk and the mean lady off that was behind me in line..i was angry!!! The courtesy clerk and i then proceeded to the customer service counter and we both lodged an immediate complaint. I was given better change, and we made our way out of the store to my car. On the way out, we both ran into the store manager and told him as well about my horrible experience...and the store manager was VERY upset and said that this would be taken care of right then and there.
The unfortunate thing about these stores is that bad clerks cannot just be fired.....as many of them belong to unions..but if enough complaints are lodged, then that's a different story.
The thing of is...i am a strong enough of a person that i know when i am being mistreated, laughed at, blown off, etc..and i have learned how to confront people and not be afraid to do so....but even so, i, as an autistic person, am still badly affected by these kinds of customer service experiences.....i still have meltdowns when i reach my car, where i will scream and yell, turn up my car stereo full blast and just rage out of the parking lot. I will hit myself, hit and punch the steering wheel, and drive like a maniac till i calm down. No, this is not good to do..but it happens.. Luckily, i am able to clam down enough to drive safely, though. But then when i come home, i still have to get it out of my system, so i melt down again...and one thing i love to do when i am feeling this way, is to gorge myself on junk food till i am eatting so much that my stomache hurts.
I have a total love and hate relationship with shopping, with people, and with noise. I love people when they are genuinely nice..but not fake nice. I love friendly noises. I love to shop. I love to eat out. I love to be social.
But i don't love these things when they turn threatening, unfriendly, mean, and unaccepting if me.
Do i think that the retail and service industry does enough to train their mangers and employees on how to treat cutomers..including customers who have special needs? No. Not when these kinds of incidents like the one that happened to me tonight, keep on happening. We ALL need to stand up when these things happen. Fortunately, i had that nice courtesy clerk who came to my defense and helped me in confronting that mean checkout clerk..or my experience would have been a total trainwreck!!!!!
Thank God i am able to sit down and put my feelings down here on Facebook. I feel better now. Thank you all for reading this. Love you and God bless you all!!! <3<3<3<3