I met a man who has a temper, who if he wasn’t almost a foot shorter than me would have loved to stand over me. He was unhappy with a small clerical error and he was here to rake someone over the coals. Anyone would suit. There was shouting. Harsh words and grumpiness. And yes, the mistake was ours, but I couldn’t help wondering what sort of person NEEDS to be so forceful in this sort of situation. He was red in the face, swearing and demanding to know who exactly had made the mistake.

No, I said, as I shook my head, I didn’t know.

What? I thought to myself, so you can go after them directly? No way mate.

He never really cooled off. Red in the face and complaining loudly he told us about how unwell he is. A laundry list of items and complaints. One theme stuck with me. Complaints. This man was a ball of complaint. No one here and no one out there could make this man any different. I had to be different or continue to have the same conversation with him for another 20 minutes. So instead of pushing back against him, arguing and standing my ground, I stopped it all. I stopped talking, I kept listening, I did nothing else. I waited.

Soon there was a gap in conversation. I had heard enough about the past mistakes, taking the time to tell him that I was sorry the mistake happened. I had heard enough about what his plans were moving forward. So I thanked him for letting me know all that, thanked him for taking the time to make me aware of it and told him I would put someone else in contact with him. He got up to leave. Issue closed, moving on. I went back to my desk.

I was relieved. Annoyed a little but relived to have it be over. Proud that I hadn’t been drawn into a lengthy battle over who was right and who was going to have the upper hand in this one. I was going on with my work when I heard something… He was still out there, complaining. Apparently on the way out someone had the misfortune of asking how his day was and he was telling her. I chuckled a little, shook my head and sighed.

Some people, they just like to complain.

  • as we say “silence is sometimes your best weapon”

    There are so many people who are professional complainers. Many of them have a massive sense of entitlement, too. “I deserve to get special treatment because of xyz”.
    Does my head in

  • Seriously, why get out of bed each day? what a miserable life, what exactly are they trying to achieve other than being able to brag to people later on how ” I told her!”
    good work for being the mature person Mel, however hard it would have been.

    On a side note, do you know why it would be using a profile pic of me here that doesn’t exist anymore? it must be stored on discus somewhere

    • I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be. Miserable. And yes, it took something VERY special to not just tell him off. I have a short fuse sometimes.

      Yeah, go to your profile on Disqus {I think you can click on it via here} and update. I just set mine to default to my twitter one. That way it’s always up to date.

  • Gah! Customer service is so exhausting.

  • People like that are such hard work. I think you dealt with him the best way you can- arguing and discussing with them just leads to more stress for you and another grievance to add to the list for them! Hope your day improved after grumpy-pants left xxx

    • I, of course, agree. But I did lose my mind a little before I took this action. Haha. Took the bait, they might say. Not for long though. And my day did, thank you. 🙂