The Pouter

I pulled into the gas/convenient station for a fill-up. As the tank was filling, I violated a gas/convenient station rule—I left the car unattended while I went inside to get a cup of coffee. I walk in the store and there is one unhappy clerk, and the customers are lined up all the way back to the beer section. I get in the line about 12 customers deep. The unhappy, pouting, cash register person is angry because her line is long and her remedy for her anger is to make the people in her line wait as long as possible.

YOU know exactly what I’m talking about because YOU have been in this line before.

Seven minutes later, after the pouter has waited on 1 ½ customers, a friendly, non-pouter pops out of the back and says “I’ll check someone on this side.” Immediately, 10 of the remaining 11 customers fly over to the other lady’s register. I stay with the pouter. So I get up to the register and now she is really mad. She had been dissed by the majority of the coffee, cigarette, beef jerky and lottery ticket buyers in the store. I smile and offer a polite “hello.” Nothing. I pay for the coffee, tell her to have a nice day, and get out. No response, no lip movement, no smile. Pissed.

As we are driving home I tell my wife about the pouter. She then says “turn this car around right now and give the young lady of copy of your book.” I thought about it. But, alas, the car will not turn around because the driver is too fearful of the pouter. I am scared she might be insulted that someone does not think she is an artist at her job and take the book and slam me over the head with it. As Alexander The Great said “Fortune favors the brave.” This time I choose head health over bravery. But the question remains—how is it that these pouters not only exist but thrive and grow? How did we get to the point where they are not only tolerated but feared? No way in hell most people, even customer service guys, are going to make a suggestion to the pouters about their behavior in this day and time. And you know the pouters are not just in the gas/convenient stores—they are on the phone and in the mail and at the drive through line at the speaker AND the cash register window.

My name is Paul Karem. Bug around on this website and I’ll tell you about pouters, show you how to stop pouting, show you how to spot pouters in your organization, and show you the effect of pouters on your customers, but…..I’m not too sure I can help you repair the pouter. But man would I like to take a shot at it!!

Especially if you have security present.

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