I worked for 18 years for a major electrical utility company in a major city. We also had two walk-in offices, and all of the CSR’s were required to do a 2 month stint in each office. Because of the number of Reps we had, this only occurred about every 4 years.
One of the offices was in a financially depressed part of the city made up of mostly minority people — Latino and black, and gang members often drop in. I am white.
So I am in the first month of my stint at this office. I am the only white person in the office (both staff and customers). This honestly didn’t bother me because, hey, they are customers and I’m there to help them.
This one younger black woman comes into my cubicle and asks what she needs to do to get her power turned back on. Unfortunately, she had restored herself without paying her bill several times, so her meter was locked out. Per company policy I was not able to offer her any arrangements — she had to pay the entire bill, including reconnect charges.
This is where she lights into me. She is sitting on the chair, kind of hunched over, and mumbling to the floor. She keeps saying she can’t understand how she owes so much money, so I ordered a print of her account and stood up to go to the other cubicle to get it.
This is when I hear her say, “White honky bitch, if I catch you outside, I’m gonna beat your ass.”
I got mad. I had been polite and sympathetic to her during the whole conversation, and she says that?
I stepped right up to her ( mind you, she is still hunched over looking at the floor), clenched my fists so that it was the only thing she could see, and asked her,
.”Would you care to repeat that to my face?”
Silence from her.
Through clenched teeth, “Would you are to repeat that to my face?” God help me, I was just waiting for her to say something, anything, so I could throw her a punch.
All of a sudden, all of the other Reps (and my supervisor) are in my cubicle pulling me away from this customer and leading me into the break room. They took care of her while I sat and tried to decompress.
Didn’t get into trouble for that, either. I’m just really happy that customer didn’t say a word to me.