A few years ago in college, I got a job as a valet in the hospitality industry. During my time there I dealt with a lot of angry people. I often wondered what made them angry? Was it years of bad choices and frustration with life?
Whatever their intent, in their eyes it was always my fault. Now that I’m older, I see how petty and childish those angry customers were. So I’d like to tell you my story and see what you think.
I’m going to break down my belief about angry people. It helps me focus on the person rather than the actions. It helps me humanize the angry voice in front of me, and gives some understanding as well. However, first, there are a couple of rules I’ve developed that has helped me through many encounters.
- Stay Calm, Don’t Let Their Angry Faze You. (It’s What They Want)
- Try To Make Them Feel Heard, Many Times They’re Angry Because Nobody Is Listening.
- Understand The Main Onslaught Of Anger Expends A Lot Of Energy. Nobody Can Keep That Up Forever. (Longest time I’ve Seen 35 Mins.)
- Once They Work Through That Angry Time, Their conscience kicks in, and they feel like a jerk.
- Try to work out a compromise, but make sure you’re still following policy and what your company wants you to do.
Why Angry People Can Be Good For Business
One of the first things I realized when dealing with angry people is that their anger is misplaced. They aren’t yelling solely at you for forgetting ketchup on a burger. Instead, there is a lot of anger inside them boiling away. Unfortunately, you’ve stepped too close and broke the camel’s back.
This means you are the one who gets the brunt of their anger and pain. You are the reason they’re angry, even if they don’t know it. They’re blaming you for it all.
If you can handle yourself properly in tough work situations. Other people will see your composure, and that will give them a better impression of you.
I can’t say much for angry people, even when I used to be one. It really depends on the situation however, when you handle an angry person well, you’ll be reaping the benefits of it down the road.
How To Handle Verbal Attacks From An Angry Person
As a complete side note, don’t let yourself get this far. In fact, when you are hurt, you always have two choices. You can forgive, and let go of the pain and poison in your heart. Or you can hold on, and let it burrow deep in your heart. Where it will slowly let out toxins, and they will eventually kill you.
It’s a difficult choice and puts you in a horrible predicament, but it’s essential that you know the truth because the truth will set you free.
Why Do People Hang Onto Pain?
The older I get, I run into people that never learned about forgiveness. It’s sad when you see an elderly man or woman, and they’re mad at the world. What caused that? How did their heart get so angry?
It’s not like that person was born that way? Maybe life didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped? Perhaps they have a lot of regrets, and it’s too late to change now. I’ll admit I’ve been scared I’ll turn out that way someday.
I’ve come to the conclusion, that it’s a daily choice when you choose to be angry every day. Eventually, it’ll seep into your personality and your life. Many people have chosen anger, for their entire life. The anger, and bitterness have poisoned them, from the inside out, and that is why they’re so angry. It wasn’t just the one thing you did, it was their last 20 years.
How I’ve Handled Angry People
When I was a valet manager, I helped thousands of people come and go through the hotel. On one particular Sunday, my team and I were prepping for a busy morning. We had around 150 cars departing, and they usually left in the same 45 minute period of time.
Two hours before checkout, an older man drove his car into the valet area. He parked his car and I ran out to greet him. He looked right at me, grunted, and walked into the hotel. It was against the fire code to park cars there, and it blocked the driveway. There were still cars going out, so I couldn’t let him stay in that spot.
Running down the hallway, I finally caught up with him. I immediately recognized him as an angry customer but had a job to do. I explained the parking situation. It was done respectfully, but with honesty. Any cars left in the driveway needed to leave their keys with the Valet, so I asked for his keys. I also told him one of my valets would move the car to the side because its current location was blocking the exit. As a final note, I added our hotel policy, if he was here 15 minutes or more, there would be a $9 charge.
He said “no, I don’t think so,” and began to walk away.
Angry People Won’t Listen Or Respect You.
I replied with, “Fine, I’ve got a tow truck around the corner, you can take it up with them later on.” It stopped him in his tracks, and he finally relented, handing me his keys.
I didn’t wanna be rude, but you can’t let 1 angry customer ruin 150 others customers’ time with you. That’s just bad business. The customer is not always right. Because their bad choices can affect others.
Angry People Won’t Worry About Wasting Your Time;
We got through the morning rush, and I became annoyed because the man hadn’t come back to move his car. There was also a missing bell cart, and that slowed my bellman down. (We also ran the bell service). We got through the morning without complaints but had a few close calls.
After what seemed an eternity, but was actually 2 hours. The man and his wife came downstairs with the missing bell cart. Apparently, he had taken the cart and brought it into his room. I got extremely angry about this, it was disrespectful to the hotel and the other guests, but I had to follow our policies.
He approached me, asking for his keys, I replied certainly but the charge would be $9 for parking. His face turned into one of horror, and he glanced over to his wife.
How I Was Attacked By Angry People.
“Honey, they’re charging us for parking,” he exclaimed. Then he ran out the door, disappearing around the corner. I only saw him 1 more time that day, sitting in his car at the end of the driveway.
He knew the horrible storm that was about to be unleashed upon me, my guess is that he’d seen it before. From across the vestibule, I heard a horrible, high-pitched, and guttural scream. It came from an older woman as she started running slowly towards me (it’s true, but hard to describe). Her high-pitched scream was unwavering, and when she reached me, her finger continuously waved in my face.
“You’re a mean, evil spirited person, and you’ve ruined my birthday.” She began to yell loudly.
This Angry Person Was Full Of Bitterness
Wow, I thought, is that all it takes? I thought to myself, but being smart about this, I smiled and thought my replies through before replying. Even if I was continuously wishing for her to go away. For the next 20 minutes, I endured a living hell, as she stood there yelling at me. She wouldn’t pay the fee, and I didn’t want to reward her bad behavior. It was a stalemate. The entire time I was helping other guests, and asking her to be civil and not insult my character or intelligence.
I could’ve comped her parking at any time, but I didn’t like rewarding that kind of behavior. Later on, the hotel manager asked why I didn’t sooner, after all, it was only $9. However I felt like she’d done this before, and it had probably worked for years. Maybe I was being a jerk, but somebody needed to stand up to this.
I wanted to end that streak, and while I don’t think it was the best plan, I started to crumble.
You Can Fight An Angry Person, But It Will Wear You Out.
I was tired of this issue, and some of the other hotel guests were getting annoyed at her. One guy even got between us and tried to calm her down. however, nothing worked. So, I told her the front desk could comp her parking, but only if she went up to them and asked. She walked away still screaming at me (how was she able to yell still?)
Once she was out of earshot, I called the front desk and begged them to say they’ll comp her parking. I told them I’d explain it all later.
The woman came back, and couldn’t wait to tell me that the front desk had comped her parking. She repeated, that I ruined her 60th birthday, and she’d never forgiven me.
I said, “I’m glad we could fix the situation, and I hope she had a great day.” Instead of leaving, she stood in the doorway, smiling smugly, and ready to blow up again.
Angry People Always Usually Demand Compensation
“I won’t leave until I get an apology.” She yelled. Standing smugly in the doorway.
“Ma’am, I thank you for staying here, but I did no wrong. I was following the hotel policy. I will not apologize for doing the right thing.”
She raised her voice and stated loudly. “I will NOT leave, until I receive my apology.”
Here, I was almost at my breaking point. She had been berating me for half an hour, and I’ve never yelled at a guest before in my life. There was 10-15 guest in the vestibule with us, and some of my valets as well.
So I repeated my previous message saying, “Ma’am, I will not apologize for doing my job, the front desk has comped your parking, and you’ve checked out. You have no reason to stand there yelling at me anymore. You have a great day and be safe when you drive home.
Angry People Will Loose All Logic
“I WANT AN APOLOGY NOW, AND I WON’T LEAVE UNTIL I GET IT!!!” She screamed at me once again.
I was helping a guest with directions and had finally broken down. So I stopped what I was doing and looked her in the eye. I said, “Ma’am, you can wait all you want, but you’re gonna die standing there waiting for my apology. Have a nice day.”
I smiled a little as she walked away, but I couldn’t resist twisting the knife. “Ma’am,” she spun around, thinking I’d changed my mind.
“Happy Birthday,” I told her and I smirked at her. She was even angrier and I hear her stomping towards her car. The door slammed hard and thankfully we never saw them again.
I was oblivious to the people around me for a second, but when looked around I saw the other hotel guests cheering me on. My valets were laughing, but I felt nothing. To this day, I’m not sure why.
In the years since I’ve gone over this incident in my mind, and while there are some things I could’ve done better. I think handled the situation pretty well.
Angry People Tend To Be Short Sighted.
Like a lot of angry people, I started to wonder how she got that way. The evidence was obvious that she’d done this before probably many times. The way her husband disappeared was proof of that. he knew what was coming.
Finally, I came to a conclusion, there’s 2 types of angry people.
- the people who are having a bad day.
- People who have chosen to be angry their whole life.
When you’re dealing with a person in the first category. Life is pretty simple, a joke or just patience can help clear things up. Listening to their plight offers relief extremely fast.
when you’re dealing with number 2. The life they know is of anger, and if they’ve chosen you as the person they want to unload on, (and you’ve won the lottery with this one) make sure you’re ready for that. When dealing with an angry person like this, your main choice is to be patient and get through it.
Remember in most situations you face eventually it’ll pass. Emotions only stay heightened for short periods of time, and then logic will kick in.
Some of the best times I’ve had dealing with an angry customer comes from their realization that they were being a jerk. There’s something gratifying about that.
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