Where are You From?
"I would like to communicate my extreme displeasure with CRAZY RXMAN in the Pharmacy. While helping me and my wife with the payment portion for a prescription, he inquired in a very brazen and rude way as to "where are we from." He did not apologize when I expressed displeasure with the way of his inquiry. I do not feel your employees should be asking customers such questions of personal nature. He is not a friend of ours and the performance of his job does not require this. It is a matter of basic culture not to confront people with such flying off the hand questions, especially not customers. It shows bad manners and uncaring at the least."
The above is that actual complaint passed on to me regarding an exchange between Mr. Peculiar and myself. At this pharmacy we're close to a number of resorts and hotels and get many visitors from all over the world, and this is the first time as a pharmacist or formerly as a salesman that anyone has been offended by me asking where they are from.
The exact exchange was as follows:
Me, noting that the patient has an obvious foreign accent, in a nice tone, and asking with a smile: "So, where are you from?"
Mr. Peculiar: "That's NONE of YOUR business."
Me: "Ok, that will be $10." Money exchanges. I say "Thank you" and he leaves. Some two weeks later I received the complaint through company channels.
Why he said it was asked in a "brazen and rude way" is beyond me... but after a little investigation I discovered that this patient is ALSO a backstage employee for our company AND actually works in the customer service department! Guess what our company does... in the event of a complaint they throw money at the customer in the form of a free gift card. This guy was doing this for a free gift card at my expense. I don't know if it did any good, but I sent him an email using the company email system with copies to my superiors apologizing but also asking why he would do this considering we're all on the same team.
I don't know if he got his free gift card or how many other employees he's stepped on to get other gift cards, but one thing is clear: DON'T ASK ANYONE WHERE THEY ARE FROM!