Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bug-Eyed and Twitchy

It all starts with a smile, a laugh.

Little do you know the horror that lurks 'round the proverbial corner.

That's right. Nice Ms. Jones turns into passive-aggressive Ms. Hyde and you find guerrilla warfare on you hands.

Not wanting you, the gentle reader to stain your hands with your own blood, dribbling out through holes punched in your abdoman by barbed words, I am going to give you tips and clues. You need to know who...or what you're dealing with.

Let's get started.

It's the quiet ones that get you. Remember back to her? They start out quiet...and then


I'll use a recent example to explain.

Last week, I got a call from a woman for a reservation. The first tip-off that things would take a turn for the worse was when she had the wrong information about our rates. Let's call her Patty. Patty was a BET of the first order (Bug Eyed and Twitchy). When I got done establishing that merely because someone gave her the wrong information did not necessitate me honoring it, I was only on the first relay.

Redgirl's Tip #1

BETs will let you win a battle at the beginning in order to soften you up for the main assault. They want you to think that they're nice and reasonable when in fact they're trying to put you off guard.

Patty read off her credit card number for me. I couldn't tell if it was tax exempt, so I asked her for confirmation:

Patty: I'm a federal employee, of course I'm tax exempt.

Me: Do you have a tax exempt credit card?

Patty: Yes, but I don't like to carry it with me

Me: Okay, well just make sure to bring it this time, because that's the only way we can avoid charging you tax

Patty: I have a problem with carrying credit cards, so I'm going to pay with something else (like what exactly? frogs? bales of wool?)

Me: I have the forms, but the City of *Danville* makes us charge tax unless that credit card is used.

Redgirl's Tip #2

Trying to cite a higher authority such as the City is a good idea. It's a bloody great idea in fact. Except it doesn't work with a BET. BETs then lump you in with this "higher authority" and threaten a firestorm on you all.

Patty: Your CITY says that? Well, that's just wrong. I'm a federal employee. It's illegal to charge me tax! (oh goody, the illegal card)

Me: Well, I'm sure you could speak to a manager about that....

Patty: Yes. I'll talk to a manager when I get there. Do you have internet?

Me: We have wireless...(realizes she's checking in on a Sunday... a day I get to work) Ma'am, are you sure you wouldn't rather talk to a manger now? Get it sorted before you get--

Patty: I don't have time. *click*

Redgirl's Tip #3

BETs will want to speak to a manager at some point. Even if they don't end up doing it, they will say it in an ill-fated attempt to frighten you. Be not afraid. They're only trying to mess with you. Remember, victory is yours in the end. If you show cowardace though, and waver, I will have no pity. Calm, and with a healthy dose of aggressive politeness. (don't know what this is? I may have blogged about it before...)

I spoke with a senior collegue about it to double-check my knowledge on the subject. Not only was I right, but we had a happy leaflet from the city's codes and ordinances to prove it. (Score a point for Redgirl!) I alert all staff about the future guest and wait for Sunday.

Sunday dawns bright and cold.

I'm guessing about this, because I'm rarely up to see the dawn >:D

A lady comes up to check in. She is thin, with protruding eyes of a bug-like quality. Her face is scored with expressive lines. She wears a disarming smile. "Checking in?" I say with a pleasant expression. "Yes" she says, "Jones. Patty Jones." (Shaken, not stirred)

Redgirl's Tip #4

As the name describes, BETs are bug-eyed and twitchy. Bug-eyed because their eyes are open to the fullest in order to convey to the hapless clerk their disbelief in the utter rip off which is being perpetrated. They are twitchy, and therefore thin...their bodies reduced to starvation mode as their mouths open to exude castigation rather than intake helpful nutrients. Plus, I'm guessin' it takes a lot of energy to always care that much about what slights are being done to you. Just sayin'.

It was her.

Me: Oh hi! I think I spoke with you on the phone!

Patty: Hello there...

Me: I just need a credit card and ID

Patty: (gives debit card) And the tax exemption form?

Me: (I hand her the memo) You can fill it out, but I can't guarantee--

Patty: (has glanced at the appropriate paragraph) I see. (lips pursed) I'll take that tax exempt form. The Department of (Nimbshwabbles) will have a thing or two to address about that.

Me: (smiles, checks her in)

Patty: And your Internet?

Me: I have the wireless code here...

Patty: I can't use wireless...government computer.

Me: One lady with that problem hooked up to the cable in our business center..

Patty: (gives me condescending look) I'll be in my pajamas. I'll not want to be down here.

I discussed the situation with the colleague mentioned previously. Her plot is to get you to agree or sympathize with some part of what she has said. Then the argument is turned around so that you agreed with her, when it never happened.

Redgirl's Tip #5

Keep the issue on track. When she plays the "you have credit cards, so you understand" ploy, you can agree...if you want. But whatever you do, bring it back to the original issue. "I apologize ma'am but I am unable to exempt you without that specific card". Hold firm.

Redgirl's Tip #6

The above conversation has been edited for your convenience. After being subtly threatened with suing, the clerk in question may be concerned. Not so! With the next three days off, and the next people on all aware of the situation, the clerk must merely get the guest checked in. That's your job. That's it! After that, it's someone else's problem.

Remember, you can only do this in good conscience if they are made aware of the situation, and that you did everything you could do.

I'm sure she'll find out at some point that there aren't any cable connections in the room.

But I won't be there.

Got tips for dealing with passive aggressive people? Share!


lifeshighway said...

I have met a few quite a few BETs in my day and you have described them perfectly.

In fact I am quite sure Smeagol is a BET of the utmost order. You should be at least comforted that your BETs arrive in something more modest that a tattered leather loincloth.

redgirl said...

Always look on the bright side, I see...

And now that you mention it, I'm SURE Smeagol is a bet..all the signs are there lol

Carolyn said...

Tee hee. I was at the edge of my seat. I feel cheated thought, I didn't get to read...the rest of the story.