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Win at Work!: The Everybody Wins Approach to Conflict Resolution by Diane Katz PhD

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Chapter 8. Challenge 5 Deal with a Client's Anger or Allow Him/Her to Continue Shouting?

Some events in my life, although minor, have stayed in my memory because they were so different, striking, or dramatic. One such incident happened years ago when I lived in New York. I had gone shopping for shoes, and went into a small boutique shoe store in Forest Hills, Queens. I was looking around when a well-dressed woman, holding a leash with a poodle on the end of it, wearing a red bow on its head, walked into the store.

She was holding a shoebox. When the salesman walked over to her, she told him she wanted to return the shoes she had purchased. He told her he would be glad to take back the shoes and give her a store credit.

"Oh no, I don't want a credit; I want my money back," the fashionable woman stated firmly.

The salesman explained that he could not give her cash, only a store credit. The woman repeated that she did not want a credit; she wanted her money returned. The salesman then pointed to the sign next to the cash register, which read very clearly, that store credits only were given on returns.

The woman looked at the salesman, paused for a moment, and then said, "If you don't give me my money back, I shall scream until you do." The salesman looked at her, totally nonplussed. He assured her that he truly regretted her upset, but could only give her credit; it was store policy.

At this point, much to the salesman's—and my—astonishment, the woman began to scream at the top of her lungs. ...

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