While I try my hardest not to let rude customers bother me, sometimes I am shaken anyway. And lately, instead of huffily taking care of the next customer (who might be perfectly cheery and nice), I take a moment to feel sorry for that rude customer. Rude people can’t be happy, deep down. Somewhere in their lives, they are lonely, or unfulfilled, or frustrated, and the only way they can look at the world is by thinking everyone is out to get them. So they come into my line, interrupt me as I’m just trying to do my job, and attempt to make themselves feel better by making me feel awful. I soldier on, not missing a beat, and try to give them the biggest sincere smile I can muster before they stalk off. More often than not, I probably look more constipated than sincere, but I attempt it anyway. And then I turn to my next customer, knowing the chance is very low that he or she is also that rude, and start all over again. But I still try and feel bad for that rude old man, or that snappy woman, and wonder how things got bad enough to make them act that way.
I hope no matter how frustrating things get in my life, I never resort to that withdrawn, bitter place.