I used to read articles online about bullying and how to stand up to bullies. Too bad I never paid attention. I thought I would never have to deal with one. But just because I never encountered a bully in high school didn’t mean I wasn’t going to meet one at work.
It happened quite by accident really. A very humble guest of ours, Val, asked me to accompany her to an exhibition in one of our halls. I thought I was going to be a mere accomplice in her shopping spree. Little did I know I was going to be a part of a heated argument.
The problem: the salesperson Uzma charged Val with a staggering amount of 300,000PKR on her credit card! When asked to sign the receipt, Val almost flipped! It’s a lot of money! Val asked them to cancel the amount and even reduced some of the things she bought. But Uzma blatantly refused. In her defence, she did show the amount to Valerie before charging her card. Uzma said that the amount couldn’t be reversed and that the only solution was to return the amount to Val after she received if from the bank. And with that she took another swipe of her card, charging her for the now reduced stuff.
It wasn’t that she was clad in black clothes from head to toe that gave off witchy vibes. It wasn’t the smokey eyes or the perfectly blowdryed hair. She was really a witch. And another rhyming word. She kept repeating her dialogues again and again like most customer services people do when they’re trying to get their customers to put the phone down.
“The money is in the bank. As soon as I will receive it, I will give it to you“.
Yeah, riighht. You’re just going to return 3000$. You couldn’t cancel the charge as soon as you charged her which was way quicker. Instead you will go through the trouble of waiting for the money, converting it into dollars and then giving it to Val. Yeeaaahh, right!
Things continued on smoothly before Uzma lost her patience with the story telling. Everyone got very pissed. The girl who was sitting at the couch, who was Uzma’s sister (from another mother clearly because she was way prettier), turned to me:
“Why are YOU even here? Like, why? This is between us and Valerie. YOU have nothing to do with it!”
“Oh no, I was just..”
“If she went out and bought something for herself, would you follow her there too? Well, would you?!”
Ummm, I’m a petite person (of average height but just a little thin) and I swear to you there’s nothing intimidating about me. Or my presence. Or the way I talk. Why she got the idea that my presence might scare them into giving her money back was beyond me.
Every time I opened my mouth, she tried to shut me up by repeating one sentence again and again, something she must have learned from her bitch of sister:
“Why are YOU asking so many questions? WHO ARE YOU?”
I would have very much like to slap her in the face. But my morals don’t
allow me to hurt mentally defected people.
Because Uzma sensed that the drama wasn’t based around her anymore, she said:
“LISTEN, I told you I will give you the money back. When the bank gives it to me, I will give it back to you. Right now, I don’t have the money. The bank has the money. It’s their law that the money can’t be reversed. I can’t do anything about it”
She said that about fifty times. I wasn’t counting but in pretty sure. My ears are still ringing with the echo of her made up voice.
I knew for a fact that an amount charged at the credit card could be reversed. I knew the cancellation was possible. But every time I tried to explain it to her, she shut me up.
“You see, you could have cancelled the amount…”
“YOU DONT UNDERSTAND WHAT IM TRYING TO SAY! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO REPEAT MYSELF! WHY ARE YOU ASKING SO MANY QUESTIONS?!!”
I couldn’t be rude to her because she might have complained against me and I would have been handed a letter saying my services are no longer required. But no way was I going to let that bitch get away with it.
So we called Visa and put in a dispute claim. They listened to the whole story and I hope we don’t have to repeat it again because I will puke if I have to. They rep proved to be extremely helpful, saying that the customer is always right and they will take Val’s side over the Merchant. They were quite reassuring. Such a delightful change from dealing with a crappy, arrogant saleswoman. I am a quite positive she might get her money back ( that’s almost a month’s rent for the room she’s staying in)!
So in a nutshell this was my experience of my very first encounter with a bully. They try and intimidate you. They insult you. They are mean to you. They cut you off when you have a good comeback. They stare at you like they’re going to beat you to death. And they will keep getting meaner. And they will continue to insult you if you don’t stand up.
So here’s how I think one should deal with bullies:
1)Keep calm no matter how hard your heart is beating inside your chest.
2) Realise that they are not so strong as they might seem. Most bullies are just insecure beings who have “issues” that they refuse to deal with. And these “issues” cause all this aggression you see.
3) Don’t take anything they say seriously. Don’t show any signs of anger even if they are insulting you. Instead stick to neural statements like “I don’t understand why you’re saying that” or “I don’t know what you mean by that”.
4) Keep mimicking them. If they are interrupting you, you should interrupt them too. Copy their tone. Copying them might confuse them and they might see a reflection of how annoying they are being and eventually shut up.
5) Laugh at their serious comments. It WILL throw them off their game a bit.
So there you go. My first encounter with a bully. Delightful knowing what insecure people they are. And here I thought bullies only exist in high school.