Personal interactions can be a complicated thing, and when the parties conducting the interaction are devoid of any acceptable level of perspicaciousness, the challenge of maintaining clear communication rises exponentially. Said more simply, when two people both suffering from Cranial Rectal Insertion cross paths, the sparks can really fly. After all, that's what happens when stupid people collide.

And when it occurs in the workplace, someone's going to have to clean that mess up.

It happened a couple weeks ago, but as things are I just have not had the opportunity to address the issue. A customer at a Walmart store in Deer Park, TX, upset at the way she was being treated, head butted an employee in the store. Media stories related to the incident refer to the employee as working for Walmart. I believe, in the interest of clarity, that she actually was a tax preparer working for Jackson Hewitt, who operates offices out of certain Walmart locations.

It seems the customer believed she received bad service while getting her taxes prepared at that particular Walmart. Casual observers may point out the initial flaw in this story – she was getting her taxes done at Walmart. We don't know why she felt the service was bad; perhaps it made her late for her colonoscopy, which was scheduled immediately after on the muffler rack in the automotive department.

Anyway, our rocket scientist 28 times removed returned the following day to do some shopping, and alleges that the tax preparer “started talking trash at my husband. Her curtain was open about this far, and she mumbled under her breath some profound language. I turned around and said something back, and she got out her cubicle and chased me to the entrance.”

Believe you me, I've shopped at Walmart. I like Walmart. Walmart is my friend. But I can assure you that people there will not cotton to any profound language. It simply will not be tolerated. Someone clearly was askin' for an ass beatin' with their multi-syllabic profundities. Also, I am not sure how someone “gets out their cubicle”. Was it stored somewhere? And wasn't it difficult carrying it through the store?

By the way, there is a video of this entire exchange, which you can see below. It seems where once people intervened to help or prevent escalation, they now just whip out their phone and hope for a genuine YouTube moment.

Anyhoo, the customer apparently did not like being followed by a woman and her cubicle, and decided to “head butt” the employee. As the video demonstrates, this did not work as one might have anticipated. The employee, a much larger woman than our head butting Einstein, grabs her hair, takes her down in one fell swoop (or one swell foop), and proceeds to mop the floor with her.

Clean up on aisle 5. Cancel that clean up call. We've mopped the mess up, using the customer.

Clearly multiple mistakes were made here. The employee had no business using “profound” language, particularly to people who get their taxes done at Walmart. She was just asking for trouble. Second, if the customer was rude or abusive (and there is a better than average likelihood of that), the employee should have sought out help, rather than potentially escalating the issue. Once it came to blows, the employee had a right to defend herself, but probably would not have had to do so if she had simply walked away. I am willing to bet that Walmart/Jackson Hewitt policies were likely not adhered to in this case.

The moral of the story for employers is don't hire people who act stupidly; and if you do, make sure they don't encounter customers whose stupidity exceeds their own. That combination rarely ends well.

As a side note, the most disturbing thing about this entire affair is the blatant racism displayed by the commenter's responding to the media story I referenced earlier (the customer in this story was white, the employee was black). The vast majority of them seem to think, despite what the video clearly shows, that the aggressive head butter was the black person. Even those who managed to muddle through the simple facts available in the video still had really foul things to say about the African American employee, as if she had been the provocateur.

And most of those commenting morons wouldn't know what a provocateur was, even if it head butted them in the face. It just goes to show that stupid people just don't collide. They post as well.

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