Dear Jido – March 2023

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Dear Jido,

I was grocery shopping this morning, and a fellow customer was furious at an employee at the store for something that sounded like a very minor incident. She was talking to me and other customers about contacting the manager and trying to have the employee disciplined. I frequent this store often and while I walked away without saying anything, I’m wondering if I should go back and warn the employee.

Signed, 

Trying To Help 

Dear Trying To Help, 

This type of question comes in many shapes and sizes. Whether it relates to business, friendships, or family matters, many times we hear things that seem to be ominous, and we want to do something to help. Gd bless.

 But there are so many variables to consider: 

  1. Was the woman just blowing off steam or was she serious about “getting even”?
  2. Would the worker get fired as a result or just reprimanded?
  3. Did you really believe and accept what seems to be her “lashon hara” against the worker because she said it in front of many people all at once

If you have reasonable grounds to believe that the worker could be harmed by this customer then, yes, you have an obligation to warn her. That applies any time you see that there is a clear and present danger to anyone. The preferred action would have been to try to diffuse the anger so no lasting enmity or harm would result. Obviously, it is too late for that. 

On the other hand, if the worker really did do something seriously wrong, then perhaps the owner SHOULD hear about it from the customer in order to prevent loss to him or his business. In her agitated state though, it seems obvious the customer would not have relayed the event with all of the preconditions necessary for a “beneficial” conversation. 

The next time you go back to that store, if that employee still works there – then no harm/no foul. If she’s not there, then chances are it’s not the first time someone has said something to the boss about her. 

Bottom line, while we all like to be treated with respect, sometimes we have to slow down, close one eye, and give the other person the benefit of the doubt. 

Jido