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by Abigail Van Buren

Retail Worker Still Smarts After Customer's Criticism

DEAR ABBY: I work retail and have bipolar disorder. (I have been stable for nine years.) A few Christmases ago, a customer called me "hateful" because I wished her a Merry Christmas. (She doesn't come into the store anymore.) My manager and co-workers explained that she was in a bad mood that day, and it wasn't my fault.

Due to my illness, I am obsessed with thoughts that it will happen again during the holidays, and I won't know what to say or how to react, or I'll think it's my fault. Worse yet, I no longer want to say Merry Christmas again, although I will try. Do you have any advice in case I get another bad reaction? -- GREETING IN THE EAST

DEAR GREETING: You did nothing wrong! When December rolls around, the expressions "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" are very common. If a customer takes offense, all you need to reply is, "Excuse me if I offended you." And if you're still worried about this issue, discuss it with your doctor or therapist.

Read more in: Mental Health | Work & School | Holidays & Celebrations