DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm in college and work as a customer service representative at the campus copy and print shop. Frequently, customers will come up to the counter wearing headphones and will not remove them or pause their music while I discuss their order with them.
Although I always try to be patient with customers who do this, it frustrates me, and I consider it rude and disrespectful. It makes the transaction take much longer, because I will need to repeat questions and explanations several times (since these customers aren't able to hear what I'm saying).
Is their behavior out of line, or am I just overreacting? And is there anything polite I could say to try to correct this situation, or should I just continue to smile and repeat myself in the most pleasant tone I can manage?
GENTLE READER: Why say anything at all to people who are obviously not listening?
You could just stand there smiling and waiting expectantly. When the customer inevitably demands why you are not speaking (and with any luck, takes off those headphones to see what is being missed), Miss Manners would say, "Oh, I was afraid that you wouldn't be able to hear me, so I was waiting until you were ready."