My partner works in a book store. Because of the way the company is set up, she mostly works alone (95% of the working day).
She has a regular "customer" (I use quotes because he never buys anything) who will come in and hang around trying to talk to her. She's been working in book stores for a long time and knows how to deal with people like this pretty effectively, but this guy just won't give up.
She's tried variously:
- Using short answers,
- Telling him she's busy, or doesn't have time to talk,
- Ignoring him and going about her work,
among other tactics. But this guy just doesn't get the hint. He'll follow her around the store, continuing to talk, if she's serving an actual customer he'll even stand to the side, wait for her to finish, then carry on. This usually goes on for over an hour, and regularly only stops after she's closed the store.
She's had plenty of creepers who are inappropriate or threatening who'll step over the line, and when that happens she's not afraid to be assertive to get it to stop (and it works), but this guy never pushes it that far, so it's never got to that stage. He's basically benign, but just won't get the message.
How can she get him to stop talking to her when all this has failed?
Is there a firm (and polite, if possible) way to tell the customer to stop bothering her?
Bare in mind this is a shop where she works alone. She can't shut the door, go out to the back room and wait (she'd have to be there for literally an hour), or deflect him onto another staff member.
While we can't rule out the possibility, there is no reason to treat this as if he is romantically interested, that is to say he hasn't made any advances.
Note: This happened several years ago and was only resolved after we moved to a new town. I'm asking because I'd like to know what she can do if this happens again in the future.