How To Deal With Idiots

What can you do when somebody is being an idiot online or being an idiot at your help desk?

Let’s say you sell a service and:

  • Someone pays for the service
  • Someone pays for a subscription


You sell a subscription to software, and somebody doesn’t use the software for a year.

And then they come and say:

“I didn’t use the service for a year. Therefore, I didn’t get any value from it. You should give me access for free.”

What do you do to respond to somebody like that?

You can say something like this:

“Hey! If you were to subscribe to HBO for a year and then you never watched a program, contact HBO and say: ‘I paid for a year, and I never watched a single show. So, you need to get me free access to HBO for a year because I didn’t use it!’”

Let me know what they tell you.

No subscription service will agree to that kind of request!

They would say, “Go to hell”… in a really nice way.

My Simple 3-Step Approach

I have a 3-step approach I use when I face this type of customer. This might be how you can deal with someone who’s behaving like an idiot as well. 

  1. If you can make them happy without it causing harm to your business, just make them happy.

So, if it isn’t a big deal for you, give them what they asked for. Maybe they’ll go away! (About ½ the time they do stop behaving badly and get back to reality.)

  1. If you can, make a compromise.

If you can offer them something as a compromise, that may work too.

You can say something like:

“Well, I can’t do that, but I can do this. Would that be good enough?”

If they keep up the bad attitude, you can skip to the third step.

  1. If there is no room for reasoning, just say, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you!”

If you feel like there is nothing you can do to satisfy their need, you can say NO.

You can say something similar to this:

“I’m sorry that didn’t work out for you. I’ll refund your money.”

You can refund the purchase, but only if it makes sense for you. 

The surest way to diffuse an idiot is to refund their money because they’ve lost all their leverage.

If it doesn’t’ make sense to refund their money, then tell them:

“I’m sorry that didn’t work out for you. We fulfilled our terms of service and will not issue an extension or a refund.”

My Bottom Line: Don’t Take Abuse

One thing I always refuse to do is take abuse from anybody.

Life’s too short!

You should be kind and patient with people. But you should maintain high standards too. There’s a certain point where their money isn’t worth it… especially if they start getting abusive!


Remember: for every idiot, there are several hundred really nice people who make our business amazing. 

Sometimes, we can get too focused on the idiots. We tend to do everything in our power to satisfy their request.

But that’s WRONG!

You can’t let an unreasonable customer derail you!

Focus on the nice people, on those who value what you do.

I know it is easier said than done…But when you manage to concentrate on NICE people, it makes a BIG difference!


So, you can’t avoid idiots no matter what you’re selling. But you can deal with them by:

  1. Offering whatever they’re asking for
  2. Compromising
  3. Saying NO

And THAT is how you deal with idiots.

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