I'm looking for something better than "take shit". For example, "The clerk refused to take shit from the enraged customer." Specifically, I'm looking for something less vulgar. I looked at the question as f**k, but this is not quite the same, as "shit" is not being used as an intensifier. I thought about using the word "abuse", but that seems more intentional vs. the more random or spontaneous behavior that I tried to convey in my example.


2 Answers 2


I don't take guff or backtalk from customers.

They both mean disrespect — or comments that are impudent, insolent, or argumentative. Rude, completely unwelcome. Instead, I've said:

"Oh, I don't seem to be able to help you. Let me get someone who can." The subtext is I don't take shit from anyone.

Customer Service sometimes has success in de-escalating calls by showing empathy through validation:

"Yes, I can tell by your voice that you're upset. That I understand. Will you let me help you?" The subtext is I don't take shit from anyone.

  • 1
    Perfect. That is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks! Jan 10, 2021 at 0:08
  • It may be perfect in American usage but would not be well understood in Britain, where people would not “put up with” it.
    – Anton
    Jan 10, 2021 at 8:24
  • What language is this?
    – David
    Jan 10, 2021 at 20:04
  • Backtalk is AE, and Back talk is UK Oxford Lexico. Cheeky? Jan 10, 2021 at 20:17
  • 1
    Note that, in the US, 'guff' sounds -very- old-fashioned. Like 'malarky'.
    – Mitch
    Jan 11, 2021 at 19:23

How about would not stand any nonsense?

  • SNow, although I must admit to have disapproved of some of your contributions to this list, I applaud you for an answer that is clear, straightforward English. To your rhetorical question — Yes indeed!
    – David
    Jan 10, 2021 at 20:07

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