Originally Posted by TheBunneh
She was told she could under no circumstances stand during the transaction, and if she did not sit they would not help her. She ended up standing out in the hallway and talking to the woman from there because she refused to cause herself more physical pain.
I don't get it?
No doubt your MIL was angry and it showed. It sounds like the woman was intimidated my your MIL and felt she was a threat. Or she was just using the sensible precautions she was taught (and which may even be mandatory guidelines she's been taught to enforce).
When I was a probation officer, and when I worked in social serve we were taught under no circumstances to allow clients to stand over us while we conducted business with them. The seated person is much less able to defend themselves should the standing person decide to assault the seated person. The standing person has the advantage, even if the seated person is much younger, fitter, larger, and stronger. Especially if there is no route of escape for the seated person (no doorway behind them, and if they're backed against a wall, even worse). In most bank offices I've seen the only doorway is on the customer side of the desk, and the offices are often so small the person behind the desk has no room to defend themselves or escape.
I was somewhat surprised to learn that my youngest sister got some of the same training for her position as a bank teller - but not entirely. Just as in law enforcement and social service, bank workers and other customer service providers often have to deal with angry people - and an angry person is an unpredictable and dangerous person. Since the potential is for anyone to be angry enough to assault someone, you can't (and would be crazy to) only take precautions against the "dangerous looking" ones.
You may find it ridiculous that the bank teller could possibly be afraid of your MIL, but I can tell you that the people that turn out to be an actual threat are very often the least likely to look it. If you only protect your personal safety around "dangerous looking" people, you're increasing your risk of getting hurt. Some of the worst injuries I've seen (or heard of second hand) have been inflicted by people that no one would have guessed would be a threat (or that they would have been able to inflict as much harm as they were able to).
It sounds like an unnecessary precaution until you get hurt or see someone get hurt in such a situation.