I work in retail. Anyone who does, or has worked in retail knows how much customers suck. Now, I work in two different shopping centres, for the same company. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I work in the busy shopping plaza in the middle of town. We’re pretty much always busy, and there’s always a job to do. On Thursdays and Fridays, I work in a shopping centre a little further out of town. It is a quieter shop, and I have plenty of time to practice my engraving. But there’s one thing the two shops have in common, and that is the customers, and the percentage of customers that really just suck.
There are a few things that come up regularly, and so I’m going to list, in no particular order, my ten customer pet peeves;
1. “But I can get it cheaper in that other shop”. Oh, really? Well, by all means, go there then. I don’t care whether you want to spend your money here or not, but telling me that somewhere else does it cheaper is not going to make me drop the price. I don’t set the cost of things, I just sell them. Don’t take your stingy attitude out on me, son.
2. “Oh, can you actually do that?”. Yes. Just because I’m a girl, it doesn’t mean that I am incapable of doing the job you so clearly think is reserved for men. Bugger off with your sexism.
3. “Can you get this done for me right now? I’m from out of town.” Look buddy, we’re a busy shop. I have twelve pairs of shoes lined up on the back counter that will get precedence here. And if you knew you were only here for a couple of hours, I’m sorry, but why wait until the last hour before you come up to ask? It’s called time management, people.
4. “I have something to pick up, but I don’t have my ticket.” We give you these tickets, and tell you to hold on to them for a reason. On any given day, we can take in up to fifteen odd pairs of shoes, multiple watches and any number of engraving jobs. Without that ticket, how am I to know what belongs to you? I mean, really. You had one job.
5. “No, I don’t think I want to actually discipline my child today.” Do me a favour, and don’t let your child come up to my shop, and touch everything with its gross sticky hands. I have to sell this stuff, and no one is going to want to buy something covered in child grime. I am not a babysitter, and I am not above telling your child off if you refuse to do it.
6. “Don’t break/run off with/ruin my item.” Yes, because we take in jobs with the intention of destroying them. If you were so concerned with someone ruining your item, why even bother bringing it in? We’re professionals, and we handle customer belongings with the utmost care. And even if I did have the slightest desire to steal your crappy Commodore, you already know where I work, so it’s not like I can run away. Pull your head in.
7. “Please, allow me to come in and tell you how I can do your job better than you.” I have all the correct training, and know how to do my job in the best and most professional manner possible. Don’t come to my shop and tell me that you can do a better job than me, or that you will just do it yourself when you get home. If you think you can do a better job, why even bother coming in? Don’t waste my time with your arrogance.
8. ‘Hi, I have these shoes that need to be fixed, how long will that take?” How long is a piece of string? Coming in and giving me no details is about as unhelpful as you can get. I need to see the shoes to determine what is wrong with them, whether they can be fixed, and how long it will take. Information is key.
9. “Do you mind if I sit here and stare at you while you work?” Yes. Yes I do. Working to time constraints and quality standards can be hard enough without you staring over my shoulder, judging me with your judgy eyes. It puts unecessary pressure on me, and makes me nervous. Go find something else to do for ten minutes while I finish. A watched sales assistant never boils…or something.
10. “Wait, are you closed?” No, we just run our business with the chairs up, lights off and till packed away because we like to make things difficult for ourselves. We have homes, and we want to go back to them. Come back tomorrow.
So, there you have it. The above are things that I deal with on a regular basis. I’ve been on both sides of a sales counter, but I make a point to never be a jerk. Please, for my sanity, allow me the same courtesy!
Disclaimer: the views expressed here are in no way affiliated with the views of the company I work for.