I’ve been a retail manager for the last nine years. It’s not my ideal job, but in this day and age of a lot of people not having jobs, I guess I can’t complain too much. When you work at a particular occupation for as long as I have, you tend to pick up on customer trends that annoy you, make you laugh, and inspire you to write blogs.
When it comes to customer service, it seems that restaurant servers and bartenders tend to get the most sympathy from people. For instance, my former girlfriend would over-tip each and every time she paid for one of our meals because she acted as if every server was like one of the last two remaining pandas left in the world.
Anytime you hear of a waitress getting stiffed on a tip, the story winds up on Yahoo news and goes viral within days.
But what about retail workers? Our jobs are a daily grind, we have to put up with a lot of stuff from argumentative and entitled customers, and we don’t even get the opportunity to get stiffed on tips, because they don’t exist for us.
But there are things that customers can do for retail workers to make their jobs a lot easier.
Here is a list of those things in no particular order of importance:
- When handing your money to a cashier, actually hand it to them. Don’t place it or THROW it on the counter for them to pick up. Especially change. That is the worst, and it’s quite demeaning to have to fumble around while picking up dimes and pennies off of a hard, slick counter. By doing this, you’re almost saying to the person behind the counter, “I’m better than you.”
- If there is an item of yours that does not scan, don’t crack a joke like, “must be free, hahaha!” We’ve heard it a thousand times, really.
- If you get into an argument with the owner or manager of a store, don’t take it out on the 16 year old cashier when you go to check-out. If you couldn’t get anywhere with the owner, what’s some teenager going to do for you? Nothing, they don’t care.
- If you see a news story on CNN about some recall on beef due to a viral outbreak, don’t call up your local grocery store and ask them if the meat they’re selling “has any of that Mad Cow disease.” You can’t look at a piece of meat and tell if it’s infected with a deadly virus. And besides that, grocery stores don’t have microscopes and other devices that would be used to test for any sort of contamination. They do have Spam, though, and the preservatives in Spam are way too strong for any sort of mad cow.
- If you do happen to buy a piece of meat that is perfectly safe, don’t ask that same 16 year old cashier how they would cook it. They’re 16, and you’re like a grandmother and stuff. How do you not know how to cook? “We’re going to grandmas this year for Christmas? Noooooooooo! She always serves Spam!”
- If you get waited on by that same 16 year old cashier, don’t be offended if they don’t smile and say “have a nice day.” And if you are offended, please, keep it to yourself. Don’t call the store later and mention it. Did the cashier swear at you? No. Did the cashier put your bread in the same bag with stuff that would smash it? No. Well, then don’t worry about it. We’re talking about a teenager. They’re still trying to figure out life. If the worst thing in your life is having to deal with a cashier that didn’t smile at you, you’re probably living a pretty charmed existence.
- If your local store is out of something, like milk, for example, trust me, the owner/manager/every other employee there is already aware of it. You don’t have to remind them of it, and it is certainly useless to ask someone if they have any milk in the back. Why would they leave their milk case empty on purpose?
- When you’re reading a sign on the shelf, please read the whole thing and not just the price. The item description is there for a reason. If you pick up a huge container of coffee, rest assured that that bad-boy is pretty expensive. If you think it’s only $3.99, you better read that sign again. It’s probably for the price of the creamer that’s displayed right next to the coffee. Why would a giant container of coffee that serves like three dozen people be only $3.99? And when you get to the check-out line and discover the real price of the coffee, don’t get angry at the cashier and cause a scene. Just read the darn sign.
- And one last thing: If you have a dispute with the owner/manager/any employee, and you say something like, “I’ll never come in here again,” trust me, nobody is going to care that much. Why? Because, generally, people who work in customer service aren’t going to be obvious jerks to you. If you’re getting angry at a store employee, chances are, it’s over something silly like them not accepting your coupon or not letting you get “just one thing” 10 minutes after the store is already closed. Believe me, store merchants don’t have meetings like: “Mrs. So and So said she’s never coming back. What can we do about that?” More likely, what they’re saying is, “can you believe how irrational that woman was? We don’t need customers like that.” And chances are, you’re probably going to come back to the store in the near-future, and when you do, you’ll just look silly.
Well, I hope this list was helpful. Study it and put it to good use the next time you venture out to shop.
Most retail workers would surely appreciate it.
Almost as much as a tip.