After two threads complaining about customer service in grocery and retail stores I'd like to make a thread for the employees.
Don't you hate it when it's the night before Valentine's Day and someone's crappy boyfriend is holding up the last ratty box of candy complaining about why you don't have more?
How about the customer that is trying to return their "new" microwave, yet it has Hot Pocket residue caked over the inside and the instruction booklet is so faded you can't even read it?
How about the customers that shop late at night but write letters into corporate to complain that they had difficulty shopping because of all the merchandise being stocked?
How about the customer that shows up at your register 20 minutes after you were supposed to go home, while your light is off and your closed sign is up with a few cans of baby food. You've already counted down your register so you can't help them anyway, which gives them cause to throw the cans of baby food at you and scream that now their baby is going hungry because of you.
My biggest pet peeve when working retail was people who knew very well that the mall closed at NINE PM regular hours yet would STILL turn up at 8.55, then proceed to spend 20 minutes wondering around making a WISH LIST and NOT BUY A SINGLE D*MN thing. Yet of course we cannot get on with closing procedures, which take half an hour ish with 2 people, because there is still a customer in the store and heaven forbid customers see CLEANING PRODUCTS.
Or, the people who come in, spend 20 minutes asking you questions, then say, 'oh I saw it online so I'm going to buy it there" even though said item is THE SAME PRICE in store. WHY would you not buy it in store, where you don't have to pay for shipping and then deal with a crappy shipping company? And, lets not forget the other 5 customers waiting to be helped who would have actually bought something in store but got bored waiting because of you. That was my worst one, and believe it or not did happen more than once.
I could go on. But I'll just say I'm glad that tomorrow I get to go to the Mall and say hi to my retail buddies, then leave again because I no longer work there, am doing my Masters, and consequently never ever working retail again. 6 months was enough. I'll take the barn any day of the week, even though it pays less.
"Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
"With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
I really enjoyed working retail (six years total). It really helped my interpersonal skills as a shy teenager. But tough customers are the worst! (i.e. anyone who starts yellin'/complainin' at you for something out of your control) When I worked for a small bakery and things weren't right with the cakes people could (rightly so) get very upset but as the middlewoman I had nothing to do with production! That was rough sometimes.
Where humidity isn't just a word, it's a way of life.
In younger years I worked both waitressing and retail; boy do you see both the very best and absolute worst of people!
I think the best was seeing random strangers pay the bill of military customers with a "Thank you for your service" (Desert Storm). I also loved the customers who would take the time to compliment us to our manager or corporate when we gave great service or went above and beyond for them.
Worst were customers insisting you give a discount or do something you were not allowed, while using the
"I'll tell your manager/corporate you did XYZ (some horrible thing that would make you look like scum) and get you fired if you don't" line,
or, my personal favorite,
"You won't give it to me free/let me return an obviously used and tagged with "no returns" item/let me sneak out the door without paying/give it to me half off/ serve me before this line of people who have been waiting twice as long patiently.....because I'm black/green/foreign/gay/cuter than you or whatever" line.
People who have not worked retail really never believe how often the above lines are actually used.
I worked retail for a 8 years in a small tack store and saw some real doozies. I agree about the people who would come in at the last minute and then complain that we did not have whatever it was they wanted nor did we have time to order it for them since they needed it NOW.
I had a customer come in Christmas Eve and buy her husband a new saddle and all the accessories. It was about $2500 worth of tack and took about 20 minutes to get her checked out and all the gear to her car. I was nearly done when another customer came in and asked that I help her find a particular bit when I was done with the current customer. She went back to the bits and patiently waited for about 15 seconds before starting to give me an impatient stare. I finished with the first customer and as they were leaving with their last load (approximately a minute later) the second customer threw down the bit she was holding and stormed out of the shop sobbing and yelling about not getting any help. I had told her several times I would be right with her, but apparently a minute and 15 seconds was just too long to wait for a bit on Christmas Eve. It was just weird. Overall it was fun though and while the crazy customers stand out in my memory, they were vastly outnumbered by all the awesome ones.
5 years in a grocery store...it definitely helps toughen you up to people and their nonsense!
I always liked the customers who would ask me (I'm 5'1", btw) to reach something on the top shelf. Especially when said customer was already taller than me. Yeah,, no prob, I'll just magically grow now...
I had someone go from pleasant to screaming over the course of a few seconds when we wouldn't take US money.
Was screamed at and called a bitch (with a side dose of threatening behaviour/body language) because we ran out of free gift cards - when I made a note on his receipt that he was still entitled to one and could pick it up after Monday. That one ended with all 3 of the managers kicking him out of the store.
Oh man...I'm sure we all have enough stories for a book!
Lots of nice customers as well - the regulars, who you'd see all the time, especially.
My first job in HS was in a Linens & Things-type store. Mostly it was EXCRUCIATINGLY dull and time passed unbelievably slowly.
You had to love the people who came in five minutes before closing, just when you were almost done re-folding and organizing all of the bath linens, and proceeded to mess them all up again. To this day I am very cognizant of not holding up the staff at or near closing, and I always re-fold any item (towels, clothes, what have you) neatly and put it carefully back in the right place.
I don't work retail, but I was told about one of my crazy neighbors at Kroger. He shops at night, uses one of the motorized carts because he has emphysema (mind you he still smokes). He got to the checkout and there was a woman with a small child checking out...she had stopped for a prescription and while they were waiting picked up a couple of things.
I guess things weren't going fast enough for him so he yelled at the woman and child to move her lazy ass. (Yes, he's really crazy.) The checker lit into him, he started screaming at her. The woman with the child turned to him and said "Jesus loves you." Well, he went completely berserk at that.
The manager ended up kicking him out of the store.
I live in a small town; there are no secrets.
"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant
-Sunday afternoons - the "churchgoers". Apparently they would get all their niceness taken care of so they can some of the rudest, most impatient people in the store. Up to and including threatening to essentially picket the store because it took more than 30 seconds to be waited on.
-Working holidays - customers coming in last minute and getting upset because they need that grill part and they work hard all week, what do you mean, you closed at 730pm on Memorial Day - don't you know they want to enjoy a family barbeque? (HINT: we didn't volunteer to work until closing and are missing a family barbeque as well).
-Working as intalled sales manager - customers don't understand how weather can effect a front door install. No, our installer is not prepared to install your front door with two sidelights on your front porch with no overhang, in a downpour. Yes, water will get into your house and into the walls. Yes, rescheduling is the best option. No, we did not plan the weather just to ruin your day.
- Customer service - No, cursing and yelling at me will not get that product returned without a receipt or original box, or without a receipt and when the bar code will not scan. The person working in the department is not lying to you - if we cannot find the product on the shelf and he doesn't recognize it, we either did not sell it in a long time or never sold it.
On the other hand:
Man fixing up his father's house needs just a few floor tiles to fis up the floor in the kitchen. The tile was disontinued, but I called the company and one box was sitting in one of their warehouses. It was about a $20 purchase, but he sent a lovely note to the store manager, thanking me for taking the time to help him out.
The couple that looked for me when they were ready to make their purchase ( got a comission off it) because they remembered that I was walking out to lunch and stopped to help them look at flooring for an hour and didn't pressure them into a sale.
Retail had its good and it's bad. For every customer that comes in a bad mood and his hence rude to the employee, customers can remember that employees can be having bad days also.
An old boss of mine also said to take into consideration how much people were getting paid - he didn't expect nearly the same customer service from Walmart or the local grocery store, in large part because they got paid half of what our regular employees got paid.
I work retail and it's truly a test of patience. I work in a farm/feed store and we have a lot of "good old boys" who HAVE to have their way. I've been verbally assaulted for not knowing something And sometimes just flat out ignored because they don't want help from a woman.
I am a friendly and outgoing person but I have my limits. I don't get paid nearly enough for putting up with the crap that I have to on a daily basis. I just keep telling myself that this is a temporary gig while actively looking for another job.
Try working at a bank, it's brutal. No, i don't get to keep a percentage of the high service fees you pay. It's not my fault you went bankrupt and now I can't give you a credit card. Don't scream at me because the borrowing rates are too high and the investment rates are too low. Don't talk to me like I'm a piece of crap you wiped off your shoe because you stormed in and no one was available to see you on such short notice. I could go on and on, people and their money, I tell you
"My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.”
― Anna Sewell
Once after closing I locked the door as usual. I was emptying and shutting down the register. A woman approached the (locked with the "closed" sign up) door. She knocked. I looked up, mouthed "I'm sorry" and shrugged.
She kept knocking. Then the rattling of the door began. She didn't leave until after throwing her body weight against the door to make it rattle as violently as possible, for about a minute.
When the book store I worked at closed we had the door locked each day while we did inventory and got things ready to ship to other stores. However one day a co-worker of mine forgot to lock the store door behind them when they got back from lunch.
Some guy walked in and wanted to return a book. The computer system was completely shut down and we explained that the store was closed (for good!) and he'd have to try another store in the franchise, about 60 miles away.
He REALLY gave us an earful which was just so annoying that day because we were all working long shifts to get the store completely taken apart (and our closing was sudden).