For the better part of the last decade I’ve worked some sort of customer service. Curently for a national department store chain, and a hand full of specialty brand retailers before that and nothing has taught me more about the human race than retail. I’ve learned valuable life lessons such as, befriending your boss, befriending security, always being aware of cameras, and avoiding going to work plastered. I’ve also mastered a fake smile and sunny disposition as many other retail workers have, mainly because we’ve realized that people suck at being people who shop. Now the only reason I put up with it, is because I’ve worked hard enough to make a decent amount of money. Enough to pay my bills, gas my car, buy clothes I’ll only wear once, and binge drink. The basics. However the frustration is starting to wear on me. The frustration that is customers.
There are two types of customers. The first is pleasant, polite, and patient. A poor soul who has probably worked customer service before, and kept their insanity. They know. They understand. They are the best kind of people to have shopping in your store and walking this earth. The second is “That” customer. This un-evolved form of homosapien is rude, demanding, and feels entitled to whatever they please. “That” customer is also referred to in the break room of every store as “That Douche”, “That Bitch”, or “That Asshole”. They lack basic human qualities that are required of all shoppers.
For one, we do NOT work for the customer, therefore we do not answer to or have to accommodate their every whim, we are not a concierge service. I can not throw away your half drunken Venti low fat Maccihato, we do not have to watch your personal belongings because you’re tired of carrying them, and we will most definitely not babysit your sticky looking child. We have a job to do, one that is much more demanding than it looks. Our day consists of cleaning, folding, stocking, folding, selling, folding, and preparing the store to close, and more folding. Unimaginable amounts of folding. All while being polite to everyone.
How would you feel if someone visited your home, and trashed it? Not so peachy. Right? Right. Retail workers basically live in their stores, we spend most of our day there. So please be respectful of our home. Chances are the nicer you are to us, the nicer your shopping experience will be. You get what you give afterall. If you’re throwing a fit because the jeans you’re going to try and squeeze into are not in stock after you rummaged through ten stacks of denim, and hours of our labor, even after we offered to help you. Chances are than when you ask to order them, we will simply tell you they’re not in stock, even if they are. And when we offer help, it’s not to bother you, take our help. We ask to find your size so you do not trash our tables. When you ask us if we have anymore in the “back” take our word for it. If we only have three of that item on the sales floor, we are certain we don’t have anymore, or we would have restocked that item. We KNOW, we are here every day.
Now, say someone asked you to borrow a dollar, by yelling at you. Would you give it to them? No. Obviously. Same goes in retail, you the customer, are not always right. Who ever implied that notion into society should be shot. If things do not go your way, if your package didn’t arrive in time, if your credit card is declined, if you have to wait more than three minutes at a check out, do not raise your voice. Needless to say, do not swear or threaten us. We can make your day worse. Way worse, we will in a higher octave verbalize your lack of credit funds, run the registers slower, hell, call security or the police if we have to. Be nice. Nice people get the service they desserve. We will try the impossible for nice customers. I’ve called stores in seven different states to find a suit jacket for a customer, who kept their cool, and simply appreciated the effort we gave to meet their needs. I’ve also told an angry bride to be that I couldn’t call any other stores to find her groomsmen’s suits, because after yelling at her fiancÃ©, she decided to say “Gawd, like where is he? Can that guy be any slower?”. I thought to myself, “Honey, I was climbing shelves in a dusty stock room to help you, but you’re out of luck now and I don’t give a damn anymore.”
Finally, punctuality is key to your shopping sucess. Let’s imagine you’re at work, you get to get the hell out and break out of the office in twenty minutes. Exhilarating feeling isn’t it? Then you boss dumps ten cases that you have analyze before you go home. It’ll take you hours. Is your blood pressure rising? Did you lose all hope? Are you trying to barter with God to get you through it without loosing your last nerve and punching your boss? Yeah? That’s how it feels when you waltz in ten minutes before closing time. See we have lives too. Some of us have a lonely couch, a pizza, and wine to go home to. It isn’t much, but it’s heaven. we’ve been waiting to go home and watch housewives reruns until we pass out, no it doesn’t matter what city it is Miami, Atlanta, the O.C. It’s nirvana. Don’t keep us from that by showing up and demolishing through stacks of neatly folded dress shirts, or filling up a fitting rooms with dresses you had no business to even think of wearing, or asking us to order you blinds for your home. We want to go home. We will rush you out by reminding you every five minutes that were closing and herd you to the sales counter whether you’re ready or not. If you find yourself in our store after closing time, do not. I repeat, do not get angry that the doors are locked. We told you to leave, repeatedly. You decided to stay, now we decide how quickly you get to leave.
Retail establishments and even restaurants strive to give you, the customer, a great and enjoyable shopping experience. All the floor people actually try to do so. Simply remember that we are human, and that we are at our job. We juggle our sanity through hundreds of shoppers a day. Not to mention our superiors, that one kid they hired last week who can barely tie his own shoes but is the manager’s friend so you have to be nice, and that old, entitled, delusional bat who’s worked here over a decade and you swear she loses more hair every time she’s rude to you. Don’t be another person who ruins a person’s work day. Because like I said, we are humans, and humans can be very cruel creatures. We’ve mastered how to be evil towards you without getting into trouble with our employers. So to “That” customer, I simply say, “Treat others as you’d like to be treated. If not, have a nice day, don’t come again.”
Sergio, a known homosexual, lives is Grand Rapids, MI and studied at The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. He is an avid eater, photographer, designer, and a social media and selfie enthusiast. He is also single.
Featured Image Courtesy of Sergio Garcia