Brought to you by: Fish Out of Water, Nicolas Cage, Kitties and procrastination.
This post is inspired by the latest post by Fish Out of Water over at Sincerely, Slapdash (click to read) which got me thinking about my days working retail. Yes, I agree with the assessment of rude retail workers. There are many. However, reading about rude retail workers also incited some rage against the customer in me, left over from those good ol’ days. You see, I was one of those friendly retail workers (which is saying a lot for someone as shy as me). I’ve been told many times by friends that I’m a totally different person when I work customer service. I loved joking around with people. I once sold a membership card to someone by telling him that he was ruining my life and I was going to cry if he didn’t buy it. Obviously I was kidding, but hey, it worked.
I’ve had customers that were so rude that the fake smile came right off my face despite the fact that I’d drawn it on with permanent marker.
So here’s a tip that both customers and employees can follow: TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WISH TO BE TREATED!
Oh, I’m sorry. Did I sound like your mother for a second there? Please remember that there are human beings standing on either side of the desk. Well, most of the time. Other times you might be serving Nicolas Cage.
As pointed out in the Slapdash post, it is rude to chew gum/avoid eye contact/not smile/speak in a foreign language to your co-workers while ringing through a transaction. Actually, most retail establishments have rules about all of these things and if none of the employees abide by them, its more a sign of poor management than anything else. Ever heard the saying “Happy wife, happy life”? Same goes here. When you spend more time at work than at home with family, if conditions are poor then attitudes are bound to be as well. Let me tell you, I’ve had my fair share of monster mangers (I don’t use the word ‘hate’ lightly, and I hated these people). That being said, there are some pretty rude behaviours on the part of customers that come up quite frequently, so without further adieu, here is my list of atrocities committed against me by the general public while on the job:
1. Hang up your damn cell phone, or at least put the person on hold.
As a cashier I longed for a sign like this… but NOPE! The geniuses at corporate thought it was too rude to have a sign telling customers to “Line up here” (which resulted in all sorts of chaos, customer infighting, and name calling… the cash desk at this particular job was rectangular for heaven’s sake!), so you can imagine what they might have thought if we’d written and posted something like this. These are the same lovely corporate geniuses that think it’s too unfriendly to put mirrors up in blind corners to deter theft, and then wonder why losses keep mounting… um… DUH.
But I digress. The absolute worst is when you have a customer on a cell phone that doesn’t acknowledge your existence, throws the purchase down and hands you a $20 bill for a $50 purchase. You try to get their attention to point out their error, but they are far too engrossed in conversation, so finally you give up and just stand there. After a few minutes go by, the customer finally says into the phone, “Hun, could you excuse me for a second? The idiot cashier is taking 2 hours to ring through my one item purchase” and then turns to you, “What the hell is taking so long!?” They don’t even apologize when you politely point out their error and the fact that you’ve been desperately trying to get their attention for the last five minutes at least. What planet are you on!?
2. If you think that someone who gets paid $10/hr (if they’re lucky), is obligated to approach every single customer they see in order to ask if they need help and has to disappear to clean human feces from cubicle walls every 30 minutes, is a suitable baby-sitter then by all means, leave your child unattended. But I must warn you:
Yes, I will chase your child and its new kitten when he or she runs out into the mall and risk my job all because that cellphone call or Anya’s botched nose job are more important than, you know, making sure your offspring are safe… but I will hate you for every second of it. Oh, and I may call Children’s Aid.
3. Yes, I do realize that you are very busy and important, and that I (with my 6 years of higher education, struggling to find gainful employment in this shit economy) am vastly inferior since I merely ring through books at a cash desk, or make your coffee all day; however, I did not wake up this morning trying to ruin your life. I am not your wife, mother, shitty boss, boyfriend, or a-hole co-worker, so whatever happened to you during your day, please, do not take it out on me. I just work here. I did not put milk in your espresso macchiato (which you would know if you’d just feel the weight of the cup instead of shrieking at top volume that you SAW ME COMMIT THE TERRIBLE CRIME). I did not put the restrictions on that coupon you have that expired 5 years ago. I also am not responsible for the difference between American and Canadian pricing and I don’t have time to give you a lesson in economics… besides, who am I to teach you anything? I must be stupid and uneducated. I work retail. Duh. I forgot. But seriously, there’s only so much I can take while trying to keep this smile on my face!
4. If my computer breaks down you may only offer “helpful” advice if you are being kind and understanding. If you’re going to treat me like an idiot, even though I stand here for 40 hours per week and have to deal with this on a daily basis, just walk away. I’d rather lose your business. Yes, I have to call the help desk and no, I can’t just press ctrl+alt+del. But if I could I’d ctrl+alt+del your face. True story.
It’s too bad I’m not working retail right now. I probably wouldn’t even try to suck it up and be nice to the rude people. I’m too pregnant and that is just too hard. Nah, I’d probably just blast laser beams at them from my eyes, roar, and then use them to curb my insatiable preggosaurus appetite.
Okay. Enough of this 1,000+ word rant. I wanted this to be funny but I think it may be too soon and the bitterness is seeping through. But maybe you enjoyed the kitties? Stay tuned for a future post about horrible bosses and why they made me want to flee the country/gouge my eyes out/go postal and then flee the country… or something less dramatic like walking out on the job while remembering that there is much more to life than retail (which is what actually happened).