Thursday, April 06, 2006

A letter to all of you retail shoppers out there.

Dear Customer,

I just thought I'd take a moment to write you a little letter. I like you most of the time, but there are a few things you do that just get under my skin. In order for our relationship to continue to be a friendly one, there are a few things you should know.

First of all, when I ask you how you are, please answer me with something like "Ok. Thank you", or "good, and you?". I don't deserve to be ignored, and I don't need to hear about how crappy your day is really going; I don't really care. It is my job to be polite and nice. Please try to make my job easier by giving a simple and polite answer.

If I ask you if you need a bag, just say "yes please," or "no thanks". I don't need to know WHY you may or not need a bag. I don't care if you're walking three blocks and need a bag with a handle. I don't care if you don't need one because you have a cupboard full of them at home.

When I check your money to see if it's counterfeit, it is not a personal slight. Counterfeit is a huge problem in our area, and the store takes the loss if we take counterfeit. Do not get offended. Also, please don't try to be witty by saying "It's good, I just printed it this morning!" I've heard this joke before. I hear it everyday. It wasn't really funny the first time I heard it, it definitely isn't funny the fifth time I hear it in a day.

If a product doesn't scan properly, it doesn't mean it's free. Just like the counterfeit joke, the "It's not scanning, it must be free!" joke is NOT funny.

When there is a line and I call a second cashier to open up the other till, please don't push and shove and think you're all so clever when you beat other people to the second line. It is childish, and it reminds me of the fights we used to have in kindergarten when kids would "budge." On the other side of this argument, if someone else beats you to the other till, who cares? Grow up and chill out.

I HAVE to tell you how to properly use the slug bait you are buying. I HAVE to warn you that it is not only poisonous to household pets, but that it might even attract them. It is the law. It is not funny, or even slightly amusing when you tell me that you'd LIKE it if the neighbours' cats eat it and die. In fact, I can even refuse the sale to you for being so ignorant. I meant it when I told you that you needed to move into a strata where pets were not allowed. Pets are a fact of life. Get used to it.

I don't know you very well, and it is rude when you ask me "What ever possessed you to pierce your eyebrow?!". It is my job to be polite and nice to you, so I will play along, but I'd like you to know that you asking me about it in such a way, would be similar to me asking you "What possessed you to wear that shirt today?". The next time you ask me with that same attitude, I will try my best to be polite, but my new answer will be "I did it for personal reasons." And if you push me further, I may throw a bit of rude back at you.

Yes, I try my best to give you good customer service. Yes, I will take you right to the item you're looking for instead of just pointing, but this does not make me your personal shopper. It is not my job to run all around the store to find and pick out every item on your list.

Please don't expect me to let you return an item that is not in the packaging. I WILL call the manager to see if he will approve the return, but in reality, I wish you weren't wasting our time returning an item worth $4, when you didn't even take the care to make sure that it was still saleable.

Please don't answer your cell phone when I'm ringing your purchases through. Who ever is calling can wait a minute or so until you are done. There are people behind you waiting, and I'm often left standing there waiting to be handed your cash or credit card. It is very rude and freekin' annoying. Also, when you've come to me for help with a project, please don't answer your cell phone. I will CONTINUE to walk away every time you do this; there are other people who need my attention more than you obviously do.

Just because I'm working in a retail job doesn't mean that I'm an idiot. It doesn't make me beneath you or of less worth. Yes, I am paid to help you and to be nice to you, but that does not mean that you have the right to treat me like dirt and to be rude to me. Go take your crap somewhere else, I have my own crap to deal with.

When I ask you if you need help, you can tell me what you need. You don't have to necessarily "ask a man" when all you need is a tube of wood glue or paint mixed. I know just as much about this as any of the other men in the store (except maybe for the managers). Just because I'm a woman, doesn't mean that I'm stupid.

All that being said, please keep on bringing your cute kids, parrots and puppies into the store! I love kids and animals, and it is always a joy to spend half a minute interacting with them.

Also, keep on coming in when you're in a good mood and feeling chatty, just realize that it's a good idea to end the conversation when a line is forming behind you.

Thanks for your time, I will be seeing you soon,



PS. As per requested by Sarah, I will also ask you to please supervise your children while they are in the store, as it is NOT my job to clean human faeces out of display toilets!


LB with extra bags in the trunk, in a drawer and hanging on the back of the kitchen door. said...

Ahhhhh...... sounds like another great day in the retail world!

CeCe said...

To those of you who can't see all of L.B.'s "name", it says

L.B. with extra bags in the trunk, in a drawer, and haning on the back of the kitchen door.

LB~I wasn't trying to imply that all this happened in one day... but I'm sure that it reminds you why YOU haven't come back AGAIN!

Sarah said...

HA! You sure bring back some fond memories of MY hardware store days...

First of all, when I ask you how you are, please answer me with something like "Ok. Thank you", or "good, and you?"
By a man, I was once told, "Well...not so great. My wife kicked me out so that's why I need to buy plates and stuff."
By a woman who was buying locks I was told that her (ex?)boyfriend is a con-artist and had taken most of her stuff. She was buying locks to protect the rest.
By another woman I was informed that her husband has been dead for two days.

I refused to sell rat poison to a man who told me he was going to kill rabbits and raccoons with it. He blew a hissy fit.

I was once greeted on the telephone with laughter and this: "Put a MAN on the phone." They were all busy and I told him so. He proceeded to ask me if we have any moss killer. I had scored 96% on my pesticide dispensing certificate, which was higher than everyone else in the store (men, managers, them ALL).

I wish I had a livejournal then.

CeCe, you should have mentioned that it's bad manners to let your kids crap in the toilets on display. ;)

debambam said...

Unfortunately any customer service is the same, at times it's extremely rewarding and others it's just sucky! Great post!!

Mr. Fabulous said...

Boy, that brings me back to my retail days. It's a tough gig, CeCe, no doubt about it. And I did it a long time ago. People have gotten a lot ruder since then.

Because of those days I try to always be polite and friendly at the register. Or with the folks at the doctor's office. Or with my server at the restaurant. Those are tough jobs, damn it. I know when I was working a register during a long day it meant a lot when a customer would smile and give me a kind word.

Evan said...

That's got to be the best post of the weeks worth I have read, man every single point read- I have done.
I really had no idea EVERYONE cracks a joke at the failed scan, I always feel abliged to give a reason for needing a bag (Catholic guilt damn you) and what do you mean the fake note gag is not funny. Thought I brightened up the cashier's day!!???
That being said i try to always remind the checkout guys that in other countries they get a stool to sit on and don't have to pack our items (somehow it does not make them feel much good!!!)
Cheers for a real laugh tonight- classic CeCe!!

Melora said...

Good post. It's been twenty years since I worked in retail, and now you've reminded me how much I hope to Not do that again. Every job has its miseries though. (Except, perhaps, being CEO of a major corporation, where you get millions of dollars in bonuses for laying off thousands and jetting to meetings in exotic locations on the company dime. That's what I'm thinking I'd like to get into.)

Joyce said...

Yes, well said. One day in my naivity when the safeway clerk asked if I'd like help out with my bags, I thought I was being clever when I said, "No, unless you want to walk me home." From the look on her tired, determined to be friendly face, I realized how totally UNFUNNY that must be when you hear it fifty five million times a day. I think clerking and waittressing must be some of the toughest jobs out there. Brian used to manage the Keg and he'd say how parents would prompt their children to say "thank you" when they themselves had repulsive manners.
great post

Paddy said...

I really want to come shop in your store *evil grin*

Candice said...

i would say a very great post...

i understand your frustration..

Ill do mine..

yes they are real,
no that didnt hurt.
no i dont speak french
and no that didnt hurt either.

Man people and their repeatitive questions, and "jokes"... its gets old after a while, and then you just get mad at people.

Have a wonderful rainy day.

Nicole said...

Oh, I have so much to add. I definately get all of those customers, well, not all. I work at the Beer Store. I don't know how your stores are there in B.C. but in Ontario, we have a beer store where we sell just beer (customer, please don't ask for all those other types of booze, this is the Beer Store, that is what we sell). I don't mind the cheezy jokes that are really old, I have fun thinking of stupid comebacks right at them. I love the conversations but the folks that come to the Beer Store are generally more fun to give customer service to then the places you work. Here's my beef: at the Beer Store we sell the beer but we also buy back the empty bottles. Customer, when you bring back the empty bottles to be recycled, remember, they are going to be RECYCLED and you will probably drink out of them again. Don't bring back bottles filled with cigarette butts or rotten beer that's been sitting there for the last winter. And DEFINATELY don't bring back bottles with syringes in them!!! Yup, last weekend I found a bottle with 2 needles in them. SICK!!!
Thanks for letting me add this long piece. :)

Tricia said...

When I worked at a grocery store I was always quite chatty with the customers. Once I was told:

"that's not funny. Nobody wants to hear you talk. My husband died yesterday"

So I felt like crap, but how could I have known? really.

I have definitely seen most of those customers in your entry. I'm SO glad to no longer be in retail, but every job has it's bad points...I don't have to take any crap, but I have to clean it up now - lol.

Laurie said...

Don't you just looooove working with the general public?? Ack. I feel your pain...

Amy said...

I know your pain, I work in a liquor store, a privately owned liquor store at that. I get all of those and then some. Today This lady (around 30 years old) had two bags (both with two bottles of wine in them(1.5 litre bottles at that)) a six pack of ciders and a twelve pack of beer. I finish the transaction, and the lady looked at me with contempt in her eyes and said "I guess I'll have to make two trips" Being the nice cashier I am I offer my help. I pick up the two bags (four bottles of wine) she picks up the six pack of ciders looks at me again and says can you get that (pointing to the beer) So I say "sure I'll take the beer too." We get outside its pouring and she has parked as far away from the store as possible. We get to her vehicle she opens the door and starts moving things around leaving me standing there. She finally looks up and tells me exactly where to put her purchases, then looks at me again and says "oh your pregnant, you should get inside its cold out here." No thank you, nothing. So still being nice I say have a nice day and walk away. I get inside and my co-worker was like "yeah its really nice for that lady to get the eight month pregnant lady to carry all of her purchases" All I keep thinking about is less than a month and I start my maternity leave.