Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lessons From Working Retail

Now that I've stopped working retail for a month, I've got some lessons people who do work retail would probably love to share with their customers (at least, I always wanted to share them).

1. Please stop leaving things across the store from where you picked it up. The products don't have legs, which means they don't return themselves. I could have sworn some days that our products grew legs and moved themselves to various parts of the store.

2. Sometimes we wonder how you got dressed this morning. Mainly because you ask questions that seem to have rather obvious answers. We understand that you may not get the sales posters/fliers/coupons, but how much plain English do we have to interpret? When it says if you buy x you get y, it should be easy to understand.

3. Sometimes we wonder if you actually looked at anything before asking us questions. When there is a big wall of what your looking for and you completely miss it, we start wanting to answer sarcastically, because hello! big wall full of what you are looking for right over there!.

4. If we walk away without assisting you, it may be to control our impulse to roll our eyes or get snippy with you. We're trying not to get fired, but you are making it difficult.

5. Walking up to us to complain that the sale isn't good enough makes us (or at least me) want to roll our eyes. Our store didn't have to have this sale, so you should be happy. I don't really care what the sale was last time, this isn't last time. And your complaining about it before is what had me moving away from you without assisting you in the first place (no, I'm not still frustrated about that, why do you ask?).

6. Sometimes, we don't care about looking in the back for some product. We already know it's not there (we've looked not that long ago), but we'll humor you just in case we missed it last time.

7. If the store is crowded, it's going to take longer to look in the back and get back to you. Mainly because at least one other person will stop us on our way to check asking about something else. We aren't necessarily happy about that, and it may cause us to forget what exactly you look like. It may take 3 or 4 times as long to get back to you because of this.

8. If the store is crowded, please don't wander away from where you were when you asked, it will be harder to give you an answer to your question, because it's harder to find someone you're not completely sure who they are and they aren't where you left them. I understand you are curious about what else we have, but you may never get your answer that way. Exception: if you are moving toward where we have to go look in the back and ask us again as soon as we get back out into the store, we will not be upset with you.

Okay, that's all I have for now. If only I could have thought of two more. Oh well.


Update: I thought of two more, so now it's a nice round ten.

9. This is slightly more of a seasonal complaint, but if the store (and mall) is going to close in 5 minutes, please don't come in and wander around for an hour before leaving without buying anything. There is only so much the people working can do to get ready to close while there are still customers in the store, and we all have been working for a while and are looking forward to going home. Some of us have kids to get home to. Some of us have a dog who is waiting to go out. Some of us would like to let the dog out before we have to go pick up our spouse from their job, and you are seriously making us wonder if we'll get to. And some of us are just plain tired and didn't really want to come in at all today. If you are just looking, do us a favor and come back during normal business hours (the closer Christmas came, the worse this was since the mall was open later).

10. If you walk past after closing and the store is still open because there are customers inside, please don't come in unless you know what you are getting and are going to leave quickly. Otherwise, you are being even more annoying than the ones who came in while we were still in normal operating hours.

In case you're wondering why this is such a big deal, retailers don't normally sweep, empty the trash cans, or close the registers when there are still customers in the store (Wal-Mart being an exception, because they are usually open 24-7). Closing the registers takes longer than you would think (it seems to take at least 30 minutes for 4 registers), and someone has to stay with the manager until that's done, even if everyone else gets to leave.

Yeah, that's it.
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