Life, Writing
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Let’s talk about appropriate customer behaviour

Do you hear that? That is the sound of retail workers all over the country sighing in relief.

It is now far enough into January that most stores have wrapped up their post-Christmas sales. The best bargains are all gone and the dregs are left to sit on a lonely little shelf tucked away in the back so the pretty new things get primary focus.

Can I give a shout out to all my fellow sales people out there, we made it! We survived relatively unscathed but with lots of stories to tell. I am not joking when I say that sales in general are tough, but the post-Christmas ones in particular are our Superbowl. There are more customers than ever in the store, the stores get trashed doubly so, and we sales people encounter every bad customer possible. Seriously, it’s like they all decide to descend at once and force their stupidity on us.

And so, every year at this time, I loose my faith in humanity just a little bit and seriously question the life lessons that have been taught to my fellow humans. I do not mean to be rude, mean or harsh when saying this, but I know my fellow sales workers would agree that the actions and attitudes of some customers leave me bemused, confused, and feeling abused.

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There is the beautiful majority who come in and go about their shopping fully aware of the situation they are in. They are polite, they are understanding and they keep their voices at a respectable public level. But, there is that pesky minority, who just don’t seem to understand that the world does not revolve around them.

So below I have compiled a small list of handy tips to keep in mind when shopping. While they are especially relevant during sales, I’d also recommend following them in your day-to-day shopping activities.

  • No, the sign stating a particular product’s price doesn’t mean everything in the store is that price. That’s why is says the name of the product on the sign.
  • Yes, I do work here. That’s why I’m wearing this gorgeous, flattering uniform with the company name plastered all over it.
  • Don’t stare at my boobs when asking me for help, it’s creepy.
  • Put your rubbish in the bin, please. It’s not that fun to find half masticated hot dogs in a bin full of cushions. That makes me feel sick, and throwing up on customers is generally frowned upon by management.
  • I’m not a dog. Don’t whistle or yell at me from across the room. Use your inside voice and come up to me and say hello.
  • I like to talk to you and help you. It’s not only what I’m there for, but it also makes my day go a lot faster and can be quite fun. But when you talk to me like I’m a piece of crap that you stepped in, it does make me want to help you less. Sorry, I can’t help that. I have feelings too.
  • I understand that you might change your mind about a product and can be bothered to take it back or remember where you got it. But rather than shoving it onto the floor and under the shelves into the depths of darkness where it is then found 6 months later and cannot be sold again, just leave it on a shelf. I’ll put it away.
  • I’m sorry but I do not have control over the price of a product. My manager doesn’t even have control over the price of a product. We are the little people in these corporate machines, and yelling at me won’t change that.
  • Please control your kids. Shops are not playgrounds. They have breakables and they have lots of other people also trying to navigate their way through the madness. If your kid is crying because of one of the many reasons kids cry, then I feel for you. Goodness knows trying to shop with children is difficult and I would never hold that against you. But if your child is running around like the spawn of satan, pushing trolleys into people and throwing products off the shelves, then I’m going to get annoyed. Have a little respect for the place you’re in and all the people around you and maybe stop them from knocking the walking stick out of the old man’s hand.
  • My job description does not prevent me from drinking some water when I’m feeling a little thirsty, so don’t death glare me when I do. It’s allowed.
  • When I’m with another customer and you interrupt and demand service first, you know because you’re more important, I will tell you to wait your turn (politely first, but it might get forceful if you keep doing it).

Now I totally understand that there will be many a customer out there who would have some bad stories to tell about a sales person or two. But it’s hard dealing with the above every hour and not everyone is good at hiding it.

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