Retail Rant #1

I’ve been working in retail for over six years now, and let me tell you, it’s no picnic. Okay, I’m lying. Most of the time it’s actually super easy. Except for the people. Now some of the people that I meet are wonderful and kind and a real pleasure to work with. But some of them…let just say you don’t want to be one of these people. Think you might be? I’ve provided a helpful list of things not to do or say to your helpful retail salesman. Read and enjoy.

1. Just because someone is wearing a nametag does not mean you are on a first name basis with that person.

I really really hate this one. I’m just walking through the store, and some schlub I’ve never seen before in my life will say, “Hey Al, can we get some help over here.”

That always sets my teeth on edge. Here’s a tip. “Excuse me sir,” works just fine. Seriously. I’ll assume you’re talking to me if those words come out of your mouth. If you’re not talking to me, I’ll be fine with that too. But do not call me by my name. If you know me it’s not a problem. I have customers who come in regularly enough for me think of them as acquaintances. But other than that, back off. My name is personal.

2. If you want something, just freaking ask!

I will never understand why men are such wusses. I mean, I’m not going to think less of you if you have a question. People ask me questions all day long. It’s my job to answer questions. But when you hang back while your wife asks me where to find the 243. shells that’s when I’m looking at you thinking, “What a loser.”

3. Do not ask “Why does this item cost X?”

Seriously? You really want to know? You want me to download my vast knowledge of economics into your tiny tiny skull? Because if you’ve got an hour we might get close to an overview answer. But it’s not going to change anything. The price is still going to be the price. If you do not want to pay that price, then LEAVE IT ALONE. It’s not that hard. You look at the item. The item costs five dollars. You have five dollars. Now make a decision. Which one do you want more? The item or your five dollars? Not that hard.

4. Stop asking “Why don’t you carry item X anymore?”

This is a question that seems to be burning in the minds of many of my customers, so I will answer it once and for all. There is huge man in a tiny office at the store’s headquarters. In that office there is a button labeled “Stop carrying the things that customer X really needs.” This man’s only job is to press that button. That is why. No amount of whining to me is going to change that fact. I have zero power over any of this stuff. Really.

5. There is no “n” in Mossberg.

Okay, yes, this one is weirdly specific, but it seriously ticks me off. Specifically it is directed at all the rednecks out there. I know you guys may not be much accustomed to reading but take a good hard look at the word Mossberg. Go on, take your time, we’ll wait. Do you see an “n” anywhere? No? Then stop calling it a Mossenberg! You say you’ve been hunting you’re whole life and you can’t pronounce the name of one of the world’s foremost producers of shotguns? How stupid can you be?

That’s all for now. I’ve got more, but I have to go to work.


11 responses to “Retail Rant #1

  1. Nice rant! Have you been following The Daily Post prompts? 🙂 Recent one was on ranting. But really, retail can be a funny world. I’ve worked hardware stores, and a public library. My mom went from being a nurse to selling the produce our family grows. She get’s so tired of the ‘retail’ aspect.

    So, I hear you. And have a good day. 🙂

    • The Daily Post you say? I’ll have to check it out. But really I don’t need a prompt to rant. Rant is my default mode. I have to check myself to keep from ranting all the time. Thanks for sharing the pain with me. 🙂

  2. Tell me about it! I work in retail too. No. 4 is a particularly bad one. Normally the customer will take 10 years to describe something they got in the store 5 years ago and although I know what they might be talking about, I let them go on. Then I say ” yes, I know what one you mean. we don’t stock them anymore.”

    “But you had them 5 years ago!” they cry.

    Yes. Because I and the shop and it’s contents only exist when you are there, and when you walk out the door, we all disappear. When you walk back in it’s like you never left, just how you remember it. Or: We carry that completely stupid object that was a crap seller and costing us money every day it sat on the shelf and didn’t sell just in case you arrive and need one! As if!

    What drives me crazy is that people generally look down on retail employees thinking we must be dumb in some way because we work in a shop. Yet they are the dumbest of all!

  3. Nice rant. There is something really condescending about a customer calling you by your first name.

    Retail is where I learned to be the reclusive people-hater I am today. My very first real job was in a department store. I was being trained during the holiday season.

    • I don’t hate people really. As a matter of fact after six years I think the necessity of patience has made me a much more civil person overall. I’m getting so much better about not jumping into arguments for one thing, so that’s an improvement. But it does leave its marks on you. Not unlike battle scars.

  4. Oh, Al, may I call you Al? I feel your pain. My particular favorite is coupons… I just love it when the customer gets mad at ME for not having any coupons to give them, when they admit THEY left their coupons at home, or better yet, in the car, and can’t go back to get them. Shouldn’t everyone work in retail? I believe we’d all be a bit nicer if we did. Maybe you should channel your energy into a novel. I once wrote a play about my experience working in a video store for five years.

    • You may certainly call me Al. All my blogging friends get a free pass on this one.
      The coupon thing hasn’t been such a problem for me because I don’t cashier that much, but I can see it getting really irritating really fast.

  5. I worked in retail for eight years and found it to be very hard, mostly because it was a troubled store and management was desperate. I don’t mind #1–it’s all about the tone of voice and attitude.

    A lot of things are expensive and some people acted like it was because I was getting such a huge paycheck.
    These were almost always people who were professionals and making 3–4 times what I did.

    I also worked as a waitress in numerous restaurants and front end customer service. It truly burned me out on people.
    Your rant is really quite civil, considering.

    Once I read a suggestion that every person be required to work six month each in a restaurant, retail store and a nursing home and it would be a different world.

    • It would certainly make things better if everyone understood the frustrations of dealing with others. People always get mad when someone it my store gets a little snippy and I understand we should always try to be nice, but if customers remember that the people who serve them have been serving others all day long they might be a little more understand of their sales clerk’s attitude.

  6. Pingback: •ρ• Retail Management « Reflections on Reality

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