How To Be a Stellar Customer This Christmas Season
I’m not bitter about my job. Really, I’m not. I actually quite like it! Even though it’s not what I want to do, my awesomely hilarious coworkers make it worthwhile. Everyone takes care of each other and well, it’s just all rainbows and unicorns up in there. Mhmm, be jealous.
Though training is somewhat chaotic (as in there really isn’t much of it) the management is flexible and encouraging. I’d much rather have a boss who might be lacking in organizational skills but is fun and encouraging, than a micromanager with no personality. No doubt I’ll have to get used to that kind of boss at some point but for now I’m grateful I don’t.
So my job is awesome. It is truly. I want to emphasize this to those out there who are thinking “aw, poor hun. She thinks her retail job is awesome! *pity face*”. To you I say, you really don’t have to feel sorry for me. I honestly like my job. 🙂
HOWEVER- you knew this was coming didn’t you?- there are things that start to wear on you. While it IS a good job, it is ALSO 40 hours a week of running around finding things for customers who are too lazy to read price tags and too snooty to buy a jewelry box that other customers have touched- *gasp*.
The one truly upsetting thing about my job is the people I’m choosing to label as The Nasties. Now, the Nasties are those customers who walk in and immediately assume you were born to wait on them hand and foot.
They also assume that it’s your job to assist them as quickly as you possibly can and be polite when they can’t seem to remember the manners of a 5 year old. The Nasties choose to come in 30 minutes before they have to pick up their kid from school to come buy out the store. It’s like they’re playing some sort of sick game.
Oh you want a specific example? No problem! I can help you with that.
Today I dealt with several of the Nasties.
The first woman couldn’t point out what she wanted fast enough. As I was going to grab a vase for her, she ran off in another direction saying “Oh I also want one of those. Can you check and see if you have any in boxes?” and before I could answer she turned to me and said “Can you help me with this, too? The other guy was helping me, but he is just being too slow…”
This made me mad. Why? Well, A.) Today was the “other guy” ‘s first day. He had no idea where anything was and was doing the best he could. B.) I already WAS helping her. Did she think I could be in 3 places at once?
So I told her this and she dismissed it like I hadn’t even spoken. She just continued on her glum way pointing out the next thousand items she simply had to have.
THEN, she added, “if I didn’t have to meet this client in 30 minutes, it would be fine, but you know I’m kind of in a hurry.”
If I had a dime…
By this point the counter behind the cash rep was overflowing with her items, and no, I’m not exaggerating. There was NO WAY ON EARTH she was going to be anywhere in 30 minutes with all of this stuff to ring up and be wrapped and packed into her car.
After she made her purchase she kindly informed myself and the other 3 co-workers helping me that she’d pull her car up to the loading dock in the back. At this, my coworker promptly informed her it would take us a AT LEAST few minutes to wrap EVERYTHING that was piled around our cash rep.
She walked out without even uttering a thank you.
AS soon as she left my manager told me not to rush, as I realized I was practically running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off to get all of her items bagged.
Not even 5 minutes later we heard the door bell ring.
That CAN’T be her...
The doorbell rang again. This time she held it down as if she were trying to get the thing jammed. Seriously? I swear our customers act like 4 year olds sometimes.
Oh, and you think she brought an SUV? Um no….She brought a 2 door sedan. Mhmm. She was going to have us load up everything into her teeny tiny little white Mercedes.
Well, Ursula finally managed to drive off with all the items stuffed into that ridiculously small car, – not a thank you to be found- and I had to go cool off.
I realized I’d been working for 5 hours with no break. I’m a very sensitive person so, encounters like this tend to fluster me. One of my managers knows this very well and she always lets me cool down in the stock room. She’s great.
After my ten (that’s what they call a ten minute break in the retail industry. Don’t you worry. I’ll keep throwing tid-bits like this your way 😉
As I was saying, after my ten, I dealt with my second Nasty of the day.
A rather large woman with hair slicked back so tight I thought her face might rip open, and a thickly-applied mask of makeup stormed in and, cutting off my very pleasant greeting, she demanded to know if “every-ting eez 50% off?”
I thought, if you had bothered to read the sign when you walked in here, you’d know.
However, I kindly walked over and told her the accessories were 20% off.
She frowned at me impatiently saying, “I want to know how much off eez this “, all the while not even pointing at a specific object. I had no idea what she was asking.
This… what, lady? Words, please. Words.
When I finally figured out she meant a table, I told her “you get 10% off when you spend $550 or more. ”
She frowned at me AGAIN, and after a lengthy pause she said “I have to spend ANOTHER $550 AND the table to get zee 10 % off?” I glanced down at the price tag she obviously failed to look for, which read “$999.99”.
We are having some serious miscommunication issues
“No ma’am, you would get 10% off the table.” I said, emphasizing the later half.
She cut me off before I could finish arguing “You just said I had to-”
“No ma’am I didn’t.” I corrected her. “The table is $999.99 so you’d get 10% off. ”
In panic mode I replied, “I’d have to go and find that out for you.”
This clearly was not satisfactory, so sneering at me she said “you do zat”, through her very crooked Armenian teeth.
“It’s $100 off, ma’am” I said, interrupting her as she had so rudely done to me for the past 10 minutes.
Then I added forcefully, “10% of $1,000 is $100 off.”
I wanted to throw in a loud “Duh” but by the grace of God I somehow managed to hold my tongue.
She looked back at the table while I stood there looking at her husband, who seemed nice but failed to say anything while his wife assaulted me with her questions. I think she was still saying something when I turned, but I didn’t care.
I walked away and dang it if I didn’t start crying!
Yup. It happened. I teared up. I just couldn’t believe how rude she was to me. Am I sensitive? Yes! But it’s the taking things personally aspect that tends to be my biggest downfall.
*Deep Breath, Alyson. Deep Breath*
So. AS I’ve stated, there are the Nasties. I don’t want to discuss them any more. They put me in a bad mood. So let’s talk pretty!
On the completely opposite side of things, angels exist! And they exist in the form of what I’ve deemed worthy to be called the Pretties.
Now, the Pretties are the ones who assume we sales associates are busy and politely ask us if we might possibly have time to help them.
The Pretties are kind enough to wait patiently while we looks to see if we have something in stock.
The Pretties help us remove foam packaging after we’ve gone to the trouble of climbing to the very top shelf in our storage room to retrieve their boxed item and bring it out to them.
The Pretties thank us for our troubles and see us as human beings.
The Pretties assume we are intelligent and they appreciate our good attitudes and our willingness to help.
Sometimes the Pretties even throw their arms around our necks in celebration when we help them decide on a center piece for their party! This has only happened to me once and it very unexpected as well as simply delightful.
The Pretties compliment us and tell our managers that we are an asset to the team.
The Pretties are my favorite people and will win my love anytime, anywhere.
Do I have a point in writing all this?
Nope. Not really.
It’s just been such an eye-opening experience to witness the way some adults behave when they don’t get their way.
Maybe it’s just California…more specifically maybe it’s just Los Angeles.
In any case, I guess the moral to the story is this: no material possession is worth treating someone else like they don’t matter or are beneath you. Please pause and think about how you are coming across to others this season- it’s supposed to be a season of giving and of joy and of peace!!!
I know you already know how to be an awesome customer, because most of you know what it feels like to be on the other side. This is new to me because, as my sister so readily pointed out, this is my first retail job. Though I expected some rudeness, I never expected to see it as frequently as I do.
So if you’re in doubt about your level of prettiness vs nastiness, just ask yourself if you’re being appreciative and patient with the person helping you. If the answer if yes, you’re golden. If it’s no, just remember people in retail are not getting paid enough to deal with anyone’s nasty.