I have always wanted to make a post about working in retail, because for some reason people really just don't get it. People are under the impression, it seems, that retail workers have it very easy. Now you're probably thinking, "well retail can't possibly be that hard." The work itself isn't hard (most of the time). But the work itself can be mentally and physically exhausting. Not only do we have to work holidays and weekends, but our hours are all messed up. We don't get to come home at 5 or 6 everyday. There are days where I am at the store until 3 AM. We spend time away from our families during holidays to meet the needs of the holiday shoppers. We work Christmas eve, the 4th of July, new years eve, you name it. Here is some things people need to realize:
1) We don't just sit around all day doing nothing.
Rarely do we ever just sit around. In my 3 years of retail, never have I ever had a chance to just "sit around." There is always something that needs to be done. I worked a 12 hour shift before, and the only time I got to sit down was on my 30 minute break. Anybody in a customer service industry can tell you that if you have time to sit around, you aren't doing your job correctly. There are days where I need to fill 8 different shelves and help 4 different customers all at the same time. As a customer, snapping your fingers at us and yelling for us to come over to you, will not make the process any easier for us. I understand the frustration of needing help and not being able to find it, but I promise that we will get to you if you're confused. We don't intentionally ignore customers (even though sometimes we might want to), so if you feel like we are, let us know. You can do this in a polite way, I promise. There is no need to yell at us and accuse us of bad attitudes. A simple "excuse me ma'am, but I need some help" will do just fine. Chances are though, we will always come up and greet you first.
2) We don't make company policies.
This is an exception for privately owned businesses. There is this common misconception that we set store prices, marketing, product availability, store hours, and even sales tax. I have had several customers in the past, yell at me because of sales tax. Obviously, my store out of the hundreds of stores in the nation set their own sales tax. Moreover, we were specifically targeting you this time when you walked in the store. We thought "how can we make this specific customer pay more" and thus, raised the sales tax. The sales tax is in no way set by the government. That is obviously some conspiracy. We set sales tax based on each individual customer. Also, we make sure to hide all of the products people want. Our back room is a never ending abyss of items, almost like a Mary Poppins bag. The backroom is like Narnia. Our shelves are always stocked with every single item, but we just choose to not put them out because we want to inconvenience you. And yes, we specifically hid those items from you. There is no possible way we could be out of any of our items since we have complete control over our shipments.
I hope people understand that this is sarcasm. Although for some reason, people are under the impression that this is true. I promise that although we try to make sales, we do want to do what is in your best interest. If you don't want to buy something or are looking for a certain price range, let us know. Yelling at us at the cash register over something beyond our control will not solve the problem. Our job is to understand the policies, and even then we don't always 100% agree with the decisions the company makes. We also want to do what is in the best interest of the customer. If you're confused about something or are looking for something specific, don't hesitate to ask. But understand, that we are aware that being out of a product is an inconvenience and we will let you know when we should get it in.
3) There is a huge difference between helping us improve and being a jerk.
Constructive criticism is one thing. We all make mistakes. We aren't perfect people. We may forget to take a sign down, change a price tag, or even scan an item wrong. But understand, that most of the time we have been running around for the last 8+ hours. Obviously we're tired. If something seems wrong to you, point it out to us. Let us know that we need to improve on something. New flash: you can do this in a polite way. If a total seems wrong, you can ask "oh I though this cost x dollars" or even "how much did this item cost." Saying "that can't possibly be right. You obviously messed up," will not make me magically fix your total. 99% of the time, the employee is comfortable with the promotions and knows how things should ring up. If coupons are involved, we know how they work. We know what works for each coupon. Heck, we even allow customers to use expired coupons sometimes (this might vary by store. Don't hold me to this). I have been called incompetent at my job by a customer for the fact that I would not allow her to stack coupons. At my job, we only allow coupon stacking on Black Friday unless the coupons came together. We customer service employees can tell when you're lying about your coupons. Don't tell us you miraculously went against company policy at our store yesterday. We are all familiar with the way things work since we're there practically everyday. Again, we aren't out to get you. We do want to save you money and we will honor your coupons if applicable. Understand, that after so long we don't get upset after yelling at us. We get used to it after a while. Therefore, yelling at us will not benefit you in any way, shape or form. Just be a decent person. I have been called uneducated, incompetent, and many foul names in my retail career. It comes with the job. Causing a scene to embarrass us will embarrass you even more. Don't be that person.
I hope everyone can appreciate the people who work in customer service. Shopping in general can be a very stressful process, but I promise we will try and make it a little easier for you. Just be polite and I promise the whole experience can be a little bit easier. :)