Tag Archives: retail

Christmas in Retail

The first rule of retail, is you do not talk about retail, especially online.

Everyone who works in retail usually speaks of nothing else at this time of year.

Merry Christmas!

It isn’t your usual customers that cause Xmas time grief, some of whom predictably piss you off on a weekly or monthly basis, it’s your “blow ins” that often leave a residual bitter taste on the palate.

Expecting more than you can provide, or often simply the extra presence of blow ins can cause all kinds of calamity such as: Creating a bottleneck at the registers, which in turn creates excess Tsk! or the very fact that you are under pressure to perform more quickly for more people, causes your regular customers to get the shits.  It’s a vicious cycle, and those who act surprised have short memories.  I am speaking from 20 or more years experience in the game, and while this may resemble a whinge, I pride myself on my customer service and that of my team.  I believe you “create your own customer” and good service isn’t really that hard if you have the training and skills.  But I also believe in working smarter, not harder, so when I have to work harder I’m not a happy Cowgirl.

So what’s this got to do with you?  Simple. Don’t be an arsehole whilst you are Christmas shopping. Do not assume people “get paid” to fix up your shit. Fucking with the merchandise and leaving it strewn from ear to toe across a shop just makes it difficult for everyone.   Leaving your food rubbish around the shop or in the carpark instead of in the giant, very obvious bin.. you’re just a lazy prick and it just makes you look like you have mucho disrespecto for the people who work there.  That’s how you get spit in your burger.  I don’t presume anyone I know personally would be child like enough to behave like this, but it helps to spread the word.

It’s Faux Pas for me to discuss this, and is generally frowned upon, but I’ll let you in on a little secret….

If you want good service, be a good customer.  Simples!

On the plus side.. and Yes, people can be offended by whatever they damn well like, and people can chose to be not offended by anything  so let’s quit the “what not to say to……” bullshit articles. ..  it makes for some damn funny stories at Christmas parties. You could be one of my hilarious joke stories. At least 500 people will make you famous.

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So you’ve forgotten to take your medication…

or… the customer’s rules to shopping.

Ive mentioned this a few times on the book of the face, but the list is becoming ever more expansive. It is a whole universe, expanding and expanding ( depending on who’s theory you believe) so Ive decided to revise the whole list.  This actually came to me from an internet post, which I am unable to locate any longer, which was simply entitled “the rules of the customer” and for me it struck so much of a chord, I printed it out and hung it up in my office at the time.  It began before there were memes such as Retail robin, and, had I been more savvy to the ways of the internets in the mid 2000s  to ’08 internet trending I would more

Meme about retail workers brings us closer

than likely have claimed to have invented such a thing.

It consisted of the following rules, which seem to make me laugh every time. Just like a Meme, it’s funny because it’s true.. and if you find it funny it’s usually because you can relate to it.  Purely from the observation of people who work in retail, who find it just that little bit easier to cope with the constant barrage of abuse given us on a daily basis, if you can turn it around onto the perpetrator.  I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone has been guilty of some of these. This is my version of the rules of the customer that I found years ago, and every one of them is the truth.

It starts with #1. The customer must forget how to read upon entering the store. 

There are clearly printed directions on price, size, date of the end of the special, and other information…which if we  pretend it was vital for their survival, it is comparable to perhaps, driving on the road. Stop, Go, look left, NO stopping ( that is debatable as to if most people actually even read that )  pretty well known information you’d assume,  but this similar fundamental  information seems to escape the comprehension of a lot of folk when trying to buy things.

#2 The customer must always find the cheapest deal if you let them.

This is a special breed, that make it their sole mission. They think they’re pretty smart, and often will reach a fever pitch of elation when they feel they have “out smarted” the store or company.

They will come in with a particular agenda.. mainly to “get the best possible deal” they can try to scam out of the place.  I know everyone is looking for value for money, but there is a particular stereotype of shopper who will look for mistakes.  For instance  the sign  ( which, miraculously they seem to be able to read THIS time) says 15kg bag $94.95… customer will find a previously advertised “Bonus bag” on the shelf which is 18kg for the price of 15kg. This fact is clearly printed on the packaging of the bonus bag.  When brought to the counter, the bag scans at the previously advertised regular price, and all hell breaks loose. “This bag clearly says 18kg for the PRICE OF 15!, you HAVE to sell it to me at the advertised special price on THIS sign!!”

First reaction is to clearly state “Calm your tits”. But I don’t. That would be a complaint straight to Head office. ( a common threat and rule #3)

who am I to argue? They just saved themselves $40 by being ridiculous.  They think they’ve won. They go away happy, arrogant and calling you an idiot for something that was beyond your control. There is no cure for that.  Accepted.

#3 The customer must always threaten your job when unhappy

I dont think I know of many jobs where such a threat comes up as often.  A customer, when unhappy seems to think they have a Swiss army knife of defense that is called “complaining to your superior” .. aside from maybe Telemarketers and call centre folk who I am sure are barraged with complaints daily. In my combined 20 years of on and off retail, I have had the following threats.

  • That he/she knew where I lived ( creepy.. im so scared)
  • That I had “ poured a bucket of shit on (his) head” and he was complaining to my boss..
  • That he/she was going to come back and shoot me
  • That I was a fucking bitch who deserved to die
  • That I was a liar and….
  • To be punched in the face.  Yes, I caught someone stealing, and their response was to launch at me arms swinging, just as security arrived and dragged him swingin’  fists, from the building.

and then comes the old favourite.. I once had a woman bang on the closed door of the store ( merges into rule #4) and demand to be let in, claiming that by her watch she still had 7 min to shop  (on a Sunday). When I refused to even open the door, she rang the store and told me this: ” I still have 7 mins, you

You close when I want you to!                                       s

ve closed early”.. “No”        say I… ” Our clock, by which time we both OPEN and CLOSE the store says it is 5pm” ( logic of this escapes said person)  “Well”.. says she                   ” Your customer service is just  shit! I ll be writing an email of complaint tonight … so…. good luck keeping your job!!!” … I’m sorry you feel that way………..I draw on my retail basic training…. meanwhile just thinking. you are the weakest link.. Goodbye. Fuck head.

If only.

#4 The customer must assume the store is open 24/7

As with the above story, people for some reason seem to think a retail store is like an online store.  Always open, always ready for them to shop!  real world, people.. evades the shopper in 2012.

Let me tell you that every single one of the people who served you today has one eye on your sale, and one eye on the clock. Despite any guise that they are interested in what you have to say, that they seem interested that little pookie needs a new winter coat

see ya suckers!

to wear.. they are really just counting down the god damned seconds until they can disrobe from their often ugly uniform and re-assimilate into the world of real people and regain some real actual personal opinion… I’m a real boy now!

The most commonly thought of thing, when a customer is banging on the now closed door, referencing with sign language to their watch, as though that is supposed to mean something to the people on the inside… is.. Youve literally had ALL FUCKING DAY, to come in and get what you want.  AND When you have  actually managed  come in the door, as it’s half closed at 2 mins to closing time, expecting full customer service.. we all HATE YOU.

#5  is TBC….

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A Roller Skating Jam called Saturday.

Im just going to preface this with the clip.


Today I had surprise work. I dont normally “Do” Saturdays, so it was a step off into the abyss that is ‘Saturday retail’.  It is known to be our company’s biggest trading day, and it brings with it some gems.

Saturday retail is nothing like the roller skating Jam. Unless of course you have managed to jump on some good pingers or some other kind of ability to become disengaged. Hallucinogenic or not.

Today I had an engaging assortment of personalities that went like this:

Fake hair,

Fake Contacts,

Fake tits,

Fake tans,

an Ice Junkie who wanted to sing whatever was on the radio at the top of his voice whilst shopping for Rabbit things,  a customer who sighed and moaned and ummed and ahhed and then when I told her the price she counted out the coins for me as well as the $50 note,  as though I was an imbecile. I hadn’t the heart to inform her that she had vegemite ( I hope) smeared from one corner of her mouth up to her ear.

One of the things Ive done in the last 10 years in retail, is grow disaffected to people’s attempts at self elevation , by putting you down… or…  to misconstrue the way things are put across.  When I turned up to work, as a replacement for someone, I had opened the store late.  My first customer exclaimed. ” What’d ya do? Sleep in?”  again… not my fault you wanted to rock up at the crack of 9 to buy something dude.. but I guess Im on your time now.  Nope.  I said…wasnt me. They dont need to know why exactly I was reefed from my bed at an ungodly hour on a Saturday.  Nor do you, but it involved something equally as crazy and fitting for the day. Nothing else really surprised me.


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