10 Stories from retail workers that will make your office job feel like a dream
If you have ever worked in retail, you'll know how much of a pain it can be. You'll always get fussy customers, whiny children and people who threaten to complain to the manager if they perceive anything to be below their expectations. On top of that, the pay is normally awful, the days are long, and, by the end of a shift, you never want to see the interior of a store again.
With that being said, some experiences involving customers go way beyond the usual level of insufferable and turn out to be exceptionally bad. Here are 10 stories from people who worked in retail - as well as a couple of my own for good measure.
1. The customer is always right
The other night I was in the process of putting up packs of paper towels. I picked up two of them and walked down to where they were at. I then did what I usually do, I dropped one pack on the ground so I could use both hands to put the other up on the shelf. (they aren't heavy, just easier to handle and finesse this way)
A customer had been standing nearby as I did this and she piped up, "You shouldn't do that."
I turned to look at her. "Do what?"
"Drop the paper towels like that," she said. "It bruises them and makes them less effective."
I just stared at for a moment before putting the second pack on the shelf and walking away.
2. Children are a nightmare - but parents are worse
For a couple of years, I had the pleasure of working in a toy store. For the most part, it was pretty fun, but I often encountered some pretty whacky parents. The most memorable of these was a woman who not only allowed her kid to open up products, pull stuff off shelves, and generally wreck the store, but also gleefully filmed the whole thing on her phone.
3. Some people just don't think
He takes one look at my arm tattoos and flips out on me, calling me a hippy and so many other insults. Now, I can take some heat for it because I'm a pretty well-mannered dude. However the best insult came as I was ringing him out. This guy told me "Go get a job" as I was ringing him out.
He told me to go get a job, while I was at my job, taking his money.
4. Math isn't everyone's strong point
I once got into a pretty heated argument (well, heated on her side) with a woman who believed I had given her the incorrect change. I showed her the receipt, allowed her to check the till display, and even counted out the coins and notes so she could check it was all there. Unsatisfied with all of that, the customer demanded I fetch a manager... who said the exact same thing I had. Needless to say, I felt pretty smug when she finally left in a huff.
5. It's like the store signs are in a different language
Mom: How much are these pants???
Me: Those pants are $34
Mom: They were supposed to be ON SALE
Me: Yes, they are on a buy one get one for a penny sale.
Mom: But they rung up $34!
Me: Yes, you have to buy 2 to get the sale.
Mom: Well I only want ONE.
Me: Well, you have to buy 2 to get the sale...
Mom: BUT, like I said, I only want one!
Me: then they will be $34...
Mom: But, I want them on sale.
Me: Again, ma'am, because they are buy one get one for a penny, if you only buy one, there is no sale.
Mom: That's not fair! I only want one, I should still get the sale price.
6. Christmas Eve is the worst day of the year
A lot of the more sensible people reading this will probably have already bought their Christmas gifts, or are waiting to steal some bargains on Black Friday. If you're not one of those people, that's cool - you do you - but please, please don't go into a store on Christmas Eve and expect them to have all of their best-selling items in stock. It's a busy period for retail workers, and sometimes products sell out faster than we can order them back in. Plus, screaming at us isn't going to make them magically appear.
7. Some people really take the p*ss
Man: Excuse me, do you need a key to the rest room?
Storeworker: Yes, you'll need to see one of the managers.
He storms off angrily, then comes back up to the counter as I'm ringing up his wife. Now he's even more in a huff.
Man: I don't even know why it's locked, it's out of order anyway. (There was an out of order sign clearly hanging only on the urinal.)
Storeworker: I'm sorry for the confusion sir, it's only the urinal that's out of order. The toilet is still able to be used.
Man: I don't want to use the other one like a five year old. (Storms off)
Seriously?! You don't p*ss in a regular toilet at home? Only five year olds use the toilet in your family?
8. Please don't touch
You know how some of the more valuable products in stores have little 'don't touch' signs? Well, it seems that staff should have them too, as so many people thought it was fine to just grab me while I was trying to do my job. Of course, I didn't mind a tap on the shoulder, or even a light touch on my arm to get my attention - but it's not fun when somebody full-on grabs you by the waist or puts their arm across your shoulders.
9. Can you check the back?
On a regular basis we have people asking us to "check the back" and normally we just point out there is not a back room, but today I had a customer who refused to accept it's non-existence.
After letting her know there was not a back room, she turned to her companion and "whispered" she's just too lazy to check", pretty annoyed from hearing that, I decided to open the ladder cupboard, pulled out the ladder and the little feather duster we keep in there, turned to her and politely said "I am sorry, after checking the backroom, I can confirm we have no more".
The lady looked annoyed and told me "you don't need to be so rude".
10. Respect the bathroom
I'll keep this one short: you wouldn't smear poop around your own bathroom, so please don't do it in public.
For all those working in retail over the holiday season: you have my sympathy. And for those that aren't: be grateful!