Today’s rant is about one of the rudest customers I’ve ever seen.
As some of you know, I currently work in sales/retail. From the outside looking in, the store is a very calm and peaceful place to shop and work. The reality is that although it may be peaceful to shop there, it is cray-cray to work there. The behind-the-scenes work that the employees put in was a huge eye-opener to me once I started working.
At any given time, there are usually only three people closing the store: the cashier, the floor person, and the manager. I learned very quickly that each of the three of us are doing the work of at least one other person. In other words, for the employee workload to feel much more manageable, we need about six people closing the store at night, not just three. What makes it so hard?
As a cashier, I learned right away that people WANT to shop in the late evening. Being open until 9:00pm is not good enough… I am convinced that if we were open until 1:00 in the morning, we would still have shoppers coming in five minutes to closing. Here’s a clue: we don’t like that. You’ve literally had 12 hours to shop… whatever you need at five minutes to closing can wait until the next day! The cashier has to close out several registers, take care of trash, pull in inventory from the outside, and ring out the customers who feign ignorance at our store closing hours. That means at 9:00pm closing, we are often stuck at the register for an extra 15-20 minutes ringing people out who came in ten minutes before closing to shop. That’s just rude.
Working on the floor is even harder. As a sales associate, I am required to be at the beck and call of the cashier since she cannot leave that area. You need a price-check? I’m on it. Bathroom ran out of toilet paper? I’ll get it. The customer wants something from the highest shelf in the store? Okay, I’ll get the ladder and get it for them. “Customer Service on Line 1?”, I’ll take care of that, too. In the midst of all that chaos, I also have to return items that people decided they did not want (which I don’t mind doing) and I have deal with “recovery”, which is making sure everything is displayed properly in its proper holding spot. Anything out of place has to be dealt with. This is much harder than it sounds… turning all the paint tubes so that the labels are front-facing is tedious. So is folding a hundred t-shirts that got thrown back into their bins. And we hate, Hate, HATE finding products that someone just dumped onto a shelf when they decided they didn’t want it any more. If you do that, stop. Either put your stuff back where you got it, or give it to the cashier and let her know you changed your mind. We much prefer that over finding jewelry items thrown into the yarn bin, you know?
That last thing floor people want is for the next shift to come on and say that their Zone looks like a mess and that’s why last night’s Rude Customer #1 took the absolute cake.
I worked for one of my favorite managers last night. We work hard, sweat, and try to get the store into tip-top shape before the next crew comes in. As I’m doing recovery, I notice a woman walk in with several unruly children. Immediately, I’m on guard. At one point, I say discreetly over my headset, “These kids are trashing the aisles I just recovered!” My comment met complete silence. I continued to work and hope that I would not find spilled paint or crumpled t-shirts later.
A few minutes later, I hear my manager kindly address the children. “Y’all have to stay with your Mama now…there are lots of breakables here and I don’t want you to get hurt by broken glass.” One of the kids says, “Yes, ma’am” to which my manager replies, “Thank you, Sweetheart”.
A few minutes after that, she’s again gently reminding the children to stay with their parents because Mama is not in sight. And then, all heck broke loose. I hear the customer trying to berate my manager, whom I respect. My manager is firmly standing her ground and telling the woman, “If you come into the store with your children, they must stay with you. That’s any store”. The woman is defiant and tells my boss to never address her children because it’s not her place. My boss again states, “We are closing the store down and getting ready to go home. We’ve spent hours straightening the products that you kids are now trashing.” This infuriates the customer and she tells one of her children, “Just throw that on the floor because she has to pick it up!”.
Wow. Just… wow. Really? Here’s a tip folks… if you are a parent and you don’t discipline your children, I guarantee that someone else will. Either a teacher at school, kids on the playground, or a manager of a store. And if they don’t get through to your children, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect law enforcement to get involved somehow. You don’t get to be an oblivious parent and then get angry when other people notice them. The rudeness of that customer was something special to see. All I can think is that people get back what they put out. Karma is real, People. Karma is real.
CJ Heath hopes that this article will give you pause to think about how you treat sales people and also how you manage your children. Don’t pull Mama Bear out if you weren’t parenting in the first place!