Working in retail can be a hassle and a bore. Holding in everything you’re really thinking and keeping that chirpy, client-facing attitude pasted to your face all day while servicing impatient and entitled clientele only makes it more agonizing.
Which is probably why these retail employees posted these true confessions on Whisper. No doubt it was cathartic to express their feelings anonymously and no longer suffer in complete silence.
Scroll down to find out what secret thoughts shirt folders, register workers and other retail employees are hiding behind those professional smiles. If you’ve ever worked in retail, you’ll undoubtedly recognize some of them.
1. The person who insists the back-room is the size of Texas.Dude, it’s probably a 30 square foot room with like 6-10 boxes, two of which are full of clothes hangers. So no, believe it or not we don’t have a medium sized, pewter colored version of that shirt lying around in the back. However, we have no qualms with wasting five minutes playing on our phones while we halfheartedly“double-check” for you. Come to think of it, this person is as much a blessing as they are an annoyance, because sometimes you needan impromptu break, and their adamant request that you search for a non-existent product provides one.
2. Epic mess makers. It’s unclear how some people do this, but if unfolding and carelessly throwing clothes were an Olympic sport, there would be some top prospects in every retail store across the globe. Their rejected items are often found in sloppy piles of unfolded shirts, discarded pants, hangers and boxes carelessly tossed aside. I know customers aren’t obligated with tidiness, but the only people who chaotically discard stuff are lazy jerks and folks who’ve never experienced working retail.
3. Thieves. This isn’t my store or my personal belongings but c’mon. Realistically I’d never even considering intervening directly, but if you’re creeping around or blatantly stuffing Blu-rays into your backpack, I feel obligated to inform security or whatever, and it’s just trouble that most employees don’t feel like enduring. We know that we’re supposed to care, it’s just hard to sometimes.
4. The person who doesn’t seem to know where they’re shopping.Why don’t we sell marble flooring? Well, mainly because this is a grocery store… I’ll never understand why people are shocked to find that a particular place doesn’t carry all of their random needs. You can’t expect Blockbuster Video to have a wide array of vacuums, or H&M to have Taco Shells and detergent. It’s frustrating when people get irritated at you, for working in a place that obviously can’t fulfill their absurd requests.
5. The people who know it’s your job to ask if they’re “finding everything alright,” but still get rude about it. It’s common courtesy and basic customer service. If employees could, many would let the customers approach them for help, and only offer assistance to those who visibly need it. It’s just not that big of a big deal. Yes, we know multiple staff members asking the same question over a short period of time can have the feel of pesky Internet popups, but that’s part of how these people earn a living, which brings me to the next nightmare…
6. The customer who treats you crappy because they know you’re WORKING, thus, forced to take their disrespect and nonsense. One time, while working retail I actually had this exchange with a customer:
Customer: Where are those humidifiers you guys have on clearance? Me: Oh, they were actually right in this very spot, but they sold out yesterday. Customer: Well what aisle are your time machines on. Me: Excuse me? Customer: Do you have a time machine so I can go back to yesterday, or are you giving me useless information about a product you no longer have?
Is this dry humor? Perhaps that would explain why he wants to moisten the air with a humidifier. I laughed uneasily, thinkingmaybe this dude was joking. He wasn’t. He wore a smug look and while I wanted to smack him in the face, then direct him to the extensive Band-Aid assortment on aisle 4, I bit my tongue and apologized for being out of humidifiers. All because bills and responsibilities made retaining that job a necessity.
7. Cheap schemers. No, I don’t have the authority to give you a 90% discount because the box has a crease on it. No, this pack of batteries that you found isolated and blatantly misplaced in the candy section aren’t 50 cents. Employees know the difference between confused folks and shysters trying to take advantage of that customer’s-always-right mumbo-jumbo.
8. The people who think the place you work at is your entire life.They expect you to know every sale item listed in the ad, or have photographic memory of the entire inventory. Statements like, I’m looking for a universal remote you guys advertised a few weeks or months or years ago. I don’t remember the brand or model or price, but it was black and had buttons.” are the absolute worst.
9. The DJ. Okay, so there isn’t an actual DJ, but stores often have music playing on a loop, and boy can it get annoying. The 298,059th time you hear Hey There Delilah your sanity plummets – that’s a fact – the scientist said so. Yes, the same scientist from The Scientist by Coldplay, which also proves that even a beloved song by a cherished band isn’t exempt from the negative effects of constant repetition. At the grocery store I worked at during high school, Possession by Sarah McLachlan violated my ears an inappropriate number of times. To this day, hearing that song immediately prompts me to put things in plastic bags while wearing a fake smile.
10. The inventor(s) of Black Friday. Consumers are the real inventors of Black Friday, so curse them. Curse them and their willingness to trample one another to death for a $200 flat screen. If ever caught in an apocalyptic warzone of sorts, I will refer back to my days working Black Friday at Target to survive.
11. Last minute shoppers. The time a store closes is NEVER the time that the employees are able to go home, so by shopping 2 minutes before the doors are shut, you’re prolonging their stay even further. Technically you’re not doing anything wrong by choosing to enter when the store is still open, but there’s a common courtesy/unwritten rule that hopes most people would be considerate of such violations. Imagine I went to you right before bedtime and injected Red Bull and coffee directly into your veins? You’d be awake for hours. Yes, partly because a crazy guy stabbed you with a syringe full of caffeinated beverages, but also the caffeine’s lasting effects! When you go in a place at 9:59, that’s scheduled to close at 10:00, you’re jamming a needle into the life of all those employees.
There are a number of great customers who step up to a Starbucks counter and treat the person handling their beverage like a human being. I can’t say that it’s a very big number, but they are definitely out there.
What truly boggles the mind is why anyone would treat someone who has access to a decaf button as subhuman.
Below, 12 ways to keep your Starbucks barista from hating you.
1. Step one, hang up the phone.
It is unfathomable how many interactions go on between customers and baristas that don’t actually include any interacting. Being shushed or given the “one-minute” finger just makes a barista want to respond with a finger of their own.
Apologizing to the person on the other end of the phone when you made the life choice to start a phone call while trying to order a coffee makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. If you ignore the existence of the person standing in front of you or make incomprehensible motions with your hands about your ordering needs, know that your drink is probably decaf.
2. Being uncaffeinated does not mean you can be rude.
I get it, mornings are hard, but you know what is even more difficult? The rough task of waking up every day at 3 am, only to face steaming cups of patronization. Just because you haven’t had your coffee yet, doesn’t mean you get to be disrespectful. If you can’t harness a pleasant demeanor early in the morning, it might be time to get a Keurig for home.
3. Don’t hold me accountable for all Starbucks employees.
I know it’s hard to discern the difference between whoever made your drink yesterday and the current person in green that stands before you today in a different Starbucks location. But 90 percent of the time, when you say “You made my drink wrong yesterday,” you’re talking about someone else. My name is not synonymous with Starbucks.
4. While greetings aren’t mandatory, they are strongly encouraged.
When I say “Hi, how are you?”, it’s rude to respond “Grande latte.” Especially in the drive-thru, baristas are usually greeted with some form of grunt or bark. Starting your order with “Give me” isn’t doing you any favors either. Baristas deserve basic manners.
5. Shouting orders from the passenger’s side or through the back window of someone’s car is obnoxious.
Pro tip: if your drink is too difficult for someone else to order, it might be time to tone it down. Otherwise, find a driver with a stronger short-term memory.
6. Don’t talk to us super-slowly like we’re stupid.
If your drink has more steps than an Ikea assembly, and we ask you to repeat any part of it, DO NOT repeat the entire thing in extreme, patronizing slowness as though English is our second language. Further, once we’ve got it, don’t be that guy who demands that we repeat it back to assure that we “don’t mess it up.”
7. Know that we are humans who occasionally make mistakes.
Part of the Starbucks culture is individualizing drinks to match each and every one of our customers sparkling personalities. That being said, if you request 22 sugars, and we only put in 21, go ahead and put that last one in yourself. We’re only human.
8. Don’t pull money out of your bra, or up from under wherever it is that you were keeping it safe, warm and mildly damp.
9. We take your name for a reason.
So what’s the deal with that whole writing your name on the cup thing? Well, it is our CEO Howard’s idea of solidifying our connection to our customers while making the drink process run smoothly. Little known fact: Most “incorrect orders” happen when people simply grab the wrong drink. Even if I do use a customer’s name, chances are they’ll still ask me what the drink on the counter is immediately after I not only just announced it and called them by name. While making eye contact.
Also, we don’t always spell it right. We don’t know you after all, and we just heard your name for the first time, possibly while surrounded by coffeeshop clatter. It’s not personal.
10. You don’t need to know the fancy words, but it’d be great if you could at least get a handle on the basics.
“Large caramel” is not a thing.
11. Don’t play favorites.
“Are you new? Is so and so here?” Nope and nope. Choosing favorites hasn’t been a thing since grade school. I’ve been here for months and I will be the one making your drink today. And because we all use the same recipes, it’ll taste the same no matter who makes it.
12. Don’t micromanage the drink-making process.
I probably went ahead and made the drink correctly. Dangling over the counter supervising your drink is unnecessary. Yelling that I’m making it wrong when I’m actually making someone else’s drink is damn near unacceptable.
I am the first to admit that I am human and make mistakes. While the job isn’t rocket science, it comes with its own set of challenges. We are working at what can often times feel like a thankless job, dealing with the sometimes patronizing masses while trying to keep a smile on our faces and pay the rent. And even with all the hurdles, some of us still manage to enjoy what we do.
I’m also aware that some baristas are incompetent or even rude — I’ve worked alongside them. I know that can be frustrating from a customer’s perspective, but please don’t assume we’re all that way. For the most part, we’re just doing our best.