Customers: very rarely this friendly and nice (Picture: Getty)
Who’d work in retail eh?
Let’s face it, despite many of our best efforts, we’ve all been that irritating customer at a shop at some point in our lives. Mercifully for retail workers, most of us are only awkward once or twice. But not all of us.
Whether you work in a supermarket, music store, corner shop or cafe, dealing with the general public can be one of the most infuriating things known to man.
If you have ever stocked a shelf or manned a till, you will appreciate the frustrations in the following list.
Tip for all retail workers: do not read this on your day off, it will only depress you about going back.
1. The phrase ‘the customer is always right’ haunting you at every turn. Newsflash: the consumer never being wrong is an urban myth.
2. The timeless classic quip of ‘Oh it must be free then!’ when you fail to scan a barcode the first time. Oh, you!
3. ‘Do you work here?’ No, I just find the Tesco uniform really flattering to my body shape and facing up shelves of stock is an OCD hobby of mine.
4. ‘Oh I think I have the 10p somewhere to make it easier for your change’ being the precursory statement for five minutes of bag rummaging. Seriously, my till has change, just give me the tenner, buddy, and save us all a nightmare.
5. The long explanations of where at home the customer has left their loyalty card. Dude, chill, I wasn’t judging you.
6. The early entry of a PIN or waiting too long to type it resulting in chaos at the payment stage.
7. The glares aimed at you from waiting people when your customer is telling a story as if you’re expected to tell them to shut up.
8. The phrase: ‘I want to speak to your manager.’ Mate, good luck. I’ve been wanting to speak to him for three days about booking a holiday.
9. That one regular customer who is over familiar with every female on the checkout.
10. Creased vouchers with about 50 digits in their barcodes which won’t scan. Oh, good you have twelve of them and you’ll be saving a total of about 40p. This’ll be worth it.
11. Cringe-worthy morning meetings containing painfully cheerful pep talks about squeezing the best out of every customer. Sorry, it’s Monday, I’m tired and hungover, can we wrap this up please?
12. Add on sales. WHSmith employees I salute you for maintaining your smiles while pretending this out of date Aero mint bar that you have to push on every customer is a really great deal, even if it is cheaper at Asda.
13. People taking stock from your beautiful display. How dare you come in and buy stuff, customer! I spent ages building that tinned marrowfat peas pyramid!
14. The awkwardness of breaking the news to a customer that their card has been declined by the bank. ‘Oh that’s odd, there is money in there’, is always the reply. Although they rarely meet your gaze.
15. That last minute before you are allowed to close the doors inevitably heralding the arrival of a bus load of customers who just fancy a slow browse. It’s fine, going home on time is overrated anyway.
16. Being the fall guy when delivering the crushing blow that an item is out of stock, as if you have, in your sheer spite for that customer, burned all of the remaining stock of said item so they can’t have one.
17. Parents telling their kids to behave or ‘the man will shout at you’. Whoa, when did I become the bad guy?
18. Customers changing their mind about an item and placing it just anywhere. Always love finding chicken fillets in amongst the Quavers.
19. Customers misunderstanding how a 3 for 2 offer works. No, you don’t choose which item you get free, that would be a very silly oversight by a company which wants to make money.
20. ‘I pay your wages!’ From the guy who has usually had to wait a minute longer than he would have liked to buy a tin of corned beef. Spoiler: You really don’t pay my wages and your threat to take your business elsewhere will not cause an insignificant cashier like me to lose any sleep.
“Why didn’t my free coupon go through? I have a Low Carb Thomas English Muffin”
“Ma’am that coupon is for the Original Thomas English Muffin”
Customers please read your coupons correctly. We know, you probably had a “long and stressful day,” but just because your bad day is an everyday thing does not mean you have to put that bad attitude of yours onto everyone else. If it is not the correct coupon we cannot discount it for you. Coupons are specific because it is a form of advertisement for you to try new things. So those Original Thomas English Muffins might be your new favorite breakfast item.
2. Senior Citizens who play the “I’m old” card.
Here’s the thing about senior citizens, they can be our sweetest customers ever, or our worst nightmares. Yes you still have to pay for your eggs; no we cannot make exceptions because you are old. Some stores actually provide a senior citizen day, which allow up to a 5% discount on your groceries. Take advantage of it! You do not need to remind us of your age to make us feel guilty. We already feel enough guilt…for doing this cashier job.
3. Cell phone users who do not stop talking in line.
This type of customer has their ups and downs. The up side is that they are more than likely to not pay attention to their groceries, so they are not fickle about the prices of every item. The down side is that is just plain rude. Is it absolutely necessary to talk to your friend about the big party you had last night? Or how wasted you got and cannot remember what you did? We’re not asking you to give us all of your attention, but when we ask how you would like to pay for your order and you are busy off in your own world it gets to be annoying.
4. Entire families who do not bag a single thing.
Although it is not required of the customer to bag their own groceries, we sometimes question why your perfectly capable family of six cannot help us bag YOUR groceries. Bagging your order of $300 worth of items for you while you sit there stagnant is not a simpler feat. It’s apparent that you want to be home on the couch watching cable television, why not make it quicker by helping a fellow human out? Oh you had a long and stressful day? That’s too bad.
It’s obvious that not every cashier is cheerful or bubbly, we get that, but if you can at least gain our perspective from this, maybe then you’ll understand too that we ALL have had a long and stressful day.