by Audrey Meubus
As a consumer, I have my share of complaints about pushy or incompetent retailers. Rarely are my shopping experiences without the usual frustrations of annoying sales tactics and store gimmicks but, until I decided to get a part-time job to support my Friday night lifestyle, I never truly understood the flip side of the coin, the kind of pain retailers go through every day in dealing with us, the general public.
I found a job in a fancy, high-end toy store. For minimum wage, I supply the children of Westmount with essentials like Tech Decks (finger skateboards) and Bratz dolls. Every day, I deal with mothers who forget how old their children are, Lululemon wives with their husband’s credit cards, and tweens dressed head to toe in Juicy Couture. Although the toys make the job bearable and somewhat enjoyable, the customers can be a real piece of work.
“Do you work here?” I hate that question. Really, what do you think? I’m wearing a uniform and a nametag and you still ask me if I ‘work’ here. Seriously! Meanwhile, I notice that your monster child is sucking on my action figures and leaving his snot all over the Legos. Where’s the Lysol?
God forbid that they would actually supervise the little brats; it’s not like they’re in public or anything. I especially hate parents who act surprised when I ask them to pay for something their darling six year old decided would be a good idea to throw against the wall. I don’t care if they’re not used to disciplining their offspring, but cleaning up after them should not be part of my job description.
I’m usually a pretty nice person; I even have a high tolerance for people who choose to be rude to me because they’re stressed out with life. But, here is where I draw the line: people who treat retailers like they’re not human beings. I cannot respect people who think that the amount of money they have allows them to treat others like crap. I understand that they’re paying for a service and that there may be somewhere else they would rather be, but their shopping experience would be more pleasant for everyone, and actually more efficient, if they acted in a kind and courteous manner with the retailer.
Retailers are among the most unloved people on this planet…but boy, I can now confirm that they have to deal with demanding and often unpleasant customers with a smile, so they deserve some credit. For that reason, next time you are getting annoyed with a retailer, give them a break, smile, and treat them like a human being. Your service will probably improve.