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Kirsten’s Korner: The True Confessions of a Retail Employee

Kirsten K., Staffer

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In my year and a half of being a retail employee, I’ve learned one thing for sure, you truly don’t know how rude people are until you work in retail. All it takes is a year or so for the truth to sink in: Customers suck.  I made a list in which I titled, “The True Confessions of a Retail Employee”.  If you re-evaluate your customer ways and realize you do fall into this vent, don’t worry, because I even have a new perspective when shopping at stores, since working in retail.
First off, being rude to me won’t get you anywhere.  I understand it’s frustrating when I can’t give you the discount you want or when we don’t have something in stock of your size, but guess what?  I make an hourly wage.  I don’t make the decisions you’re upset about, I just have to enforce them with a smile on my face.  It might feel good to release your frustration on me, but it’s not going to change anything, it’s just going to make you “that guy”, and no one wants to be “that guy”.
I can’t believe that people actually try this, but don’t ever try to rat us out to our coworkers.  We probably like each other more than we like you!  Occasionally, customers will try to game the system by complaining to me about one of my coworkers.  Playing along, I will appear to be on their side, of course, but it doesn’t change anything — either I can do what they want or I can’t.  In either case, I’m smirking to myself because I’ve likely already been filled in on this particular customer by my coworker.  I don’t understand why people always think I’m going to be eager to throw my friends under the bus for a stranger.  You’re not winning brownie points with me, that’s not how this works.
Boys, I am NOT flirting with you!  It’s really hard to be nice and smiley and helpful with guys who come in when the whole time they’re thinking “Ooo she wants me so bad”.  It especially sucks when you work at a small store like I do and the same guys will come in over and over because they think they have something going on with one of my coworkers.  I wish there were a better way to say “I’m just being nice” without hurting someone’s feelings and risking bad customer feedback.
I’ll say this a little louder for the people in the back, I don’t set the prices!  I don’t understand what customers hope to accomplish when they complain about prices to me.  I don’t set them, and I sure as heck can’t change them.  The only thing complaining about the prices is going to do, is make your check-out experience awkward, for both you and me.
Nothing makes me angrier than an unsupervised child. I love kids, I really do, but almost every single day there’s an accident with an unsupervised child wandering around the store. Their parent is a step or two ahead of them playing on their phone or looking around at the store and the kid is just walking on its own when someone comes up behind and plows it down on accident. Kids are not good at walking in busy areas. If you are walking with a kid in a busy area PLEASE for the love of god, hold their hand or something and remind them that the rack of soft material is not a fort, it’s our merchandise, that you will pay for if damaged.
Now, we don’t hate people. People who work in retail love to complain about customers because SOME customers are just really, really awful people. But we know from firsthand experience that this is a small minority.  One of the main reasons I’m in retail is the customer service aspect, because I love socializing and helping others with fashion.  But for the bad customers, we know that who you are in our store is who you are in life.  If you are rude to salespeople, you are a bad person.  Period.

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Kirsten’s Korner: The True Confessions of a Retail Employee