(A rant for comic relief)
Helping people, it's something I love doing with whatever endeavor I set forth to accomplish. So it seemed logical to me to pick retail as a job. I have a lot of knowledge of many things. I am an expert of none. I am literally a bard of the modern age. I've picked at so many hobbies and been interested in enough things that selling products comes naturally to me. Within my experience both in the food service industry and retail, both very similar in ways, I have found a joy and a frustration. These are some of my hilarious and annoying experiences working in the world of retail at the biggest cooperation currently selling things to people so they can save cash to live a better life.
Customers and their types:
The soccer mom:
This wily breed of customer believes I have all the time in the world to walk her to each department and shop for her while she wrangles kids, snack duty, and sporting equipment. I love helping. If you can't find an item or two I'll gladly walk you right to them. I am more then happy to draw you a map, but I stop the line where I am becoming a personal shopper. Since it is not my job and I will be in trouble for not watching my area after 20 minutes so as to kept my management team happy I turn soccer mom over to an assistant manager. I am sure they can find her the gluten-wheat-sugar free chips she needs for tonight's game cause she's always in a rush.
This class is not just by age group there are 50 year old teenage age customers. these people think it's ok to play with everything in the store. They ride in carts. ride the bikes around the store. bounce all the balls and play as if no one minds. Forget that casting a fishing pole in the store is dangerous, they wanna try everything we sell. They must lick, touch, brush, wipe, play with, and try everything out in the store. I totally understand this behavior a lot of times. People want a working comfortable product. I am more then glad to walk the through details and show them how it works, safely. Give them other customers rating via the online store, but come on guys. Get off the bike and apologize to the 5 year old you just ran over with the bike you're not suppose to ride in the store. Also for gosh sake buy the item you already unboxed!!! No one wants to buy and item that you've opened, tried on, slobbered over or half eaten (yes customers half eat food and then put it back on the shelf). We call this behavior grazing, which is not considered stealing until you attempt to walk out of the store unpaid with it... or if you open more than eight things in the same aisle. Asset protection will jump all over you for that, but one thing, even two. they look the other way. After all most damaged food we get return credit for. Mind you I said most, and btw produce is sold by weight so how can I sell you an eaten banana?
The cranky old guy:
Again this is not just limited to older people or men in general. This person in convinced that the time they lived in, place they grew up in, or their general experience was better back when, back in that state, or that time. They won't be happy no matter what you do. They are looking for a reason to complain to anyone. I usually listen patiently and agree, then add.. "I just stock the shelves. Wish I could do more." These people complain complain complain. They even come back and drive from an hour away to yell at a random unsuspecting cashier at the customer service desk about how they were over charged for something. At the end of a couple hour tirade it is normally proven they we're not over charged or if they were the cash is promptly refunded to them with only the need to call over a manager to turn a key and approve the return. The wait for this normally starts another rant about the inefficiency of our system and how we should also be paying for his gas he used to get out here.
This person is never interested in shopping they are always interested in proving how much they know more than you about a product. Now this person is my favorite. In a service area I personally get rid of this customer by just agreeing with them and say "wow I learn something new everyday." Which is true much of the time. Like I've said I am knowledgeable about a lot, but expert of none. My biggest tool of knowledge is reading the information on each products box or tag. Amazingly much of what you need is there. The expert normally loves hanging around the electronics or sporting goods department. They wait with an item to question the nearest associate about, and they must always inform us of what we don't know. Now if I wanted to be an expert I think I would be. That is not my interest. I am in retail to get you the things you need and some you want. Want a TV? I'll help you get it in your car even. Show you our installment team. I'll assembly that bike. I'll even find you that much needed stand for it as well. Do I need to know that newer TV's are coming out in two months and I should be asking to stock those now to my manager? I really don't think so.
The last one is the talker:
They normally strike when I am at my busiest. Now i love talking to customers and see them leave with a smile, but they must also understand that at least 20% of my job is stocking the shelves for them and 10% is making sure the store is clean for them. When you occupy my time I do not get to do this. So when I hear talkers complaining about how the one shelf is so gross or why can't the cereal aisle be organized I'd love to say.... "Well do you mind letting me zone while we talk instead of asking for my undivided attention." I only have 8 hours in a day if I gave every customer my attention like I do to the talkers I'd be doing nothing but talking all day and I'd be fired. So my escape route is normally listening for what they talker is really looking for and excusing myself to go find this item in the backroom. Where I generally do find the item. I bring it to them and then say I need to see my manager, and escape to the backroom. I do offer if they need anymore help to feel free and ask, but after 45 minutes with the same customer it's time for me to get back to my department before I get coached for not working (yes they do this to employees we are expected to stock more than help customers. which I disagree with somewhat, but stocking is helping customers too. no one can buy items from an empty shelf)
Alright, there is my rant of my retail jungle I work in. Note: I love helping customers. It's why I became a department manager. Even stepping down I have more knowledge to help people. My best days are those customers who come in frantic and need this and that, and when they leave they have all they need. Especially finding specialty items. So my question is, why do I get treated so badly sometimes. I chose this job specifically because I like human contact. Maybe I should reconsider and get a nice desk job? Na... I'll see you guys next time you shop, and btw vinegar is in he condiments aisle not in baking. I still don't know why.