Oh, The Retail World Is Frightful...What Cashiers Would Like to Tell You This Time Of Year {LIFE}

I wrote this last Christmas after a really bad week at my retail job.  I am glad to put my retail days behind me and feel sympathy for the cashiers working so hard to please cranky customers and demanding employers.  Be kind to them this holiday season...
image courtesy of caltech.edu

I run the risk of sounding whiny, ungrateful and bitter in this post.  Still, there are a few things I need to rant about to clear my head and relieve some frustrations.  I have always loved Christmas and usually it doesn't take much effort for me to find the Christmas spirit when November and December rolls around. This is my second Christmas season in the little candle and gift ware store and I have to say that the retail jungle has all but knocked the Holiday cheer out of me.  Last December I had a customer harass me for 40 minutes because she didn't like the return policy.  When I finally convinced her that she needed to leave.  She ended up telling me to take her $2.50 credit note and shove it up my @**  then had the nerve to come back an hour later and ask for it back.  This past November I had a young man wait at the store entrance for me to finish work because he was SO ANGRY about store policies.  I had to get an escort to my car!

Here we are in the home stretch and I'm longing for things to get back to normal in the mall.  We have crabby people all year long and usually I am equipped to smile and be courteous anyway.  The number of negative customer interactions seems to double, triple, or quadruple this time of year.  It's as though Christmas forces them out of their homes to shop for people they probably don't even like and I'm the lucky one to get to help them choose that gift.  Unfortunately, cashiers and sales people take the fire for things they have no control over.  Long line ups, computerized cash register's that crash, merchandise sell-outs, the customer that can't remember their PIN so holds the line for 20 minutes trying every card they own ~You get the picture.  Here is my plea to the crabby, frustrated and harassing consumers:
  • Cashiers do not write the store/company policies and risk getting fired if they don't enforce them. Ask for a  phone number for Head Office to talk to someone that has the authority to over-ride the store standards. Don't shoot the messenger. It is NOT okay to: swear, threaten, harass, or intimidate me to get your way. Please call Head Office and be polite, you're likely to get what you want very quickly.
  • You as a consumer are obligated to KNOW the policies of the stores you shop in before you complete your purchase.  If this information is not posted, ASK BEFORE PURCHASE. My store offers NO REFUNDS...not even if you changed your mind 10 minutes after leaving the store. As frustrating as this policy may be for everyone involved I am not at liberty to change it!  Please get the information you need before deciding to invest your hard earned money.
  • If you're not done shopping don't jump in line (just because you see that it's short) and then continue to jump in and out of line to finish your shopping. It's confusing to me and not fair to those that are finished shopping, are waiting in line and just want to get on with their day. I have to admit that I used to be guilty of this myself. Especially in a grocery store setting, I may forget eggs and run back while the cashier is ringing in the cartload ahead of me. Sometimes I make it back in time, other times I come back to find everyone waiting for me. Now that I know how irritating it is for the cashiers and other customers, I don't do this any more. Please finish your shopping, complete your transaction, then go back into the store for what you need if something has been forgotten.
  • Keep your wits about you when shopping. I know you're tired, the mall is too hot, your packages are heavy, and the line ups are exhausting. Please read signs, check prices, ask for clarification about promotions. And please have patience with me. I am a PERSON with feelings and who sometimes makes mistakes. The cash counter doesn't magically absorb your mean comments and insults.
  • Last but not least ~ If you already handed me the money you would like to use to complete your transaction, and I have handed you your change and receipt, don't ask to give me the correct change (or ask to change the method of payment) after the fact. Chances are, you just had 10 to 30 minutes in line to decide how you wanted to pay. Changing your mind after the transaction is complete is confusing for me and slows down my line. Plus, it may flag you as someone trying to do a money changing scam that uses confusion as a smoke screen to steal money from my cash.
To all the customer's that exercise patience and kindness towards retail cashiers and sales people...bless you. Acknowledge the customer service people that are trying their best to make your shopping experience the best it can be.  To all the front-line staff that take the brunt of peoples moods and frustrations...be doubly blessed.  Show respect and gratitude to EVERY person that crosses your path.  If you didn't have customers that chose your store to spend money in you wouldn't have a job.  Whether their shopping budget it $2 or $200, they should get the same courteous and fair treatment. Oh and before I forget, I need to tell you my comeback to the lady that told me to shove her credit note where the sun don't shine.  When she returned later to ask for it back...I very sweetly told her that it was "no longer accessible as it was out of reach."


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