When in doubt, blame the clerk: my life in retail

Saturday, September 20, 2014

no one ever told me so it's not my fault

I have not posted for so long because everything that was blog worthy also seemed boring to me and I couldn't work up the enthusiasm to stay angry enough to write about it.

Today really sucked because of an email exchange I had with a customer.  I won't go into the details because it is boring and private, but I will say that it fell in line my current extreme annoyance:  the customer complaint of never being told something.

I feel like this is an excuse that customers are really laying on thick lately, possibly in response to great customer service and multiple assurances in writing, with their signatures, that they are getting exactly what they want.

When something goes awry, the customer comes back with a complaint followed by "NO ONE EVER TOLD ME."  I am at work all the time and I spend a great portion of my day training and working with other people.  Trust me, those people are getting thorough paperwork and being told important information.  What else is there to talk about?  They hope that by claiming they were never told, they can blackmail the business into free goods or services because dissatisfied customers write bad reviews.  Shit-tay!

It is seriously offensive to me and my co-workers when someone tries to frame a situation as though we purposely mislead them.  We would absolutely not benefit from that.  The customer should be embarrassed to speak those words.  It means they weren't listening and are incapable of any record keeping, research, or responsibility.  Yes, that thing you bought?  You will have to clean it and it is not the store's responsibility.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I got yelled at today

A customer yelled at me today.  I did not deserve it.  And I am not just saying that because I was receiving it; my co-workers told me later how other customers made a point of telling them how they felt bad for me and that maybe they should check to make sure I was okay (which is very sweet.  Thank you stranger customers).

The customer who yelled at me has a history of difficulty and I do feel bad because I don't know how much of it they can help.  The part that sucks is that customer service people are expected to be nice.  So when a customer freaks out and starts in, you have very few ways to defend yourself.  Sure, there are company policies, but we all know those are gray areas.  If the customer said those things to me out in public, on the street or public transportation or whatever, I would shut it down.  But because it was at my place of work and they are a customer, I do not have that leeway.

Another difficult aspect is that there is always an audience of other customers.  I have a feeling that my  customer would respond better to a bit of sassiness, frankness, and attitude, but that could be read wrong by nearby customers.  They wouldn't necessarily know that was my way of dealing with a problem child and then I would look like a jerk.

Ugh.  People are weird.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

a thank you

Last week, I was talking to a woman in the store and introduced her to a product line that matched her described needs.  I priced items out for her and helped her understand the options.  She was very excited and it seemed like it could be a potential sale, except that she was from out of town and it would not make sense for her to buy it from us.

She seemed to feel bad about not being able to buy from us.  Though it was slightly disappointing, she was very pleasant and I was glad to be helpful.

A few days later she called to let me know that she would be buying the product elsewhere, but she really appreciated my help and she wrote a positive Yelp review for us.  I thought this was a very sweet gesture and a nice way to compensate for not being able to buy from us.

It made my week and reminded me that there are so many good people out there.

6-27-14 update:  The customer did write the good review and several people have actually mentioned it!  I really appreciate it.  I want to believe that good begets good and this is a reminder!  Thank you again!  Sharing a GOOD experience is SO important!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

smoking is cool and sexy as hell

I am terrible at guessing people's ages.  I had these customers today who were, on the generous side, middle late thirties, but could have been fifty because, as I said, I think I am bad with ages.  Guessing ages would be so much easier if people didn't have habits that effect the aging process, like smoking.

The couple was pretty cute and put together with stylish clothes and a rockabilly undertone.  But the magic was broken when the woman in this couple spoke.  She had the gravely smoker's voice and a persistant phlegmy cough.

I don't know exactly why, but the smoker symptoms totally depressed me and made me glad that I don't smoke.  DON'T SMOKE!  IT'S NOT WORTH IT!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Part of working with the public involves telling them where to eat.  Tourists or people who don't get out much ask for recommendations, which is perfectly natural, but causes me stress.  I have been in their position and I know what they expect.  They want to know some little secret.

I remember once being somewhere and hungry and the area seemed so lively and full of potential.  It felt like there had to be some yummy, reasonably priced little restaurant with a friendly staff and fresh, real food where all the cool locals ate.  We went into a cute little boutique shop and asked the young, hip staff where we should eat.  The clerk's bored response, backed by her dead eyes, was "I just always go to Subway."  Back out on the street, we bravely asked a stranger.  "Subway.  Quiznos."

Telling people where to eat stresses me out because if they don't like it, I fear they will judge me and somehow hold me accountable for their experience.  It's a ridiculous fear, but it motivates me.  I usually have a couple answers on hand.  First, there is the restaurant that I always recommend because the food is consistently good and I know the owners.  If they press me for more ideas and are annoying, I recommend the wildly popular restaurant with the mediocre food.  If they ask for me ideas and are not too annoying, I recommend a restaurant that I really like, but only if I know I won't be going there myself anytime within their possible visit.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tree of Life

Have you seen this cutting board from Totally Bamboo?  What stoner came up with that?

"It's like a chunk of tree, but it's made from bamboo.  And the tree rings will be made of really tiny animals.  And we can call it like, the tree of life, cause it'll remind people of like animals and life and the earth and stuff."


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Day Fever

- I don't usually care too much if people have bad hair, but today there was this woman who had butt length hair and it was nasty:  parched, scraggly, and faded to the same color as her elbows.  It was beyond dead.  I actually had this fantasy vision of me running up behind her with scissors and hacking off 8-10 inches of gnarly hair and then she turns into a Pantene commercial.  But in actuality, she looked around with her old boyfriend and then left.

- On Saturdays, the store really gets poked and prodded.  Saturday is family day and people who never go shopping come shopping.  They touch EVERYTHING and they don't put anything back where they picked it up, even if it is a distance of 6 inches.  They eat in the store like they are at their table and gulp down our complimentary coffee, sprinkling all surfaces with sugar and being hush about spills.  They lounge in the sofas while they make out or talk on the phone.  They rub their greasy heads onto pillows, their greasy necks on scarves and their dusty feet on any mat that is near the floor.  This is a day when Floor Models are made because the merchandise gets the most action of its life.

- There is a lady I hate.  Well, not hate, but am deeply annoyed by.  I have had encounters with her at numerous places and she gets under my skin every time.  I was walking the floor and caught sight of some adorable shoes out the window.  I skipped over to get a better look and saw that the shoes I loved were being worn by the woman I sorta hate.  So I think I have to sort of hate those shoes now.  What a bummer.

- Parents, I acknowledge that it is a lot of work keeping an eye on children, but letting them destroy merchandise is not cool.  Your baby chewed  on a book because you were too lazy to get up and grab him.  No one is going to want to buy that book now.  It is not harmless gnawing.

- Sample food is gross.