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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Black Friday

I'm sure you were all wondering what this clerk thinks about Black Friday and how Thanksgiving is basically Black Friday now too.

(Side note:  I love the idea of a holiday that is multiple days having a singular-type name, like Dia de los Muertos.  One of my co-workers was wondering if it was November 1 or 2.  There were arguments.  The internet says it is both, so there.  Also, when internet researching, one might read how before the Spanish colonization of Mexico, this celebration occurred at the end of summer.  The holiday was picked up and moved to another time and it stuck.  I'm not saying that was good or bad, but just want to point that out.)

If one more person asks me what I am doing for Thanksgiving, I might freak out.  Our store is not open on Thanksgiving, so I will not be working.  People tell me how great that is, an extra day off.  I don't mention that I am missing a whole day of pay.  I will be spending the day with my spouse, but we will not be with our families because they are too far away.  It is ONE DAY and if anyone thinks it is weird that I don't travel during some of the worst weather of the year to watch my relatives stuff their faces and pass out on the couch, those people are stupid.

I guess I feel bad for people if they have to work and really want to be with their families.  But I do have to say, if you work in retail, you should probably expect it?  Why can you only get together with your family on the 3rd Thursday of November?  What about the 1st Thursday in October, or even the 2nd Thursday in November?  Can you not be Thankful and gluttonous another day?  Think of how great it would feel when people ask you what you are doing for Thanksgiving, you tell them you're working, they say "aw" and feel sorry for you, and then you come back with "oh, we had our Thanksgiving last week and it was fantastic!  We avoided all the hype and pomp and made it about what is really important to us:  family."  Or whatever is important to you.

Also, let us remember the people who always work holidays.  I've had my garbage picked up on Christmas before.  It was a holiday, but it was still garbage day.

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."