Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cute customers MMX

-There was kid, maybe 11 or 12, shopping with her mom. At one point, she was alone in a corner, looking at some candles, when this old rich woman came up to her and started asking her questions about products. The look on the young girl's face was HIlarious. And the woman was nearly old enough to have been a child laborer in her youth, so maybe that is why she had no problem demanding service from a preteen.

-I am all for people wearing whatever they want. I love a wacky outfit. If everyone was stylish and tasteful, it would be a very boring world. A young woman came in the other day wearing patent red leather clogs, jeans, white and navy striped sailor shirt, red puffy vest, red straw cowboy hat, and a red leather doctor's bag. It was a little crazy, like, she couldn't decide what to be that day and I enjoyed it much.

-Sometimes kids are not cute. Just because they are little people doesn't mean they are always precious. Aesthetically they may be pleasing to the eye: chubby cheeks, little pigtails, large eyes full of wonder, dimples and fat rolls and tiny shoes. One of the hardest things for me to fake is the "oh, he's so cute!!" when the little darling is destroying merchandise and displays with no parental intervention and fouling up the breathable air with atomic shit diapers when parents tell them to wait just a few minutes instead of taking them immediately to the bathroom. Perhaps I sound cruel, but I do not have to love your child, just as I do not have to love you, customer.

-I've had several customers lately that call asking for a VERY SPECIFIC item, which of course we never have. Then they tell me about how they saw one of these things on their vacation to Awesome Locale. They saw their host or a skilled street vendor or a little peasant woman using this Perfect Tool and they need one for themselves. The unaskable question in my mind is: why didn't you buy the damn thing when you were there? Doesn't that seem like the perfect souvenir? Way better than a t-shirt or a mug or blood diamonds?

-Yesterday I was helping some customers with their food slicing problems. For once, I actually had some experience and knowledge on the subject. I recommended 3 tools, giving the pros and cons of each, along with some other alternatives that were free or found outside of our store. Then they turned around (literally. it was on the shelf behind them.) and bought some completely different useless novelty gadget that totally sucks. I think they thought I was trying to upsell them and I was totally not. I find upselling repulsive and counterproductive in the end. Customers, I TRULY want you to the have the right item, whether it is $2 or $2000. Please consider that I might actually be a good honest person.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weekly highlights!

- Ok, this might sound ageist, but I find that a lot of annoying cellphone offenders are slightly older. You hear a phone blasting the Sex and the City theme song and there's a grandma digging in her purse, and not to silence it, but to answer and then have a VERY LOUD conversation no matter what she was doing when the phone rang. When people talk about bad cell etiquette, they often imply that it's Those Damn Kids, can't be without their phones, no manners, blahblah. But the kids know better. They know you are listening. The "kids" are texting. Why would you actually CALL someone?

-I have a game. Whenever someone uses a plastic shopping bag (or bags), I try to calculate what percentage the cost of the bag is in the pre-tax price of their purchase. It kind of makes me hate people, so I am quitting that game.

-There were some people lingering in the store tonight, after we were obviously closed and every other shopper had left. I was being friendly and attentive, letting them know we were closed without being too pushy. "Oh, we're just killing time while we wait for a friend. This store is such a great place to window shop!!" I thought my co-workers might blow up. The guy bought some weird thing at the last minute; I think he thought he was "winning." Like, I can keep these people here if I want. Consumers!, don't do this. A closed store is not a place to "kill time." That is what bars and coffee shops are for. And "window shopping" is done outside, through the windows, often when the store is closed. If you are just killing time and the store is closed, leave. Don't be a dick.

-The handicap spot is for handicap people. Do not park there if you do not qualify. Do not ask the clerk for permission to park in the handicap, even "real quick." And for god'ssake, if you are a perfectly able-bodied, pert young blond bride picking up packages that you have received for what we all assume will be your first of many marriages, do not park in the handicap spot.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I can't make this shit up

The other day I was having the strangest interaction with some customers, the sort of conversation that makes you want to give up on humanity.

So this couple was looking at a piece, let's call it a credenza, and wanted to know if it came in a lighter stain. I know for a fact it does not, but, playing the retail game where if you answer too quickly you lose credibility, I said "I don't think so, but let me double check." While I was thumbing through the catalog, the woman started telling me how her table is lighter, so that piece MUST be available in a lighter stain. "Did you get your table here?" I asked. "Is it from this same company?"

"No." she said. She had gotten it from our competitor's store. "Is it the same kind of wood?" I asked. "No." she said. She was not getting what I was getting at.

I found the page in the catalog with that particular furniture collection. "See, these look lighter" she said. "Well, each piece is different, this is a picture, that is the real product," I tried remind her. This is the sort of person that you dread doing special orders for because they can barely understand what is in front of them, much less an idea from a catalog or a drawing.

I started looking at my computer, thumbing through the inventory of similar items while she and her male companion flipped through the catalog. There's where it got good. They found a picture in the table of contents of the table from the collection. "This one!" they said "This one is lighter! " I looked at the picture. They flipped back and forth from the table of contents picture to the picture in the catalog. They were the same picture, but the one in the table of contents was enlarged. THE EXACT SAME PICTURE.

I gave up. Luckily, I had been helping some customers that were serious and capable of thought before Dumb and Dumber started pestering me, so I was perfectly justified in walking away from them.

See?? You cannot make that up.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

on repetition

After I posted yesterday about the state quarters, I had a thought that I might have mentioned my annoyance with the collecting of them before in this blog. At first I was embarrassed, repeating myself. Then I thought, "NO! I am going to leave the posts as they lay!"

Because part of the weirdness and hilarity of retail is the repetition. Never have I felt more déjà vu than at work: different people, different products, same game. I repeat certain phrases so often that I have to work hard to not sound like a robot. Foresight and mind reading are not psychic abilities you are hired for, but rather, skills gained in the field after observing people being people everyday all day long. You hear so many customers say the same things over and over that you wonder how many times you will have to hear it in your life time and how many times they have been uttered before.

There are not many surprises in retail, and sadly, they are usually some act of kindness or decency. "Wow! She was really nice!"

Stuffs like that...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More Things to Not Do

-Do not ask clerks to sift through their quarters for the state quarters that you need. In fact, do not collect the state quarters for your grandkids. The fun of collecting is the hunt and the acquisition. If you collect all the state quarters in full and give them to your grandkids, they will probably just spend them on drugs.

-Do not buy an inexpensive pot, use it for 15 years, abuse it with abrasive cleaners because you are a cleaning fanatic, and then take it back to the store where you think you bought it, claiming the pot spontaneously corroded and that it has a life time guarantee.

-Do not expect the clerk to know the exact chemical make-up of the stain of some cheap clearance table imported from China. And when the clerk goes to the trouble of calling the company and questioning them, do not be surprised when they don't know either. Because nobody knows and it doesn't matter anyway; you are just being a crazy old person. Don't do it.

-Oh, yea, do not put your wet or hot dishes or glasses on a wood table. Just be an adult and use a coaster. Or a trivet. Or both at the same time.

-As I've stated before, DO NOT ever EXPECT free gift wrap. Be gracious and thankful when it's offered and available. Don't ball out clerks for charging what they are supposed to charge.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weekly highlights!

-We have several garbage cans in various locations around the store. And every time we sample something (food, beverage, lotion), we have to place another trash can there. If we didn't do this, people would just leave their garbage everywhere, worse than they already do. As I was walking around, emptying the cans, I thought, "Wow. People are pigs." They will leave their empty Starbucks mocha cup, smeared with residual chocolate and whipped cream dregs, wherever they are when they finish it because they are too fucking lazy to carry it to a garbage. We also have to put a wasteful plastic liner in every can because people will toss in half a milkshake or some other disgusting dairy mess and it will splatter. Who's picking up your garbage?

-People with hippie girl voices that say "No worries" make me choke on suppressed laughter and blind with eye rolls.

-Today a lot of people tried to make their own prices. Like, "I thought this thing was this price...". Then they get pissed when you have to keep explaining, in the nicest way, that it is not, was not, and never will be that price. I must do all of this without explaining that they are confused and or crazy.

-I am always amazed by the customers that will just buy a display. "I want this! Just like it is!" they will say, and when you start to dismantle it, they stop you. "NO! I will just put it in the car how it is! Just ring it up!" The thing about displays is that there is a lot of shit in them, so they are expensive. Naturally, I am apprehensive when someone declares, with wild abandon, that they will take it all. I don't want to insult them, but I do want them to understand what they are about to pay for. And some people just do it. Wow.

-Sometimes you will have a co-worker that may show discrimination towards certain people. Often it is slight and they don't even seem to realize they are doing it. I do not discriminate; anyone can annoy me, regardless of race, religion, economic status, or age. It is somehow reassuring to know that we all have the ability to be an asshole.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hey, employees! Don't steal.

Employee theft is weird. I do not condone it. Some employees are really clever and find ways to get a little something for free and never get caught. Most thieving employees are definitely not clever and are dicks because the repercussions of their actions are residual and last past the time that they are fired and move on to rip off other employers.

Thieving employees often try to justify their actions with the case that they are not properly compensated for their skills. This is bullshit. Lots of awesome employees are underpaid and do not receive enough praise. I say "tough shit." If you were truly a great employee, you wouldn't steal.

After an offender is gone, there is still a mess of distrust and loss prevention. Everything is looked at with suspicion and once harmless actions (the 11 minute break, the digging through the stock loss garbage) bring about a dangerous kind of attention.

So don't steal. I will let you know right now that you are now that you are not smart enough to get away with it and when you DO get caught, we will all hate you for making our lives more difficult than they already are.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In praise of customers: It's not all bad news!

Lately I've witnessed a lot more customers bringing in and using bags to haul off their merch. Those packable nylon bags, the Chico bag and similar styles, seem to have changed the way customers think about bags. Canvas bags are bulky; if you are not in the habit of being a bag lady and carrying them with you everywhere, it can be difficult to get into. But a little light-weight bag that collapses in on itself can fit in side most purses. Simply changing the material makes all the difference.

There have also been a lot of customers that are making a decided effort to "shop local." I acknowledge that box stores employ people too, but I think it is great when people are more thoughtful about their purchases instead of mindlessly driving to the mall just because and usually with the assumption that the prices will be cheaper there.

Customers are people too and sometimes they are alright.