‘Tis the season for absolute mayhem. A retail worker’s definition of hell. And with the hordes of angry credit card wielding shoppers is a torrent of questionable human behaviour. Retail assistants bear a falsely planted grin from ear to ear, unflinching through a 12 hour shift. So whether you’re behind the counter or desperately tearing through the sale rack, these are the things a retail assistant never wants to hear.
“Are you still open?”
What part of the door being closed and the staff mid clean gave you mixed signals? Ah yes, it’s purposeful ignorance. You know the answer to this question out of brutal politeness is likely to be yes, even if we already counted the till.
“What do you mean I can’t return this item without a tag, receipt or any proof of purchase?”
Please just bring in any old thing and we’ll try to resell it. There’s always an extenuating circumstance. A horrible laundry accident that tore through your receipt, tag and bank history. It’s a bit of a dog ate my homework situation and from the behind the register we don’t want to be the fun police. But would you issue a refund without proof? Didn’t think so.
“Is this on sale?”
The sale sticker says, why yes it is.
“Are you sure you don’t have any left?”
Not really sure, I only checked the back room, offsite and four nearby stores. But what do I know? Let me dawdle out back for a few moments while I pretend to look again.
“Can I get a fresh one from out back? This one has been tried on.”
Clothes tried on? Ridiculous. Whether it’s that single thread tugging from the bottom hem or the fact it’s on a hanger on display and not in the plastic; there’s a customer out there who won’t be happy. Save delivery straight from the factory, nothing will appease.
“What is taking so long? I’m in a rush.”
You and every other person in this line that weaves out the door. Tapping your foot and sighing in a passive aggressive manor won’t make the queue move any faster.
“I’d like to speak to the manager.”
The customer’s always right, why yes, that’s until they ask to speak to the manager. Unless the shop assistant is completely incompetent, asking for the manager will only end in falsely pressed smiles and a recited script of store policy. But when the question is poised to the manager of the day, look out.
“Wow, that’s expensive.”
As a mere cashier at this suburban outlet, I’m not privy to pricing discussions. I apologise if you thought this was some sort of Undercover Boss stitches and I’m the real CEO. But alas I’m not so you’re monetary complaints are of no consequence to me. Insert quality sales pitch next.
“Why do you need to check my bag? Do you think I’m a criminal?”
As much joy as you may think I take in inspecting your belongings, I don’t. But asking to be excluded from a store wide policy in such an incredulous fashion is not likely to garner you any fans.
Image source: Alta Cinema.