Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stories from the Front Lines of Retail: Rules to Follow

So, I took an unplanned hiatus.

What?  Don't look at me that way.  You've done it too.

As has been no secret, I work in retail.  And I have been trying to spread the word of how to act in a retail setting since so many people seem to forget basic things.  Like manners.  And intelligence.  Now, I' not saying that all people act this way because I know that not everyone does.  So, if you know somebody behaving this way quietly point out the error in their ways.  Trust me - every retail person in a 30 mile radius will thank you.

Rule 1:  The store is not your ATM.  If all you have is $100 bills, don't break them on a purchase around $15.  I don't think you're hot stuff for having them.  I think you're an enormous PITA (Pain In The Ass) because now I have 10 singles and a drawer full of change for the next person.  If you want smaller bills I'm sure the bank would be more than happy to oblige you.

Rule 2:  Know the store hours.  If you're not sure, call.  Or check the internet.  Do NOT come in 5 minutes before we close just to browse.  Or if you have a giant list.  Trust me.  I can make your shopping experience delightful or a living nightmare.  If you come in 2 seconds before we close just to browse only to tell 20 minutes later that you have a honking huge list, I will not be nice.  Nor will any of my coworkers.  And, rest assured, we will talk about you when you leave.

Rule 3: Trust me.  Seriously, folks.  I'm not trying to undermine you.  If I do, you'll figure it out, tell your friends, and never come back.  Which means that I eventually will be out of a job.  I don't want this.  I understand that you're being cautious, but when you are clearly doubting everything I am saying it's irritating.  On a related noted: I also know the product line better than you ever will so don't tell me that I'm wrong when I tell you that we never carried that product.  If you don't believe me, ask me to name our current product line.  If you have 20 minutes to spare, I can do it.  Most likely alphabetically.

Rule 4: This is not your store.  Do not go through our stuff.  Use our computer.  Go upstairs.  Go in the back.  Stand behind the register.  Come in the back door.  Set your children on our counters.  You would think this would be self explanatory, but no.

Rule 5:  Use your words.  Look, I get that our product line is exhaustive and overwhelming.  I'm even willing (and happy) to help you find something.  However, when you ask me a question like this:

 "I'm looking for something...I mean I saw on Oprah...Well, actually, Dr. Oz said that we should...No, wait, it was on the Food Network...Anyway, I think it was red...or was yellow like turmeric, but it wasn't turmeric...anyway I heard that it was good for me and my daughter Jane really likes to cook and she used to be a vegetarian but she's eating meat again and just moved in with her boyfriend who really likes to cook and is originally from Kentucky but has lived here for the past 5 years and I think they're going to get married so I wanted to get her something that's good on chicken."

Yes, friends, I have had actual questions like that.  Please.  I don't mind your personal stories - I really don't.  In fact when I'm getting your stuff for you or ringing you out, they're nice.  But if I'm on the phone with you or I haven't even helped you find something yet, ask me the question first.  Then share the story.  We'll both be a lot happier.