Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tis the Season - Shopping Tips

This has nothing to do with poltics, but I had to get this off my chest. 

Every year at this time you hear people talk about how rude retail employees are. While I agree there is some truth to that, but let's examine another perspective. Here are a few hints to make your Christmas/Hanukkah shopping experience a better one.

1. People don't work in retail simply because they are stupid. There are many reasons that people work retail that have nothing to do with levels of intelligence.

2. The employees don't set policy, they just follow it.

3. Yelling at staff really only makes you look foolish. In this economy retailers are bending over backwards to get your limited funds. Providing good customer service is a large part of this. Simply and calmly asking to speak to a manager will more than likely have the same result. Major retailers audit what staff is doing to prevent internal theft. The computer systems are designed that overrides have to be done at the managerial level. The staff is simply safeguarding their jobs.

4. When asking to speak to manager, remember that they have other responsibilities and other customer complaints to deal with. It may take a few minutes for them to get there. Be patient.

5. If a person gives you a business card in a retail environment, they are commission. Please keep that in mind when you start asking different people in the same department for help. This is how they get paid.

6. If you have coupons or need a gift receipt tell the person before they start ringing the sale. If you don't, they will more than likely have to start over.

7. Get off your cell phone before you start asking for assistance.

8. It is not their job to watch your children.

9. There are only two ways for retail outlets to lower overhead; cut staff and inventory. This will be part of the shopping experience this year. If you are looking for very specific items, waiting until the last minute may not be a good idea.

10. When you drop something on the floor or throw it in a random aisle somewhere, remember that someone has to clean that up. More than likely for the 10th time that day.

11. When trying to return something that you purchased a year ago, don't lie about it. The employees are familiar with the inventory of their departments. They will know that you are lying.

12. If it is a large department store they will not have detailed information about departments that they don't work in. If you are expecting them too, you are just going to get annoyed.

13. If you want to wait until Christmas Eve to go shopping, please remember the employees have families too. They are not allowed to take the day off. It is a day that all employees must work.

14. They raise sale prices when they give out coupons in the vast majority of cases. You really are not saving any money.

15. There is a reason why pets are not allowed in stores. Don't put your dogs in bags and strollers. People have allergies.

16. One last thing, if you do chose to yell and scream in a store, just remember that the staff will be laughing at you in the break room. It is a form of entertainment.

Enjoy your shopping experience and for those that have never worked retail, remember they are doing the best that they can in a job that is much more difficult than you may think. 


Patriotic Mom said...

Nice reminders that we should all be kinder to one another. Retail clerks should post this by the cash registers. Happy Thanksgiving!

Hazaa Blue-Eyes said...

Thank you from a person who used to work in retail. Holidays were the worst. Nothing could tear down your mood quicker than some person who thought they were the only person in the store and thought you, the hired help, were supposed to kiss your shoes.

Your are quite right about the complainers, screamers and yellers. Some of those made the best stories. Also the people with stupid questions were the best. I could have written a book about all of them.

Ah #10... I remember the shock on people's faces when you catch them trying to sneak away from a spill or hiding some random item on the shelf. They seem so shocked that someone would have to clean it up behind them. I think they believed cleaning faeries did it or something... I really don't care that you spilled something - just tell someone about it so some kid doesn't slip in it later.

Ah well, Happy Thanksgiving!

Teresa said...

Those are some great ideas for shopping during the holiday season. As an employee who has on multiple occasions worked behind the counter during the holidays, I have always tried to be courteous to the customers and helped the customers out as much as possible. But, unfortunately some of the store's policies were IMHO written out of pure stupidity or ignorance. But, as employees we had to follow them in order to keep our jobs. I hope everyone has a blessed and fun time shopping.

Sparky said...

Very good advice! I pray others listen to your wise words. As one who once worked in retail, it can be a mad house out there. It can be fun too. One thing to remember when shopping SMILE and the whole word smiles with you. Kindess is never wasted.

God bless ya JACG. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving. :))

BK said...

Enlightening post. Much as we want to enjoy our shopping experience, we must also remind ourselves not to do unto others what we do not want others to do unto us.

David K said...

"Heh" at #16. I managed retail back in the early 80's for about 5 years and can attest to that. I would have to come to the rescue of a clerk who was being verbally abused, calm and reassure the customer that I understood their point of view or what have you before resolving the situation. Then after the doors were shut for the night, one employee did their best impersonation of the most boisterous customer of the day while we were cleaning, straightening racks up, auditing receipts and so on.

I told my wife that when she would go off on a tirade at a store. "As soon as you leave they'll be rolling their eyes and having a laugh over it later". She thought her getting her way was the result of her intimidating them when all they are trying to do is get her to be quiet and leave.

One time I was standing behind her while she rambled on in a Target and when I caught the cashier's eye I gave him a little eye roll. I saw this little smile on his face and after she left ahead of me I said to him, "Was she one of your top 5 for the day?"

All of the rest are spot on as well.

The automation retail has gone through over the years makes it less involved than it once was but it still isn't a "chump" job by any means and I don't think any job that's considered "menial" or beneath one's self is worthy of anyone's scorn. However lowly a job may seem, the people doing those jobs are mostly trying to earn an honest living to support themselves or their families, performing seemingly trivial yet vital tasks that some people would never consider.

Oh, and yes, over twenty years later I still neaten displays or pick clothes up off the floor and hang them back up. Open or tampered package? "Miss, someone's gotten into this." Etcetera and so on. I call it The Retail Reflex.

Happy holidays!

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