For those of you who don’t know me personally, I currently work at a certain large department store. Generally, I like my job. I enjoy helping customers find items that make them look at feel their best, and I like making our displays look organized and visually appealing. Working in retail is about making the customer feel happy and secure about their purchase.
There are times when this comes at the cost of our own sanity. Even when we want to fight back with a difficult customer, we can’t because it is our job not to tell them they are wrong. Remember, the customer is always right!
Because our store is so large, we always have an abundance of items on sale. We have sale days at least once a month, and if you hold an account with us, you get special discounts almost daily. Even with a sales goal to reach, we want you to get the lowest price for your purchase! It means you’ll come back for more, and that is good for us, good for the store, and a lot of fun for you. Because hey, who doesn’t like to shop when they get awesome deals?
Last night was an exception. We have a customer who isn’t so nice to us, and she keeps coming back. What she needs to do is take advantage of the personal shopping services we offer, but instead she locks onto one associate who has to find dresses in her size, and try to find dresses in colors that don’t exist. Part of the problem with buying only from the sales racks is that what you see is what you get. That is merchandise that we’re trying to get out of the store. We are supposed to limit customers to six items in the dressing room at a time, but she takes about thirty to start with. Then, when she’s “all ready to check out”, she has us start ringing up her purchase, and disappears again into the sales racks.
We deal with this on a regular basis. This isn’t the worst of it.
I got a call from a customer who wanted to order a specific dress over the phone. This customer was so thrilled that we had it and wanted it shipped to her address. I had never done this before, so my coworker was helping me quietly as she tried to ring up everything for the not-so-nice customer, who STILL hadn’t settled on what she wanted. I chatted a little about the occasion with the customer on the phone while I tried to get the computer to do what I wanted.
Then, all hell broke loose.
“MISS, CAN’T YOU SEE SHE IS TRYING TO HELP ME? STOP DISTRACTING HER. YOU HAVE TIME TO CHIT CHAT ON THE PHONE AND I’VE BEEN WAITING…..”, and so on. My coworker tried to explain that I was on the phone with another customer, and she asked if my customer was so much more important. That altercation ended with me having to ask the customer on the phone if I could call her back, two managers being called over to help with all of the items the crazy lady was trying to buy, and me being so backed up from being yelled at that I couldn’t call my customer back for an hour. To top things off, she took over the entire counter with her merchandise that when people tried to come up to my register to make their purchases, she would yell at them as well for “getting in her way”. When we finally got her out of the store, we were left shaking in our boots, just about ready to burst into tears.
The upside of this rant is that I was able to help the customer on the phone get the dress she wanted. It’s a surprise gift for her mom, who is going to a wedding next month.
Here’s a little fact to keep in mind the next time you shop. In our store, 70% of theft is internal, meaning stolen by store associates. It’s sad, but it’s true. This means people are fired on a regular basis, so you are either working with someone who is very experienced or very new. Even after spending an entire day on our feet, we will do everything we can to help make your day special by finding exactly what you are looking for.
Be nice to your sales associate. Help us help you.
Thank you for reading my rant. Now, it is time for me to enjoy my day off. I am in serious need of a relaxing bubble bath. More food posts to come soon!