The holidays have already creeped up, in fact the mall Christmas trees where I live went up on October 16! And seeing people react to the tree going up so early was quite amusing on my end…
Anyways, Christmas is my all time favorite holiday of the year. I am that girl whose wardrobe turns into shades of red and green starting December 1st. I wear my infamous elf hat all month, and while adults are giving me strange looks, little kids mistaken me as Santa’s elf.
This dressing up hype begun about five years ago when I found myself standing at the entrance of a retail clothing store, greeting customers for 6 hours on my first day ever in retail on Black Friday. It was my first day working in retail and it was full of chaos and madness. Watching people turn into animals going bonkers over $5 t-shirts was amusing to watch the first day. When I switched stores and started working elsewhere, I thought the animals would lessen only to find out I was wrong.
Five-years later, here I am counting down the days till the first holiday of the season, Thanksgiving -which is just 11 days away! This holiday represents giving back and being thankful, which I see very less of in-store. And I have been quite afraid to approach my fifth season in retail. The last few years, a select set of customers have made me an unhappy elf in-town, and it makes me cringe inside, and sometimes make me want to quit my job.
1. Knocking on the doors before and after hours.
Normal store hours where I live are, 10am-9pm Monday thru Saturday and Sunday’s, 12pm-6pm. These hours are on our store doors and mall doors. Why is it, local shoppers especially, are found knocking on the doors intensely to open the doors when we are clearly not opened yet or have already closed. It’s almost as if they feel the store is always opened and we sales associates live at the store 24/7.
2. Walking away while I greet YOU.
I understand when you walk in a store, you just want to shop and do your thing. But it is part of my job to greet every customer that walks in with the sales of the day. It can be annoying, especially if you’re hearing a sales pitch every time you walk in multiple stores, but please have a little respect and let me do my job and do not walk away. In fact YOU will end up being the one chasing for an associate later asking what today’s sales are OR complain that no one spoke to you since you walked in the store.
3. Unsatisfied with my opinion.
I love helping customers when they walk in, and sometimes it’s really hard to give a hundred percent services to each individual, simply because our store doesn’t have what you are seeking. But it is not okay to disrespect a sales associate saying, “you aren’t giving me enough options and not showing me what I want.” There are plenty other stores which may cater to your needs, do not shout and blame me for not having the product you want.
4. Asking for coupons.
There are times when we just don’t have coupons OR we really can’t let customers use certain coupons more than once. We’re still totally okay if you ask, but there are some customers who believe we are hiding a stash of coupons so you can’t use them. Why would we do that!?
5. “But I picked it up from the clearance rack.”
This dialogue is too famous for me to handle. Especially during the holiday time. Stores can get a little out of place, meaning product gets moved around quicker than Kim Kardashian breaking the internet. And if you picked it up from clearance and even after we double check the price for you, you insist us to give it to you on clearance? What kind of logic is this?
6. BOGO Deals…
This I just don’t get. If scarves are 2 for $15… no it does not mean one scarf is $7.50, it means one scarf is it’s original price $10… otherwise why would there be a sale?
7. “Give me your employee discount…”
I used to get this a lot when I first began retail. Customers would come up to the register with loads of items, and then say, “give me your employee discount.” Um, excuse me? Are you an employee here?
This is the most disgusting thing I see on a weekly basis. I have seen all sorts of people shoplift, from little middle schoolers to elderly customers who probably have grandchildren. It’s a very cheap gesture and my insides shatter when I see this. There are days I want to buy things, but I can’t because I don’t have the money to do so, so I just don’t buy it. Never in my mind has it ever crossed to steal and/or shoplift.
9. Unsatisfied, even after satisfying YOU.
Sometimes customers aren’t satisfied with the customer service they receive and will voice that to us. I think this is good, because it gives the store a chance to do better and know where we need to improve. And in return we will give a coupon, discount on your purchase or sometimes even a complimentary gift card (depending on the situation). BUT even then, YOU are unsatisfied and want more? Sorry we can’t give you free items nor can we feed you free dinner if that’s what you are seeking.
10. RETURNS AND EXCHANGES!!!
Oh here’s my favorite. Saving the best for last…
Returns and exchanges can be a bit dicey. Each customer needs are always different when it comes to returning items, and we as associates will do everything we can to make YOU satisfied. BUT if you used a $10 off coupon, it does not mean you should receive those $10 back in cash, because that was a coupon the company gave to you to use in-store. If your items look used, washed, or have a strange odor (like cigarette smells) then we are not supposed to take them back as we cannot re-sell it. If your item is 5 years old and does not even exist in the system anymore, again we cannot take this item back. Of course, exchange and return policies are different per store… but really don’t return a shirt you already wore and washed.
In conclusion, please just respect the next sales associate you encounter, especially during the holidays. We have taken our time away from family to serve you and we are happy to do so if you send back a smile and simple thank you. We try our best to make customers happy and content. Treat us like human beings and we will treat you like one too. Do not fret over ‘things’ and ‘items’ because at the end of the day, they are just things and items. They will never go away and stores will never disappear.
Happy shopping and Happy Holidays!