Eleven things people working in retail want their customers to know
Basically, don’t be a dick
Working retail is an experience like nothing else. I'd worked in customer-facing jobs before but you can never really know what its like until you experience it.
So, these are the eleven things people working in retail would like their customers to know. Follow these and, trust me, you'll get much better customer service as a result!
1. Speak to us like you'd want to be spoken to
Funnily enough, this one applies not just when you go shopping. I love my mum dearly but she is the absolute worst offender here. Whenever she isn't the most polite to a retail worker, I like to play the maternal guilt card: "Would you want someone to speak to me like that, Mum?"
This may seem heavy handed but it's time the world knew: I don't stop being a person the second I put that garish blue t-shirt on.
2. If you're nice to us, we will literally bend over backwards for you
To be honest, you don't even have to be nice. Just don't be a complete wanker.
3. The stock room is much, much smaller than you think
I'm convinced some customers think it's like there's a second shop up there. As though we're hiding all the best bits from them. I remember being shocked on my induction day over just how small it was.
4. Yes, we agree with you, Christmas stuff comes in far too early!
I can hand on heart say that working in retail has very nearly ruined Christmas for me. And that is because I have been visually confronted with it since late September!
I was working a late shift on Halloween this year and our Halloween stuff had sold out weeks before. I saw one lady frantically searching for a last minute Halloween costume pick up a pair of Reindeer antlers and sarcastically say to her friend: "I guess I could go as fucking Rudolph, huh?"
5. Every once in a while, something will get majorly overhyped on social media and it will sell out insanely quickly
Continuing on the Christmas theme, the place where I used to work sold Harry Potter advent calendars. They had been featured heavily on the shop's social media pages and were all over Facebook. However, most people working in-store had never seen one in the flesh. This is because despite having come into stock in late September, they sold out in 12 minutes!!
Unfortunately, if you come into store looking for something that's gone viral, it's likely it has already sold out in record time.
*Humble brag disclaimer*
I randomly stumbled across one of the advent calendars when working on the desk in the fitting rooms one shift. A manager let me briefly off-shift to go buy it because it was such a huge deal that I'd found one.
6. If you get handed a little slip of paper at the tills inviting you to fill out a survey, it means you've been so lovely you've probably made our day
They come out randomly but most cashiers will hold them back for customers they like. This is especially true if they've written their name on it.
7. Take your headphones off if you're being served at the till
Leaving them in is just plain rude to be honest. Taylor Swift can wait.
8. If you're in Scotland, expect to get Scottish notes in your change
As someone from England, I understand that trying to spend Scottish notes south of the border is a headache. However, we are a shop, not a bank. We don't control the notes the last customer used or what is in our till float from the start of the day.
I used to work on Princes Street so would get a lot of confused tourists who would behave like they'd just been given Monopoly money.
9. Dear random men, please stop using female retail workers as size guides
"Hi, I'm trying to work out what size to get for my (insert female relation), what size are you?"
If it is impolite to ask a woman's age, in what universe is it socially acceptable to ask their dress size? I am very thankful I'm petite enough to have almost always been smaller than the guy's sister/wife/daughter. But plenty of my female colleagues have been called fat whilst being used as a point of comparison to work out sizes.
10. The unspoken bond between retail workers is unbreakable
The side-eye look you give each other when something happens is the purest thing known to mankind.
But also, when things go wrong you can always rely on your co-workers to cheer you up. I have witnessed people cry mid-shift and everyone always rallies round to cheer them up and cover whilst they sort themselves out.
11. Working in retail (especially at Christmas) builds character like nothing else
I am genuinely so much more resilient as a result of my time spent working in retail. My first shift in retail was on the Bank Holiday Monday during the Fringe, and I was placed right at the front of the store. At the time I wondered why on earth they would do that, but since then I've realised it was to see if I could hack it or not.
To quote a former supervisor, if you can survive an ultra-busy shift in retail, you can survive anything! Customers treating you like an actual human being, however, makes a world of difference.