Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to be a good customer: a revival.

I went to Target last night for a couple of food stuffs, and noticed this woman picked up a lipstick from the Revlon section and walk while deciding if the color was for her.  After a few steps, she placed the lipstick back on the rack, but in the Rimmel section.
Later, I saw her again at the cereal aisle, and she grabbed a box of Cheerios and a box of Apple Jacks.  She walked forward, decided she wanted Fruit Loops instead an put the Apple Jacks box back where the Fruit Loops go.

While shopping, I also found empty Starbucks cups, popcorn from the food court on the floor, and an opened box of oreos.

My point in typing all this?
It's people who do this who make retail a horrendous experience.

I worked in retail for a mere 8 months at CVS in 2010.  In those 8 months, I saw the how some people can be.

Thanks to facebook timeline, I was able to go back to my 2010 posts where I had a little series called "How To be a Good Customer" that I would post whenever I saw anything worth posting; and now I'll share that here!

How to be a Good Customer and Avoid Receiving Shitty Customer Service.

  1. Employees are not your kid's babysitters.
    I don't know how many times people would leave me their kids in the front of the store saying "I'll be right back, restroom!" while leaving their kids up front with me.  It's annoying.  Employees are not paid to watch your kids and possibly not even qualified to do so.  Take them with you or don't bring them to store at all!
  2. "Next Register" means go to the next register.
    Read the signs. Register is closed. Do not stand there and ask "is this one open?!" like a dumbass. Reading is power.
  3. Keep your reasons for buying certain items on the down low.
    Since I was working at a pharmacy, there were several times people would come up to the register with an array of medicines, or first aid, and try to explain to me why they needed it. i remember this one man telling me "I ate something really bad at Taco Bell, so I need the softner, pepto and tums. you know how it is."
    No. No I don't know because I avoid Taco Bell.  And I didnt need to hear it.
    Keep your reasons for buying certian things quiet, please. Gross.
  4. Use the price checker.
    People would come up to me all the time saying "how much is this?" when I was obviously very busy.  There are price checkers all over most stores. Use them. 
    If they don't work, then it would be acceptable to ask an employee.
  5. Please keep your children with you and keep your eye on them.
    Many times, I would see children running laps around the store aisles. Some would get items and throw them around, messing up the planogram set up and breaking things.  Some would even wander out the doors and we would have to run after them.  And the parents were no where to be found.
    Parents, put your children in the cart or hold their hands. Do not let them roam around.  Show them public etiquette.
  6. You won't be judged by what you buy.  Unless it's junk food and you're paying with EBT.
    EBT is food stamps.  Food Stamps should be for under privileged people to by nutritional food for themselves and their families.
    This does not include cheetos, candy, sodas, pizza, and other snack food in high quantities.  I remember ringing up someone who was going to have a party for about $90 worth of pizza and sodas.  They paid it all with EBT.
    This is what people do with public assistance?  Don't even get me started on people whose cards had remaining balances of over $1K...
  7. Say hi back.
    At CVS, we were required to say "Hi! Welcome to CVS!" with the enthusiasm of a child on a sugar high to every single customer who walked in.  Only few people said hi back (like Brenna! She always said hi to me and was always awesome!)
    Some people were just jerks about it.  Some would not acknowledge you and others would do this:
    Me: Hi! Welcome to CVS!
    Guy: I want sunglasses.
    Me: Well good afternoon to you, too!
    Guy: I said I want sunglasses.
    Me: Sorry?
    Guy: Sunglasses. Where are they?
    Me: I'm sorry?
    Guy: Oh forget it (turns back to the door)
    Me: aisle 20.
    Guy: what?
    Me: what?
     I would intentionally act stupid when stupid people acted like this. Be nice, say hi.
    I cannot stress this point enough.
    Signs are put up for your benefit.  At CVS, I was the Photo Lab Manager, and when our machines would be down, we would put up little signs saying "one-hour photo is undergoing maintenance" or "one-hour developing is down"...something to that effect.
    If you sit down at the kiosk, ignore the big white paper sign placed in front of you and go through the one-hour process anyway, do NOT start getting angry at the employees for not telling you anything. You were trusted to be responsible enough to read.
  9. Math is your friend.
    If you are going to dispute a price, do the math first.
    I remember one instance where a customer came up to me disputing a sale item that was listed for "2 for $7.98" on the ad and the tags. They each rang up to $3.99 separately, which was correct. The customer wanted to buy 1 and refused to believe that each were $3.99.  She was convinced they were $3.50. 
    She demanded to speak to the manager saying that I was lying about the price.  The manager came and gave her a mini math lesson.
    Know your math. Pay attention in grade school!
  10. The store does not make the ad. Corporate does.
    Many times, the ad has items the store does not carry. The CVS i worked at never carried the summer lawn chairs, for example.  The ad, however showed lawn chairs.  The ad also states "may not be available at all stores."
    That being said, people would come in looking for lawn chairs, only to be let down...then promptly begin yelling at me saying "THEN WHY DID YOU PUT THIS IN YOUR AD!"  One person harassed me for 2 minutes because of this exact reason.
    Honey, call headquarters in Rhode Island if you have a problem with the ad.  No one here makes them.
  11. Don't assume employees are high school dropouts.
    One time, a lady got upset because I did not know what a certain medicine was for. I told her to ask a pharmacist in the back, because they are qualified to answer such questions. She then said "hmpf, about as much as what I should expect from a high school drop out like you!"
    I told her right away "excuse me, but I probably have more of an education than you have since i am currently in school to get my second - yes second - degree in higher education, and it shows since I would never in my life degrade a person the way you just attempted to degrade me."
    Lady put the medicine down and left the store.  Fun.
    Not all employees are high school drop outs.  Some of us were trying to get through college.  Think before you speak!
  12. With that in mind, Don't act like you are superior just because you are on the other side of the register.
    Employees are people, too.  If you want respect as a customer and as a person, treat store employees with respect - same goes for people in the food service industry, cosmetology industry, any industry.
    Like the wonderful Queen J.K. Rowling wrote: "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."
  13. Do not leave unwanted merchandise just anywhere.
    It's disheartening to see lipstick in the candy rack, magazines in the pamper aisle and a bag of chips in shampoos after spending so much time making the store look presentable for YOU. 
    Honestly, if you are a messy customer who is careless about putting merchandise back, I always assume you are like this at home...and WOW a lot of people have messy ass houses judging by how they treat things at stores!
    If you don't want it, put it back in it's proper place.
    If you are being lazy and do not want to put it back, give it to an employee or your cashier.  They will appreciate that you do at least that.
    Even now that I am no longer in retail, I never leave things just anywhere; and when I do see something out of place, I usually fix it.  I should be on payroll for many stores in my area. Just saying.
  14. Be friendly!
    Be nice! Smile when employees smile. Say "hello," "good morning" or whatever when you go up to the register, even if the cashier looks like they would rather light themselves on fire. The small gestures go a long away.  Trust me, you will be remembered for how good or how bad of a customer you are, and the service you are given is based on how you treat those proving you the service.

You made it to the end! Yay!


  1. Omg. I used to work in retail and everything you have listed here all customers should follow! Half of it is just common sense.

  2. Oh, how I love this post. I'm in retail management and you've just said everything I'm not allowed to say on my blog due to contractual obligations.

    I especially like the comment you made about making assumptions about employees. I've shut a few customers down after they've made snide remarks about my intelligence. Granted, you have to do it in a polite way or risk even more abuse, but mentioning in passing that I used to own my own store and saying it in words that are too large for them to understand usually shuts them the hell up!

    Oh, and one last thing. Please, for the love of all that is holy, speak at a volume we can hear you at! Usually there is a speaker directly above our heads, people gabbling in the background and kids screaming in the next aisle. If you're whispering, of course I'm going to say excuse me twelve times!


  3. lol i remember those post. didn't you have some confession post as well...

  4. Oh my gosh, I LOVE your list! :)
    I've worked in retail for about 3 years now, and the human population never ceases to amaze me with their actions.
    Great blog!!

  5. I love this post!
    I've worked in retail for about 3 years now, and frankly, the human race never ceases to amaze me with their actions...
    Great blog!

  6. I second all of this! I worked in a supermarket and the customers used to drive me nuts. Another one - Please sort out your pile of 20 coupons before you get to my till because you are holding up the line. Also, the tills are programmed to take of the coupons. If you haven't bought the item and the coupon doesn't come off, it is not our fault!
    My supermarket sold alcohol and we always had underage people coming in, not getting served then hurling a load of abuse at us too.
    I totally agree about the assumptions too. Some people would treat us so badly. Even if they are high school drop outs people have no right to treat them bad. At least they are working instead of sitting on their bum doing nothing!

    1. exactly! it's funny how some people will patronize others because they feel "holier than thou" at the moment. pfft!

  7. This is a great post! I read every single one and can totally appreciate:)

  8. This is SO true - I went to the shop the other day and picked up a packet of cookies, and it was open and half eaten!! I mean, what kind of person does that? Great post!

    I promise not to leave any items in random aisles ever again :)

    Laura xo


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