1. Walking into the store despite it closing in five minutes and asking "When does the store close?" and continuing to browse.
This happens so often that I honestly think there are people out there whose sole purpose in life is to bring unnecessary misery to retail workers' lives. Why do customers think “we close in five minutes” means “we close when you’ve tried on twenty different items that you won’t buy”? Here’s a note to people who’ve never worked retail: the longer you stay in the store and the more havoc you wreak, the longer the employees have to stay and clean up your mess. So please customers, do us a favor and know when your time to shop is up.
2. Come in with a huge return and get impatient that it takes longer than two minutes to process.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ll have a customer drop a mountain of clothes they want to return on my counter, whip out their phone, look up at me and say “can we make this quick? I’ve got somewhere to be.” I respond as politely as I can, and scan the items as quickly as my register will allow (it frequently runs at a snail-like pace, especially in times of need). Usually about five minutes pass and they look up, sigh dramatically and say, “could you speed this up? I need to get going.” My patience is a little strained by this point in the transaction and I was always told to keep my mouth shut when I run out of pleasant things to say so I nod politely and carry on. If I’m feeling petty that day I may accidentally drop a sensor, tacking on another 30 seconds to the process. By the time I finish the return (something that probably took a total of 5-8 minutes depending on the amount of clothes) the customer is visibly agitated and will either grumble about slow service or passive aggressively ignore my instructions for how to swipe their card and tack on an additional 35 seconds to their time at my register. By the end of the process both the customer and I are relieved to never encounter each other again.
3. Allow you to ring up an item before frantically asking if it's their size.
While this isn’t the worst thing a customer can do, it is a bit of a nuisance, especially considering a. I don’t know your name, let alone your size and b. don’t you think you should’ve verified that before deciding to check out? If it is a customer’s size I can go on my merry way and carry on daydreaming about tacos. But, if it isn’t I’m forced to void the item and go on a manhunt for the correct size, causing the line to be held up and customers to get bitter.
4. Come in with a vague description of an item they want (i.e. black dress I saw online five months ago).
It is amazing how imprecisely a customer can describe an item and still demand they receive it within minutes of telling me. I’ve been approached to find a "blue shirt I saw online last week." “Was it long-sleeved?” I asked, “I dunno.” If finding this dream shirt means so much to you, how can you forget the length of the sleeves? It’s my job to make sure you get the item you want, but please people, take a screenshot or learn to use your adjectives if you actually plan on getting the clothing you want.
5. Asking if you know when a random unrelated store closes.
Once again this is--admittedly--a little nitpicky, but I’ll never understand why a customer will ask me what time another, entirely unrelated store closes. I once had someone ask me what time the Abercrombie & Fitch closes, and my immediate response was, “they still have those?” I thought that was a funny reaction, but the look on their faces told me that they were less than amused. Here’s my piece of advice dear reader: Google it.
6. Wearing the outfit that they intend to buy to the register, despite the fact that you have to remove the security sensors.
I don’t even know why this has been something I’ve dealt with on countless occasions, but it is. I’ve had ADULTS walk up to the register in some new jeans and a top, both with security tags on them that I physically can’t remove with a human inside the clothes. I politely tell them and their response is similar to my response to the subject of Geometry: utter confusion. “But I thought you could just take off the sensors like this” they’ll say, visibly disturbed. “No ma’am sorry, you’ll have to remove the items for me to check you out.” I once had a family carrying a six month old who "already loved her new outfit" and was wearing it, sensors and all, to the register. I had to ask the parents to remove their daughter’s new dress in order for me to safely remove the sensor. And for 45 seconds there was a topless infant on the counter and I wondered if her parents would ever tell her the tale of that time she was topless in the middle of a store as an infant. I certainly would.
7. Place their items on the counter and ask if its okay if they continue shopping while you ring them up and disappear off the face of the Earth.
All I have to say on this subject is why. Why, dear God, would you come up to the register when you are nowhere near done shopping? You waste my time, you waste other customer’s time, and it’s just tasteless.
8. Go shopping on a weekend afternoon and are shocked and angered by how busy it is.
I work in a huge tourist area and weekends are utter madness in the store, lines for the fitting rooms and the registers get to human centipede-levels of long. But, it’s something everyone I work with handles with ease, and we make sure to constantly inform customers of ways to shorten their wait time. However, for some customers it’s just not enough and they come to the register, slam their clothes down and after I ask them how they found everything (something I do out of courtesy, not interest) and they then proceed to go on a rant about "ridiculously long lines" and "waiting for eons." I always respond with “We get busy on weekends, try coming Tuesday mornings, have a great day.”
9. When a man walks up with his wife/daughter/girlfriend/woman and says "I didn't find anything but she sure did (insert Dad laugh)."
Stop doing this, it’s cheesy, slightly sexist, and I’m tired of fake laughing to the same joke.
10. When their card gets declined and instead of calling their bank or trying another form of payment they blame the technology.
Personally, I don’t care about a stranger’s finances, yet every time a declined card comes my way (which is almost always because people never call their banks when they go out of town) I get the customer’s entire financial history. When they finally allow me to interject, I suggest they call their bank since they’re travelling and they sigh and say “they always do this I’m always too lazy to call.” People, honestly, if you know your bank freaks out when you cross state lines CALL THEM BEFORE MAKING PURCHASES. It’s not the card reader’s fault, it’s not mine, it’s not even the bank’s; it’s yours, deal with it.
11. Yell at you for something entirely out of your control.
I’ve actually had people get mad at me about Chicago’s steep clothing tax (it’s 9.25% in case y’all were curious). People will have their credit card in hand and then feign surprise when their total is a little higher than the total of their items. I’ve had people try and push me on this, resulting in me reading out the price of every single item they bought. Another thing I’m often yelled at is when ANOTHER cashier leaves the security tag on someone’s clothes and I have to remove it (my register is closest to the entrance). Customers decide that I’m the reason for the utter misery of walking a couple feet to get the tag off. One man yelled, “Do you even train your people here?” directly into my face. Seriously customers, it’s a security tag that got detected before you even left the store. It is not the end of the world, please act like the adults (I assume) you think you are.