As someone who absolutely loves their job in customer service, yes really, there are certain pet peeves I have. I love helping customers and making sure that they have a fantastic shopping experience where they find everything (and more) that they are looking for. Trust me, as someone who has done food service and retail, this job is by far my favorite. However, there are a few pet peeves that I, and just about every retail worker have. Besides leaving your clothes all over the fitting room, the biggest pet peeve that many customer service workers have is the often condescending way that we get talked to or dismissed. Remember, many of us bust our butts to make your shopping experience a good one. So, here are 5 things that you should avoid saying to retail workers this holiday season:
“Why do you send me all these coupons?! They never work on anything.”
At this point I am probably just going to give you a blank stare because if you genuinely think that I have any control over sending you coupons and what they work on, you are probably delirious. Retail workers are just as frustrated that your coupons don’t work, so don’t berate us for something we can’t control.
When a retail worker greets you with “Welcome to (insert store)! Can I help you find anything?” and you just ignore them.
Don’t do this. Acknowledge sales associates (in a polite manner) because we are just trying to make your shopping experience go faster.
“I need to speak to a manager.”
Okay, there are situations where this is warranted. But, as someone who works on a retail management team, more often than not I have customers who are sent to me because they didn’t get their way or the price they want. Coupons and prices aren’t negotiable just because you’re being difficult. If anything, you’ll rant and rave and storm out and we will have a good chuckle about your childish behavior over lunch.
“The sign in (insert department you aren’t actually in) said it was half off.”
Most of the time you are relying on the sales associate not actually checking and taking you at your word. Sorry, honey, but I’m not knocking down a pair of $100+ designer jeans without validating that price with the sign, our register system, and probably the online listing as well.
“It’s Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays.”
Cue my head exploding. There are many sales associates that avoid completely using any holiday sentiment for the fear of being berated over choosing more inclusive wording. If you tell me “Merry Christmas” then I will wish you the same, but if I say “Happy Holidays” don’t get upset that I didn’t read your mind and assume your religious affiliations. It isn’t an attack on your faith, it’s an attempt to share holiday sentiment and joy without excluding non-Christians.
Basically, the point is just be kind to retail workers this holiday season….and every season. You may think that we are in “starter jobs” that don’t require a lot of work, but I guarantee you that my nine to thirteen hour days can be awful or wonderful and it all depends on the way you treat people. So be kind and caring and realize that taking your frustrations out on sales associates this season doesn’t help anyone.