Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Customer's Always Right

Being a member of the retail world, we have a saying: "The customer is always right." Unfortunately, I'm going to rebel against that statement and say: "No... The customer is not always right!"

Every job has its ups and downs. One of the perks is that I only get to work part time and practically get to manage my own schedule. On the other hand, we're working for minimum wage and working for some pretty rude characters. I'm not saying it's not my job to make the customer happy. It is in fact my job to make sure that the customer has a "happy experience". But I've found that working in the world of retail, some people make it so hard. Until I get a real degree and get out of school, I'm stuck dealing with the world of retail, so why not just make this mediocre job an interesting blog post by listing a few of these annoying characters?

  • Unpleasant customers: Anyone working in any job, will tell you that it's not an enjoyable experience working with irritable people. Nothing compares to the fury of a grumpy customer. At Hollister, I admit, some of the clothes are teeny tiny. The largest size we have in women's is an 11 (which feels like an 8 or 9 in regular jeans). One woman came up to me, her face bright red, her arms shaking in madness, waving these jeans in the air. To begin with, she tapped my shoulder (or I should say finger punched), almost putting a dent in my shoulder blade and said: "EXCUSE ME. I'm a size 11, and I know I'm a size 11. These jeans don't fit. Do you have a larger size?" Being a trustworthy retail worker, going by the code: "The customer is always right", I put on a smile, and explained to the woman that our largest size in women's jeans is size 11. I also explained to her that the sizes do run smaller in this store, but I would be more than happy to go in the back and find her similar jeans that may fit better. I don't know what part of that explanation translated into: "you're fat", but she accused me of calling her a whale, threw the jeans at me, and stormed out the store.

  • The Tattle Tale: These characters, I absolutely ADORE! These are the people determined to get you fired, no matter what it takes. Fortunately, I've only had to deal with two of these characters. The woman that stands out in my mind, made a big deal about a scarf she wanted to hold until the day after(a scarf... In Miami... ). Unfortunately, Hollister does not hold any items. I tried to explain this to her and she refused to listen to me. Going on a scarf rampage, she asked for my name and asked to speak to a a manager. Having absolutely no worries, I gave her my name and took her to the manager myself. Of course... when the manager explained the same exact spiel I did to the woman, she made a whole scene and stormed out the store. I guess she didn't like the idea of her not being right.

  • The "That's Their Job" People: These are the people that think it's ok to totally screw up the displays and knock down articles of clothing from hangers with the assurance that: "they'll clean it up. It's their job!" I was working one day, and I had just finished neatly organizing a display case, when a group of women (seeing that I had just done this), started browsing through the clothes and started throwing them all over the display table. At least have the common decency to mess up the table when I'm gone, not while I'm standing there.

  • The Fitting Room Slobs: These are the customers that try on a mountain of clothing and just leave it in the room. Come on... I'm standing right outside the door, you can't hand me the clothes that you've just tried on?

  • The Indecisive Customer: These are the people that typically have a large amount of clothing to buy, the natural born shop aholics, that decide at the last minute they want to check out the cute little top in the corner over there. Meanwhile, there's a line of customers out the door, and you still have this pile of clothing on the counter, and some clueless person roaming around the store taking a half an hour to make up their mind.

  • Managers Who Don't Lift A Finger: I understand that managers have their job to do, and the minimum waged retail workers have their job, but from what I've seen from some managers, their hard earned cashed is earned through chatting, flirting with the customers, and calling friends in the back room. When the days are busy, somehow they disappear, and the retail workers have to juggle the retail jungle by themselves. Fair? I think not...

There are some retail workers out there that do not know what they're doing and are lazy, but not all of them are. If you see someone trying to help you as much as they can, don't take it for granted. As much as people like to believe: "the customer is always right", in reality, that's not always the case.