"Show me a person that works in retail and I'll show you a person that has a loathing for all humanity". I saw this on a bumper sticker once and it made me laugh. I personally love retail and I love customer service and the adventure that it provides each day. However, anyone who has ever worked retail can identify with that statement at least every now and then. I know I can. People are crazy. People are quirky, fun, nice, weird, mean...you name it!
One thing that I've noticed in my retail adventures is that there are certain types of people that make customer service personnel want to lower their opinion of humanity a notch or two each day. Here are a few of the types of offenders that I have noticed are common in retail:
It's ok to ask questions. Sales associates are there to assist and genuinely want to help people find what they need. But the Needy Nellie takes question asking to a whole new level. This person needs to know everything about every item in the store. Sales associates need to be prepared to offer up price, function, and name of the manufacturer's-sister's-cousin's-dog's-mother of every item or else the Needy Nellie will be severely put out. Needy Nellie also has no filter and will ask questions before thinking it through.
Nellie: "what is the difference between these two products?"
Associate: "um...well one is shampoo and one is a belt sander..."
Nellie: "ok but why would you buy one and not the other?"
Associate: "one is for washing your hair and one is for sanding things"
Nellie: "ok but which one would I use to clean my bathroom?"
On top of everything, the Needy Nellie does not have the ability to listen. All sales associates should be ready to answer the same question multiple times. (so like I was saying about that belt sander...)
The Tester Molester has a compulsive need to try everything in the store. No tester? Don't worry, the Tester Molester will make their own! Every spray will be sprayed and every product touched, felt and smelled. Boxes will be opened and contents thoroughly examined and then shoved half-assedly back in, if at all. Once this person has examined everything and made their selection, they will place their "tester" back on the shelf and buy a fresh one.
The Super 'Splainer (or super explainer) has to tell you their whole life story before they get to the point.
Super 'Splainer: "So the other day I was in Ogden, I mean I live down here, but I was up there visiting my grandma because she lives, well not in Ogden, but close to it, and she tells me last minute that she needs a blow dryer, ok she might have mentioned it before but I couldn't get it then because my kids were sick, so while I was up there, not in Ogden, but close to it..."
I will spare you the rest, but this is the Super 'Splainer's way of asking if they can return an item that was bought at another location. Simply asking this question is beyond the Super 'Splainer's ability. Also, not only can a Super 'Splainer not ask a direct question, they can not answer a yes or no question with either a yes or a no.
Sales associate: "Did you want your receipt with you?"
Super 'Splainer: "The other day I went to Target and I was buying a belt sander and when I got the receipt..."
You get the idea.
The Shouter Outer has no social etiquette whatsoever. This person will randomly shout questions into the universe and expect them to be answered. The Shouter Outer is oblivious to other customers and will holler questions at associates regardless of who they are helping or what they are doing. The bathroom is no longer private if a Shouter Outer is in the store. Sales personnel better talk fast because a Shouter Outer does not generally listen to the answer to their question before shouting another one.
The Jaw Jacker has a phone permanently stuck to their ear and will often have inappropriate conversations while in a store. My personal favorite overheard convo was about some poor girl who was out of work because she had "stripper's knee" from, yes, stripping too much. Apparently this is a real condition. At least that's what I (unwillingly) heard. Jaw Jackers will stay on the phone the entire time they are shopping and will not hang up when it's time to complete their purchase. Often the Jaw Jacker will roll their eyes or act put out when the sales associate does something so "rude" as to give them their total, ask for payment, or wish them a nice day on their way out. Combine a Jaw Jacker with a Shouter Outer and you've got trouble!
So there you have it. Do you recognize any of these people? Have you possibly identified any of these behaviors in yourself? I, personally have a tendency to be a bit of a Super 'Splainer. However, since I have identified the problem, I can usually stop myself from telling people things they really don't care about and just get on with the transaction. So the next time you are shopping and you notice that your friendly store associate is gritting their teeth through their smile...stop...take a minute to think. Are you a Shouter Outer? A Needy Nellie? A Tester Molester? I think everyone has done one of these at least once. I want to know. Which one are YOU??