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Monday, February 15, 2010

Working in Retail

As life goes on, I’ve found one has to be willing to make adjustments in their lifestyle in order to keep living the way they’ve become accustomed to. For example, when I got divorced I had to decide if I would like to be homeless, or if I would rather live in a house and eat. Since I’m rather fond of food and running water, I chose the latter. In order to accomplish this, I needed to take a second job.

Finding a job wasn’t hard. I chose a craft store because I do rather a lot of crafty sorts of things and I figured if I had to have a second job, it might as well be something I enjoy. By the by, I have now accumulated enough crafty-crap to open my own store. So, I started in the floral department and learned how to make bows, then I became a cashier, then a cashier supervisor and finally a closing manager within the first year that I worked there. High turnover is extremely helpful when one wants to move up the ladder.

Which brings me to the reason I am writing this. Why do retail stores have such high turnover rates? Part of it is pay, some of it is management, sometimes people just move on. However, the really good departures are brought on by the accumulation of customers and the things they do. I say really good departures because those are the ones where a cashier rips off their smock, throws it in the garbage, and tells everyone where to go, finishing with “I Quit!”.

So, if you’re a retail shopper and you really want to piss off the employees where you’re shopping, take a hint from some of the customers who have visited my store and see what kind of reactions you get. Just don’t be surprised if an employee leaps over the counter to strangle you.

1. Please talk on your phone the entire time I am ringing up your purchases. I like nothing better than to hear about your sisters hair-ball obstructed cat while I practice my miming skills of you swiping your card through the reader.

2. Please allow your children to dump the Beta fish into bowls together to watch them fight. We love picking the remains of our fish out of the bowls. If I see you again I’m calling PETA.

3. Do be sure to berate the single cashier who is trying to ring up the line of customers as fast as she can. Continue to complain loudly to the other customers about having to wait in line. I’m sure it was the cashier that decided we only needed one person during that time frame. Maybe that will teach her a lesson.

4. Play hide and seek with the merchandise. Be sure to gather up a bunch of items and drop them in various places throughout the store. If you don’t have time for that, just fill up your cart with things, preferably from as many different departments as possible, and then leave it in the middle of an aisle somewhere. Don’t worry – we’ll put it away for you.

5. When your child vomits all over the cart and the merchandise in it, whatever you do, don’t let anyone know about it. It’s much better that you put it back in with the carts. We’ll find out about it when the next customer grabs the cart and starts screeching and threatening to file complaints to the board of health.

6. One of my personal favorites – do your business in the middle of the bathroom floor. Perhaps the toilet was at an inconvenient height, or maybe you have a fear of snakes coming up through the hole in the bottom. Either way, we were greatly entertained by the pile in the middle of the floor. Thanks for having the decency to cover it up with a roll of toilet paper.

7. Piss your kids off right before you come to the checkout so we can experience the joy of your two year olds temper tantrum. While I yell your total over the ear-piercing shrieks of your ill-behaved monster, please tell it repeatedly about how you’re going to take it to get a nice new toy or an ice cream. That gives me hope for our future.

8. Thank you for leaving your half masticated Whopper wadded up in the seat of a cart. Same goes for the used Kleenex, empty soda bottles and used diapers. Really, it’s just what I always wanted.

9. We close at 9pm. Please show up promptly at 859 and 30 seconds and insist that you only need something “really quick”. Then wander around aimlessly, avoid the employees that are trying to assist you finding your item, and bring up your .99 purchase to the register at about a quarter after. If you’re going for bonus points, after she rings it up tell her you changed your mind.

10. Whatever you do, don’t tell the cashier if something doesn’t ring up right until after she’s closed out the transaction and charged your credit card. It’s much faster to go back and do a refund and a new transaction than it would have been to fix it from the beginning.

11. Rant at us about how you are a teacher/military personnel/senior citizen/cat lover, etc. We don’t actually offer a discount for these things, but if you hold up the line and keep yelling at us, we’ll probably knock off 10% just to get you out of the store. Hope that .50 was worth it.

12. We are aware that our cart return bins are located at least a mile from where you had to park and hike in. Therefore it is perfectly acceptable to just leave the carts wherever you like. Extra points if it's a particularly windy day. Everybody enjoys cart dents in their cars.

Those are just a few helpful hints to make your shopping experience a bit more productive. After all, think of how much you are helping people like me every time you drive another person to quit their job. Come to think of it, you’re actually helping everyone out here – the employee that quits will move on to something bigger and better giving a teenager a chance to get their first job, which starts to help out social security which will be taking care of you eventually. So the moral of the story is…..huh. This doesn’t really have a good moral. Looks like you win either way.

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