A life In Retail

14 Jul

I’m sure most people who live in the UK or have visited are aware that we have an awful reputation for customer service; in fact it’s something of a running joke. Well in this post I would like to flip this idea on it’s head and take a look at the phenomena of bad customers. Now I should point out that I’m not saying  all customers are bad customers (I’ve met some lovely ones ) just as not all retail assistants are good retail assistants because we all know some are unbelievably bad! I think the type of service also depends on the kind of shop you’re in, sometimes big stores just can’t offer the kind of service some customers would like because there just isn’t the time.

Having worked in a small independent shoe shop for nearly ten years now I’ve seen enough customers to start asking myself if sometimes there is an element of this:

Awful customer = bad service

I’m writing this partly because some of my experiences make me laugh and partly to defend those poor souls working in retail who slog away everyday only to get tarred with the same bad service brush.

Below is a list I have composed of tongue in cheek rules for being a bad customer:

  1. If there are 2 or more tills in a shop one of which is unmanned the other/others of which has an expectant looking member of staff standing behind it, please proceed to walk past the manned till and wait at the empty till looking at your watch and getting huffy. After a short interval please turn around and make eye contact with the aforementioned member of staff and then proceed to turn back around and continue to wait at the empty till. Alternatively just stand there and shout until someone comes running
  2. Please do not come to the till to pay while the shop assistant is free and ready to help; instead please wait until someone else approaches the till and then do one of the following A) stand behind them waving your purchases at the shop assistant. B) After being in the queue for 3 seconds proceed to look at your watch and stand on your toes pointedly looking around for someone else to serve you. C) Don’t join the queue at all but rather stand at the side of the counter staring at the assistant. If the assistant then serves the next person to join the queue instead of you, get huffy.
  3. If a member of staff smiles at you, scowl at them.
  4. If a member of staff looks free and approachable avoid them at all costs; instead look for a member of staff who is clearly run off their feet and harass them until they are on the verge of a mental breakdown.
  5. Please ask many questions and listen to no answers. Be sure to interrupt frequently.
  6. If you require assistance and there is no assistant looking in your direction stare at the back of their head and communicate your needs psychically.
  7. Please ask for the partner to a shoe by placing it on your foot and waving it at the assistant. When you are asked which size it is reply with ‘I don’t know” and stare blankly at the assistant.
  8. If you wish to spend a long time over purchases and the shop is open for 7.5 hours please wait until 5 minutes before closing to come in. Remember shop assistants will just love working unpaid overtime to look after you. It’s basically having your own slaves, isn’t that great?!
  9. Please be rude and then be puzzled as to why the assistant isn’t going out of their way to help you.
  10. If an assistant stays near you once they have delivered your shoes, get huffy and tell them to leave you alone. If on the other hand however they leave you in peace to try them on, get huffy because they left you.
  11. If you find the door is locked and the lights are off and the closed sign is on please proceed to stare through the window like a scene from a zombie movie.
  12. Alternatively if the lights are off, the closed sign is on but the door is open to allow staff in, please come in and wander around in the dark wondering why you can’t see and there are no staff to serve you.

Well I hope you enjoyed my little exposé of what working in retail can be like. Please remember next time you go shopping, that good manners are a two way street 🙂


2 Responses to “A life In Retail”

  1. hannurr July 14, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    13. If you don’t like/don’t believe the answer the shop assistant gave you wait 15 seconds and ask again.



  1. A life In Retail | Not so easy being nice - July 14, 2013

    […] A life In Retail. […]


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