We tend to focus a lot on the complaints that consumers have with various companies and industries, but it’s the people working at those businesses probably have complaints about you, too.
Over the weekend, dozens of users on Reddit, a popular social news site, opened up about their experiences working in retail, in response to a simple prompt on a discussion board, “Retail workers, what are your pet peeves?”
We pulled the best responses from the discussion board and used them to compile the Five Golden Rules of Shopping. If you’re guilty of breaking any of these rules, think twice before showing your face in the store again because you’ve probably made a secret enemy out of someone working there.
1. Get Off Your Cell Phone When Checking Out
In case you aren’t familiar with cell phone etiquette in general, let me fill you in quickly. You’re not supposed to use your cell phones in movie theaters, restaurants or on first dates and family dinners. Similarly, the retail workers of America would like to announce once and for all that you should stop using them in the check out line.
“When you buy something, you will be forced to interact with another human being via aural communication. So as you approach the checkout, please, hang up your phone,” writes one Reddit user who goes by the handle, M_Me_Meteo. “You try to ask them questions but they ignore you. And then afterward they want to fuss at you for something that you actually tried to ask them earlier. Or hold up the line to finish their call before they pay.”
If you do have to take a call while in line, at the very least acknowledge the retail employee in front of you.
“People on cell phones don't really bother me, if they make an effort,” writes Mulletman13. “Most of them do, and they'll mouth 'thank you', or 'sorry', or nod or anything like that, but the 5% that [sic] don't do a damn thing really piss me off.”
2. Put Stuff Back Where it Belongs
This should (hopefully) come as little surprise to shoppers, but when you pick up an item, decide it’s wrong for you, then place it on the opposite side of the store, someone has to recover and put it back.
A Walmart employee named VinFx describes his frustration with this: “The other day at Walmart, I saw a pack of turkey bacon in the candy shelf before the register. I touched it and it was fully room temperature. Ruined,” the user wrote. “I have no idea why jerks have to do that. They were 3 feet from the cashier and could have said they didn't want it. Instead, they jammed it in between the Snickers and Bubble Yum racks costing the store $4 for nothing.”
3. Don’t Be A Snob
If you feel the service is sub-par, you have every reason to complain to the employee or the manager. But if you prefer a different store, don’t mention that to the employees.
“I work at Lowe's, and the next exit off the interstate is Home Depot, and all I ever hear from whiny customers is that they'll go to Home Depot. It gets tiring,” writes Vocalities. “If Home Depot is so much better or they have it for cheaper, then why aren't you shopping there?”
4. Never Use Checks
Some stores prefer Amex, others only accept MasterCard, but most stores genuinely hate when you pay with a check. Why? They’re a lot of work and aggravation.
“Checks. Using them, making me run it through a machine, and then have to tell you it was no good. Not having them filled out before you get to the counter. Using a check for $17 worth of merchandise. Asking me why I have to copy your DL# on the top. Getting mad when I ask to see your identification. And then changing your mind halfway through the transaction, and making me call a manager and fill out a special void/return slip because you had to pay with a check,” one user, Peachbot wries. “I worked in sporting goods and the only time I ever had a line long enough to be called a line was when some idiot wanted to pay with a check.”
5. Be Mindful Of How You Handle the Money
Sometimes the small things are what count the most. Several users complained that customers commit a cardinal sin by the way they hand their money over to the retail worker.
“Change first and then the bills into my hand please,” Kampamaneeti writes. Otherwise, “the coins slip all over the paper, and don't f$#&ing give me a dirty look when it takes me five seconds longer because I've dropped half your change.”
Another user, ShutUpIamDreaming, complained about shoppers “putting your coins on the counter, especially if I have my hand outstretched, waiting for the change you're so diligently counting out.”
I’d like to point out this particular grievance cuts both ways. Personally, I’ve had store workers who commit both those mistakes, and like the users above, I’d certainly count it as one of my big pet peeves.
Have you ever worked in retail? If so, what are your biggest complaints? Let us know in the comments section!
Check out MainStreet’s roundup of stories about the worst customers ever.
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