Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Experiences in Retail-pt 1

I recently started a job in retail. I work in a store where we make packages for bridal showers and things like that.

So a woman comes in 2 hours before closing and asks if I can still wrap something. "Sure," I respond in my most proper manner, my coffee-stained teeth gleeming. So, after an hour of deliberation, she made her decisions. That meant it was an hour to closing. She finally left. I headed to the room where we make the packages, and just as I put down the items, the bell rang. More customers.

20 minutes before closing time, I got started on her package. I had told her to come back 15 minutes after the closing time. I was quicker than I thought, because I was actually ahead by a few minutes. Or so i thought. I just had to put the final touch-the cellophane. So I cut myself a generous piece. Too short. So I went back to cut another piece, and the doorbell rings. She heads straight to "employees only" room--I may invest in a sign--and complains, "There's a few inches that look empty here--what can we put?" So, a broken pair of scissors, and a dozen different decorative flowers, bows and ribbons later, she decides to add something from the store. So I made a bow around it and glued it on. "Happy now?" I asked calmly, masking my teeming rage. Then we were back to the cellophane. It wasn't wide enough, "I can't take it like this," she threw her nose up in the air. Fortunately, the boss came in and showed me a wider cellophane that I had never used before (I'm only working here a few days, people) and I started to wrap it. This smart aleck starts "helping" me and we finally get it together. Then she complains about the ribbon. It's not enough. It's not nice enough. It's not fancy enough. There's not enough "color" Well, that's all we have, unless you want your thing to clash and make it look like your 6 year old daughter made it. Then her friend parks her car and walks in. She parks her fanny right there, and makes herself at home. She cut herself a piece of ribbon that barely matched, to say the least. "You can tie that yourself, since this is your project," I muttered. She tied herself an uneven, ridiculous looking "bow" and I thought she was done. Wrong-O. Then she complains about the cellophane on top. She took another while figuring out how she "likes" it. Just as I was about to get to the Wustohfs, she decided she was done.

Oh, but I missed the best part. While "we" were wrapping the thing, she got a phone call, she told her caller, "I'm still in the store, the girl here is new, so it's taking some time." WHOA. My fume-o-meter almost burst. I politely retorted, "Well, I don't think the fact that I am new here has anything to do with it. I think it might have been helpful if you would have come in a little earlier. There were customers all day after you left, and I can only do so much." She basically ignored me, and "apologized."

Does she think that just because I am a young girl she can treat me with complete disrespect and lack of consideration? Stick a sheitel on my head, and let's see what happens. Why couldn't she fix the bow at home? and the cellophane. Why does she come in 2 hours befre closing, leave me with one hour to work, and not believe it was still not done? I thought that what I made was nice. I take/took pride in my work, and the store's reputation. Why must she ruin that for me? I have experienced things that were not done to my satisfaction, but it was good enough, and I complimented them on it, rather than shooting down every bit of confidence the person had. If I wanted I'd fix it on my own later.


At 8/03/2005 3:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a normal day at the shop. As you gain more experience in retail, you will see many more "unreasonably" demanding customers over time - so get used to it and don't take it so personally. You should remember that in the business world, the customer rules, since they are essentailly buying your services and time, so they have a legitimate justification for being demanding.

At 8/03/2005 6:32 AM, Anonymous Hitman said...

That really bothers me. I know there can be a lot of pressure in retail, but it is just plain wrong to treat another person like that. I understand that is the nature of the business and you will have to learn to hold your tongue, but just because they are the customer, doesn’t give them the right to treat someone poorly, especially when you are trying to help them. It shows a real lack of appreciation on their part. There’s nothing you can really do. You can just hope that maybe her own daughter will one day work in retail and be given the same treatment.

At 8/03/2005 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately,there has been a general downgrade in derech eretz. Many people have lost the simple respect required for other human beings created in the image of
G-d. Just look at the way kids talk to their teachers/parents these days. Retail or no retail, a reevaluation of our level of derech eretz is certainly called for.

At 8/03/2005 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the Hitman, and disagree with the first comment. Just because you're paying, it doesn't give you a right to act like a prick. What ever happened to sensitivity? I go into a store, and I'm sensitive to the guy/girl behind the counter, so I try to make things easier. I try not to be so demanding, and if something isn't perfect, so what? The idea that, hey, that's life, is stupid.

At 8/03/2005 7:23 AM, Anonymous Call me whatever.... said...

I disagree with “hitman” (did you put a lot of thought into that name?). If you work in retail you have to go out of your way to bend over backwards and give the customer exactly what they are looking for. Customer is always right.

At 8/03/2005 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then you missed the Hitman's point. He was simply saying that customers should not be such idiots. Yes, they're paying, but you know what? The worker is human, and embarrassing another person is like killing him, according to the rabbis. So the package isn't exactly how you like it. Big freakin' deal. So I guess it's okay to make another yid feel like crap. You must be from Brooklyn, where if you have money, you can do whatever you want. Money gives you a free pass.

At 8/03/2005 5:34 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

There are too many anonymouses for me to address individually, but you'll know who you are.

Re the downgrade in Derech Eretz---it's because 1) the kids are raised fresh off the boat illegeal immigrants who won't discipline the child in fear of their job, and 2) the schools are too busy making sure nobody is wearing red shoes to teach the kids anything significant. They'd rather force meaningless chumras on the kids regarding their images rather than DE. As for the Boys Yeshivas, they are too busy making sure the boys know Blatt Gemara or whatever, than caring about how they treat others.

As far as the customer always being right, my father has been in retail for some time, and I used to work there as a kid, so I learned that it is worth taking a loss in order to make a customer happy.

Another thing I learned from my dad is being nice to the people behind the counter anywhere you go. He has done that since I was little, and now when he jokes around, I join him. I remember once in Old Navy, the person ahead of me had a whole basket of stuff, left the line to get something else, and resumed her position. And I was in a major hurry. I was too much of a wuss to say anything (she looked tough) so when the cashier asked the profunctory,"How are you today?" I responded in a long-winded explanation of what had just happened. She smiled and said, "You know, I was having such a bad day today. I was just feeling so blah, but you--you're funny--Thanks...you made me smile! You just turned my day around.." I know that sounds like one of those stories that the Rabbis tell in their speeches, but after experiencing it first-hand, I was so happy that I chose to talk to her rather than ignore her or belittle her with a muttered,"okay."

At 8/04/2005 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know who's right an wrong when it comes to the level of demandingness of a consumer that is allowed. But whatever the case is, the ladie's comment re the "new girl" was extremely inappropriate. Everything else can be argued about, but that comment was hurtful, insensitive, and really not excusable.

At 1/15/2006 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all the customer is always right! Second of all what the lady said was disgusting. However deal with it ! Nothing is going to change them


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