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Working in Retail: Top 10 Pet Peeves

Updated on March 24, 2013

Retail Woes

Working in Retail, in my opinion, is probably one of the most draining and irritating positions to have. For the almost laughable wages you earn, and demands with the public, lets not forget the store managers on power trips, every single day is a nightmare. Million's of people have worked in retail, all of these people can relate in some way to my top 10 Pet Peeves that I rant about on a daily basis to my friends and family, and now to all of you.

1. Customers who walk into a store and ask you where some random item is before even looking for it.

True Example: A women walked into my store, I had at least 6 people in line, I was the only cashier working and my phone was ringing. I watched her walk in the store and walk straight up to me and ask where the printer ink was. Now here's a little tid bit of the layout of my store. When you walk into the entrance... right in front of you there is a HUGE sign hanging from the ceiling in bright blue lettering that says "ink cartridges". So I say to her "Ma'am, the ink is right behind you in that isle. She turns around and asks me to show her. So I point to the ceiling and say again, "Ma'am, the ink is right there." Then she tells me her printer model and asks me to find her the proper ink. Our store is extremely busy at the moment and I try to call for another associate to help her, but everyone is already helping someone, so I ask her to wait for moment until I ring out my line of customers and I will help her. Instead of accepting that, she starts throwing a tantrum and asks for the store manager. So I try to tell her that there are booklets in the ink isle where she can look up her printer model and it will tell her the ink cartridges she needs. She proceeded to yell at me and then told my store manager I was rude and refused to help her.

2. Expired Coupons

The one thing 90% of the customers do not understand with coupons is, depending on each individual store, is the fact that most POS systems will not let you override coupons, corporate tracks coupons because they print out a certain number and pay for advisement on the sales and it is a promotion. So if you walk into a store with an expired coupon and the cashier apologizes to you and informs you that the coupon is not valid and you yell at them for how ridiculous it is for them to not honor it, you are wrong. Every time a coupon is double scanned or reused, or used after the expiration date, the store is taking a loss, which means every time a manager overrides the coupon for you, their numbers get tracked, and if it happens enough you are risking their job, for what, 5 or 10 dollars because you didn't use it in the allotted time? For all the people who have screamed at me over an expired coupon and called me names, and complained about me, I am doing my job, following the rules and refuse to risk my job because you are yelling at me.

3. Customers who were raised in barn

Before I die, I would like to understand how people can make such a mess. Let me just go into fitting rooms for a moments. I have worked in Office Supply, Clothing stores, restaurants and pet stores and nothing compares to cleaning fitting rooms. Explain to me how it is too difficult to simply rehang the clothes? Or if you really don't have the time to rehang them, or the strength... why can't you simply make them not inside out? Do you even realize the process it takes to clear out fitting rooms? Lets say there are 5 fitting rooms and 4 people go into each fitting room and have 8 items. That's 20 people, 160 items of clothing that need to be properly hung up on the right hangers and then separated by each department and then put back in the right spot. Imagine an hours worth of people using those fitting rooms, 100's of items of clothing... Imagine doing this repeatedly for 8 hours. Once you finally rehang the clothes and refold them and take them back onto the floor and put it all away, which takes some time, you go back to the fitting room and its a mess again. Day in and day out. It starts to drive you insane.

4. Returns without a receipt

If you walk into a store with an item, and have no receipt, pretty much every store will take the item back upon these conditions. The store sells that item, you still have the original packaging or the tags for the item are attached and its not damaged. Then they will give you the lowest price that item has sold for in the last 30 days, that includes if someone walked into the store during a massive sale and used a coupon in the purchase and that item ended up costing them 30 cents, everything is tracked in the systems and you could get 30 cents back for that item, on a cash card. For the customers who throw a fit because they aren't getting back the full amount for what they paid in cash, they are crazy. Logically speaking you could have stolen the item and want to return it and get cash. If you have no proof of your purchase, you are lucky that you are even getting anything back, and if that isn't good enough keep the item, give it away or donate it to a Good Will. Do not yell at the people working there for your carelessness.

5. Screaming Children/ Playing Children

I'm sorry to all the parents out there, it's not that I dislike kids, its the fact that if you are shopping for an hour and you have a screaming child that is cranky and you are taking your time browsing through clothes ignoring your kid that is screaming bloody murder non-stop and you have no disregard for everyone else in the store, please leave. Bottom Line.

If you have kids that decide a store is a perfect place to play tag and run around... Leave. Your kids are running into everything, running into customers and causing mayhem. Its annoying and irritating that you haven't taught your children how to behave in public.

6. Customers who talk on the phone in the check out line

For me this is the fact that during my check out process I have to ask you questions, such as are you paying for this purchase with Debit, Credit or Cash? If you are on the phone completely ignoring me, you hold up the line. So I have to stand there and try not be rude by interrupting you, so i cam proceed with this check out. Not to mention when I tell you the total and you don't here me, and don't realize whats going on or that its time to pay and I have to stand there and try to get your attention five hundred times. Just set the phone down for two seconds or call them back.

7. People who don't read the signs

True example: At my job we have a lot of rebates so the sign will say 4.99 after rebate then below that it says, price 7.99. Customers will come to the check out and get mad that the item rings up at 7.99 and they wont let me explain to them that it's a rebate, no... they fight with me, and interrupt me and walk away to show me that sign says 4.99 and come back angry, telling me that its false advertisement, and blah blah blah.. I want to see a manager. The famous response to when they don't get their way...

FULLY READ THE SIGNS before you go on your rant!

8. Impossible sales goals

What is there really to explain? Employee's are hounded by their managers to an almost harassing point to make stupid sales goals, with no incentives The items needed to be pushed are usually items people don't need and aren't worth getting, and when you don't make your ridiculously high goal they harass you more and tell you aren't doing your job. Which in turns makes you go from trying, to saying "fine... I don't really give a f*ck."

9. Standing for long periods of time with hardly any breaks

In retail you are expected to smile 100% of the time, be upbeat and cheerful, friendly and efficient. Half of your day is dealing with rude people, horrible bosses and when you add back pain, sore feet and tired legs its almost impossible to focus on anything other than finding the closest chair to sit down on and rub your feet and pop a few pain killers to make it through the end of your shift. By the time I clock out I have been standing in the same spot for hours, if I am not standing I am lifting heavy items, or I am bending and stooping, or I am running through the store. When going pee becomes a break to sit down for a few moments you know your job sucks. When I walk to my car to leave I am limping, the first thing I do when I go home is take off my shoes and crawl into my bed, when I muster up the will power to get up and make some food I limp to my fridge and cooking isn't even worth it so I microwave something. When I wake up to do it all over again my feet still hurt.

10. When people tell you your job isn't that hard, that retail is easy

I would like to see you get screamed at everyday, stand on your feet for 8 hours and get paid very little to deal with the things retail employees deal with. In this economy I know people who have a Masters Degree in engineering that are stuck working for 8 dollars an hour in retail because the economy is that bad. So if you are getting paid more and get to sit behind a desk, shut your mouth.


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    • xuniperx profile image


      6 years ago from Pennsylvania to Georgia

      Great article! I feel your pain. If you're working Black Friday this year, good luck to you!


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