So in the past year I have worked in nearly every kind of retail. Victoria’s Secret. Bath and Body Works. The Limited. and a Discount Shoe Store called Becky’s.
At each and every store I have discovered that there is a general lack of appreciation for employees, disrespect to product, and overall laziness exhibited by shoppers. From this year of experience (which I know is not a lot) I have made some personal rules of how to shop with the whole picture of the store in mind (that is keeping the employees, display, product, and other shoppers in mind) while I am in the store.
Rule 1: Don’t touch it unless it’s necessary. For employees everything that is slightly off kilter is something that they have to fix again. When I go to any store, even Wal Mart or Target, I have a no touch rule. I don’t touch anything unless I want to check a price or look at a label.
Rule 2: Be friendly to greeters. I realized while at the Limited that greeting was an actual job. When I was in this role I was supposed greet everyone who came in the door and tell them all about the promotions. Most of the time people would shrug me off and keep on walking. It was such a hard job to do right mainly because people did not think it was necessary for me to tell them how to save in the store or to make them feel welcome. I think greeters (who try) deserve a brief moment when you walk in the door.
Rule 3: Put it back where you got it… unless you are told to leave it somewhere else. I don’t know why people pick things up and put them down elsewhere. At Bath and Body Works people would pick up a lotion and put it down over in the anti-bacterial gels. Why? And at Becky’s people will literally leave one of the shoes that they tried on in the floor, the other on the shelf. Not only that but they will usually put them back on the shelf backwards if it makes it to the shelf at all. I know this is more than likely an issue of lack of awareness of the rest of the shoes in the store and the direction they are facing, or laziness to actually turn the shoe around, OR I have heard several customers say that “oh a worker girl will get that.” One time a man told his son to not put his shoes away because I would not be earning my money if he did it… Basically, when I shop, I always will return any item that I have to the place I got it.
Rule 4: I don’t haggle with coupons. After working in stores that do not stack coupons, I now understand why discounts on discounts are not offered. There is always special deals going on in the stores and usually coupons can only be used selectively. Before I shop I always read the fine print on coupon BEFORE I go to the store.
Rule 5: Say Thank-you. Usually the employees will thank you for coming in today… and its awkward when people say you’re welcome or nothing at all. I know that is the normal response, but every time some one said it I felt a little unappreciated. So now, when I am leaving the store, I always say thank you.
Rule 6: Speak Up/ Listen: Through watching people shop, I have found that until there is an issue on price or some other random conflict with the cashier that most shoppers are passive aggressive. When shopping its better to speak up, even if you want to ask to squeeze by another shopper (so many people will walk around an entire store instead of interacting with someone blocking an isle). If there ever is a problem when checking out (like if you don’t agree on the price or think something was scanned twice ect) it is important to bring it up and then LISTEN to what the cashier has to say. I have cried so many times over people yelling at me for a mistake that was easily fixable. It is frustrating to not be treated like a forgivable human being.
Rule 7: Don’t always blame employees for the way the store looks. At Victoria’s secret, the panty bars were an total mess 80 percent of the time. Some nights we would stay past mid night trying to make every drawer perfectly sized and folded (folding underwear is my new worst nightmare. I hate it). Then the next day the shoppers would ransack our work and it would be a wreck again. THEN shoppers would complain about the mess and sometimes tell the workers that they needed to do a better job. If things are messy… I have learned it is because for every customer there usually needs to be an employee right behind them cleaning up. Don’t blame the employees.
Rule 8: Don’t multi-task. I never try to eat or drink anything in a store. The chances of a mess or a spill is very likely, especially if I want to use my phone and carry anything I want to buy too. Plus, its always gross when other people leave their trash in the store. Sometimes I even find people’s straws in the floor. Gross.
Rule 9: Wear what is appropriate. When I shop, I always dress for the occasion. I try to never bring a bulky coat (that I will have to carry around) or layers. So many customers will try things on and forget their cardigan, their belt, or even their socks when they get caught up in all the items that they want.
Rule 10: Don’t shop in a bad mood! Unfortunately, the trend of retail therapy is extremely hot right now. So many people seem to be angry shoppers. I have found that when I shop, if I can’t be nice then I go home. Most of the time I am moody because I am hungry, but for other people maybe they had a bad day or haven’t found anything they like; either way, it is best to not be in a situation where you can take out your mood on others.
I know these seem very general, but it has been on my mind. I have found that I enjoy shopping more when I look at the whole picture, and I feel bad for all those years of acting like such a stuck up ponce by not noticing employees enough. Its so much better to shop, be happy, and to make it easier for employees! I know I love it when people respect me, respect my job, and respect the store.
P.S. I know Waiters and Waitresses are under appreciated as well! So many of my friends work in restaurants and getting tips seems to be the worst way of making money most of the time. From their stories I have turned into a 25 percent tipper and even tip at Sonic and Fazolis. If someone brings me my food or asks me how I am doing, they are getting a tip for it.