Can store associates do anything about rude customers?
From blog entries to queries on AskReddit, the internet is packed with stories from store associates detailing how boorish customers can make their working lives miserable.
Business Insider recently interviewed 34 Target floor associates and found 14, or about 40 percent, citing rude guests as the worst part of their job.
Many customers feel overly entitled and pack unreasonable expectations, according to a number of online posts from associates.
“I despise treating adults as children,” one Target associate told Business Insider. “We’re told to do whatever it takes to make people happy, including allowing them to steal. Seeing a middle-aged person throw a tantrum because they changed their mind on an air mattress and can’t return it makes me sick.”
A common complaint is being reprimanded or insulted by shoppers for things beyond their control, such as store policies for returns or coupons, out-of-stock situations and not being able to change an item’s price.
Wrote Kami Marie Funk on medium.com, “You are essentially yelling at an empty register when you demand changes that neither the sales associate nor the manager can make, except the register you’re yelling at has feelings.”
Beyond the irrational demands, shoppers can behave in ways they wouldn’t outside the store. These include letting their kids run wild, leaving a dressing room a mess and putting items they don’t want on the wrong shelf.
A newer common complaint is being unable to engage with customers at checkout who are taking calls on their mobile phones. An older one is customers arriving just before closing to browse.
For many, feeling ignored can be particularly frustrating. These include not answering cashiers when they ask questions, not acknowledging a greeting from an associate and walking off while being helped.
Wrote Alex Claycomb on Odyssey, a crowd-sourced website of self-published works, “We are here to help serve the customers, but at least treat us like human beings.”
- Target employees share the 6 worst things about working for the retail chain – Business Insider
- 10 Pet Peeves All Retail Workers Have – Her Campus
- 8 Biggest Retail Pet Peeves – AskReddit
- You Know What Really Grinds Retail Employees’ Gears? – Odyssey
- Retailers’ Biggest Pet Peeves – The Street
- Pet Peeves of Working in Retail – ihateworkingretail
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice do you have for store associates and managers on dealing with shoppers’ social infractions? Has the behavior of shoppers toward store associates worsened over the years? If so, who/what is to blame for the degradation in behavior?