Monday, January 11, 2010

Advice for Retail Owners - FIRE THE CHUMPS !

There is nothing more annoying than a person working retail who just doesn't give a shit. I don't buy into the 'oh, they're just young'....who the f**k cares about their age...and what the hell does that have to do with it anyway, like somehow the fact that a person is young gives them carte blanch to just show up and get paid because somewhere down the line they're smarten up and get a career. Funny enough, I've come into contact with bad retail people of all age, so it's not limited to the 16-19 crowd.

I'm sure you have all been in this situation. You walk up to a counter ready to fork over your hard earned cash for whatever...and the person behind the counter either 1) acts like you just ruined their life 2) acts like you're a moron 3) acts like they have half a brain or 4) is just plain rude.

Then there's the best one ever...the person is looking down at the register or some such thing and continues to do whatever...never acknowledging you...THE CUSTOMER...and possibly leaves to do something else.

I seem to attract these people...let me give you a few examples of what I've dealt with over the last week.

The first occasion I was picking up an order that my wife called in (mmm British Fish and Chips). I walked up to the counter and stood behind a person who was completing their transaction. Once they were done I moved to the counter. The dude who gave the person ahead of me their order walked back into the kitchen. This left a girl at the register who was looking directly down at some receipts and sorting through them. I was standing directly in front of this girl. I waited politely for her to finish....and waited...and continued to wait while she looked through her receipts (never once looking up). Another girl came from the people sitting and walked by me, by the other girl and began to wash her hands. Original dude came back, gave me a look and then began to chat with second girl about salt shakers or something. Girl at register continues to look at her receipts. Second girl goes back to the tables but gives me a smile as she walks by...obviously assuming that register girl has got me covered.

At this point I begin to scream in my head. "HEY...HEY...LOOK AT ME !"

Dude comes back and begins to move like he's going somewhere so finally I say "excuse me, am I invisible ? I'm here to pick up an order" and I nod toward a bag that's off to the side assuming the one that's been sitting there is mine. He gives me a look like I've just told him his mother is a whore (maybe the invisible thing was a bit snotty but I had been standing politely and not being served). Dude looks at the order and asks me my name and determines it's mine. He loads it up with the ketchup and tartar sauce. Register girl has STILL not looked up and just seems to be shuffling receipts with no end in site. Dude tells me the total and moves toward the register. Register girl turns to the left...not once lifting her gaze and and heads into the kitchen, never looking up. I paid...and left...gladly.

The second example was at a 7-11. Now I don't expect to be treated like I'm a king, but these places are supposed to be fast...that sort of defines the 'quicky mart' industry. I walked up to the counter with a drink. There was a woman being helped by one staff member, and another woman in line. There were two other clerks stocking or counting the cigarettes and had their backs to us. The woman being helped had a stack of scratchy lotto cards and was going through each was obvious she was going to be there for at least another 20 minutes. After waiting about 3-4 minutes, the woman second in line gave up and left her stuff at the counter. So I moved up (AGAIN SCREAMIN IN MY HEAD..HEY HEY HEY HEY!).

At no time did the clerk look at me and say "sorry for the wait, I'll be with you in a second" or "hey you dumb bitches filling the cigs, one of you get over here and help this dude". No, she just focused all her attention on the soon-to-be-tenthousand-dollar-aire. After a few more minutes I gave up. Got the girls attention, dropped a two on the counter and said "That's for this, I don't have time to wait for an hour to get 16 cents in change" and I walked out.

In both cases, I probably won't visit those establishments again.

Look. Mr/Mrs retail manager/owner. There are simple rules to follow. ACKNOWLEDGE your customers when they come to the till. Even if you're busy, saying "I'll be right with you" goes a long way and lets people know that they will be helped soon. If there's more than one person on staff and you have them doing inventory...TELL THEM TO STOP AND HELP AT THE TILL...what good is inventory if no one comes in to buy it ! Also, if you're helping a customer that is going to take longer than normal, you can still help someone else if you see that they only have a couple things to ring through.

There's more, but as usual, when I think about this stuff it gives me a headache...

I'm sure you have all been through this, and I've made a decision that the Canadian in me will disappear. I will have no problem being vocal about how bad the service won't make me friends but it will make me feel better (I won't have an aneurysm waiting to pay for my squishy by bottling up the rage).

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