Upon completion of my first article regarding annoying customer traits, I realized that there were so many more that popped into my overtaxed mind. After working retail for five years, I have come across several annoying characteristics that customers possess. Alarmingly enough, any time I shop at Wal-Mart or Albertsons I cannot help but notice that people are largely unaware of their detestable habits of mocking, berating, and creating an almost impossible working atmosphere for retail employees. Here again, if any of the following seven customers, describe you to a “T,” make a New Year’s resolution (and yes, I am aware it may not be the right time of year for this): Change for the sake of these good people who want little more than to make their lower-end wages and go home utterly exhausted. Because retail is exhausting and difficult work.
1.) Customer with a Screaming Child
Some may call me heartless right off the bat, but if it is at all possible to leave a child home when you know that he or she is going to give you a hard time, please do so. A decibel level of 85 or greater can cause a severe amount of permanent hearing loss. I ponder how loud a child can scream at times. Often, when I was a cashier, a mother would be too pre-occupied coddling their ear-piercing and screeching child to attend to the business of paying for groceries. I do lend a sympathetic (if not covered by hands) ear to those who must bring a child shopping. I also appreciate the finer points of parenting, but if it is avoidable, leave junior at home. Ear damage should not be part of the minimum wage job description.
2.) The Indecipherable Customer
For whatever reason, some people mumble when they talk, babble incoherently, or just stand in front of a counter fully expecting you to read their mind. While working at the liquor department of Walgreens, I had the distinct pleasure of serving this type of person (and in some cases, I was quite sure the customer had already invested a sufficient amount of time hitting the bottle already). If you are one of these people, please learn how to speak clearly and succinctly; it should be a written law that if you request a brand of cigarettes from behind the cashier counter or a bottle of hard liquor, a clear and concise tone with proper voice projection should be mandatory. Customers often became miffed and surly when I asked them to repeat themselves again and again. It’s not fun for either party involved.
3.) The Coupon-Mania Customer
Here again, I sympathize with individuals who need to use coupons all the time; trust me, I am one of them. I find myself in this category to a certain extent. Using coupons remains vital to my livelihood as an educator and a minor-league writer. But when you are the kind of person who carries a wad of coupons the thickness of a telephone book, and plop them on the check-out counter for careful analysis, you really are not taking others into consideration. What about the line behind you, glaring angry daggers at the cashier? What about the overwhelmed cashier, who probably yearns for a 28 story building to jump off? As a common courtesy, look through your eighteen hundred coupons before you are next in line.
4.) “I Am Always Right” Customer
Some customers believe the age-old axiom: “The Customer is Always Right.” Perhaps some businesses still follow this hard and fast rule. Most, however, let that go during the Reagan administration. This form of customer is usually angry and defiant, demanding that an item be on-sale even when it’s not. And once they do not get preferential treatment, they will voice this tired saying. Management will usually appease this person to get them out of the store and in the process, the part-time cashier will look like the antagonist. It’s a crying shame. If this is you, ask yourself how you sleep at night, knowing you probably made somebody’s day miserable to save a dollar or two?
5.) The Cell Phone Customer
Thankfully enough, when I was in retail the cell phone had not become as hot a commodity as it is now. I only encountered a few customers that get totally side-tracked by the silly jingles that signify a phone call. Here again, it is a breach in etiquette in some unwritten book to totally ignore that you are next in line and have some groceries bagged and waiting for you. Put the phone down, pay the nice and tired cashier, take your bags, and then attend to your phone conversation. It is a particular nuisance when one is waiting for a customer to finish their phone conversation when they need to order something only accessible behind the counter. This not only affects the cashier, but everybody behind the inconsiderate phone babbler.
6.) The Incredibly Indecisive Customer
Customers will often act as if they are children lining up for ice cream at an ice cream truck. They need to take in the entire scope of their options, second and even triple-guessing what they want to order. In the meantime, the line of disgruntled people behind him or her continues to snake and wind its way out the door into the parking lot. Such was the case around Christmas in Walgreens liquor department. Please, if this is you, be attentive to the fact that people do not want to spend the holidays in line to purchase holiday cheer. Know what you want before you get the “next” call.
7.) Sick As A Dog Customer
As I stated in my first article regarding inappropriate customer actions and characteristics, there is not a single human being that should be treated like they are mildew on a shower curtain. Or, in this case, like a tissue or handkerchief. I cannot count how many times a customer has coughed or sneezed on me as if I were little more than a disposable Kleenex. Do adults really need to be reminded about proper hygiene or are some people really this rude and obnoxious? Make a conscious effort to realize, kind reader, that the harried retail worker does not want your germs.
Feeling paranoid yet? Are you guilty of any of these rather belligerent traits? If “Round 2” is responsible for anything, it is to hopefully teach a lesson: Respect others who may be in a different position than you. On your way to get the eggs, cheese, and milk, give a friendly smile, nod, and “How do you do?” to the brave individuals who work the retail position. They deserve at least that much. And while you are very slowly writing out a check that you could have mostly completed at home, give a little something extra if you see a tip jar.