I have been working in retail for about 5 years now, and I can tell you that almost every week we have customers come in that we call “the eight fifty-niners.” No, this doesn’t mean that we have a group of eight 59 year old people come in the store. This title is given to those customers that choose to come in and shop at 8:59 pm, knowing full well that we close at 9:00 pm. It never seems to fail that there are those people who come in at 8:59 and start shopping for a new wardrobe. It’s times like those (and a few others) that I feel that being a courteous shopper is something that seems to be almost non-existent these days. It may seem silly to write an entire blog post on this, however because retail is my job it’s something that I deal with on a daily basis. So today I am going to give you a five helpful hints on how to be a courteous customer!
Entering the Store
This may seem a little nitpicky but how many times you enter and exit the store does affect some of us. I didn’t realize how much it affects some stores until I started working in retail. Most places have sensors that are attached on the door that count the number of people that enter and exit the store. Every day we are expected to convert a certain amount of people to buy items. For example, we may be expected to convert 25% of customers that walk through our door and if you walk in and out of the store 5 times, you are affecting our business numbers. This is the same idea with the app Shopkick. If you walk into a store just to get Kicks and have no desire to shop there, you are affecting the stores conversion in a negative way. (P.s. If you stand outside the door and wait a minute your kicks will go through, I promise.) This may seem stupid to you, but I promise you that if you come in the store and stay in until you are ready to leave we have so much appreciation for your thoughtfulness! If you come in with your kids, we would also appreciate if you keep them from running around inside our display windows. Not only is it dangerous to them, but we have also worked really hard to make them look nice. Also, if we say hello to you please acknowledge us. We are just trying to be friendly! 🙂
Picking up items from a table
You found an adorable shirt that is folded neatly on a table and you realize that the size you need is down a few or at the bottom of the stack. What you do next can make or break you as a courteous customer. If you pick each shirt up individually to look at the tag size and throw it back on the table without making any effort to keep it neat or folded, you are the person that we call a tornado. We call you that because after you’ve found 5 t-shirts on that table there is no longer a table it’s just one big pile of t-shirts, and it looks like a tiny tornado has occurred. Please, I beg you, please do not be a tornado. What you probably don’t know is that we have just nicely board-folded that table and we shudder in horror after we see the mess that 5 minutes ago was beautiful. So here is what you can do! If you see a sales associate nearby ask them to get it for you. I promise it’s not annoying because you are making an effort to keep their beautiful table clean. If there isn’t a sales associate nearby, you can lift the top of the shirt (near the neck opening) and look at the size on the shirt. Do that down the pile. If you want you can even spin the shirt pile around to see the size better (just please spin it back around). When you do find your shirt size, just lift up the stack a little bit and pull out the size you need. We really appreciate if you help us keep the store tidy!
Fitting Room Etiquette
At many stores you may have to ask someone to let you into a fitting room. If that’s the case you might have to wait a minute or two to be let into a room. Sometimes where I work it is only one other person and myself running the store, so if we are both helping other customers we may not always be able to get the fitting room the instant you ask us. We are very sorry, but sometimes we are just really busy. When you are let into the fitting room you may be asked to give your name and how many items you have. When we ask your name it’s so we can make you feel like you are being helped individually. There is always something pleasing about hearing your name said; it makes you feel special and important! Which you are! We appreciate that you chose to shop with us! When we ask how many items you have please don’t take it personally. We do that with literally every other customer that comes in the fitting room. After you have tried your clothes on please do not leave them in a pile on the floor. This is not your bedroom and we are not your maids. That may sound harsh, but it is a problem that we deal with daily. When you are done with the clothes you don’t want please put them on the rack/shelf of items in the fitting room, or if there isn’t one please give the clothes to a salesperson. They will definitely know what to do with them and you will save them a whole lot of time and trouble trying to pick up after you.
This kind of goes along with what I said earlier about acknowledging us when we talk to you. If we say hello or start telling you about some of the deals that we are offering that day we really would appreciate if you didn’t ignore us and walk right by us. Yes, I know that you might already know exactly what you are coming in to shop for, but we might tell you something important about that item that you are looking for. We could probably even show you where that item is so you don’t have to waste your time looking for it. Also, it’s general politeness to pay attention to people. If you are talking to someone and they act like you are not even there it makes you upset doesn’t it? Believe it or not, we are people too and we like to be acknowledged! If you are checking out and something isn’t ringing up correctly, please calmly tell us and we will look into it. Please do not yell at us and assume we are trying to rip you off, sometimes things just don’t ring properly. About 90% of the time if something isn’t ringing right it’s not something that we did, it’s the stupid cash register not reading something correctly. If you get angry and start yelling at us, it makes us upset and not want to help you. If you are calm and pleasant about it we are most happy to fix it for you and if it is an error that we have made we are probably going to fix it to the price you thought it should be.
To all you people out there that come into our store at 8:59 and start shopping for an entire wardrobe we really do not appreciate your thoughtlessness. If you come in at 8:59 and know exactly what you want, grab it real quick, and leave at 9:02 that’s awesome! You are a super shopper! We don’t mind you! However, there are not many like you. The 8:59ers that come in and expect us to be happy that they are shopping for socks until 9:45 (that’s 45 minutes after we are supposed to be closed) are the ones that are the actual worst. How would you like it if I came into your place of business and kept you from going home for 45 minutes? Yeah, that’s how we feel too. We are sorry that you spent more time at other stores and missed our store, but we will still be there tomorrow. All we ask is that if you know you want to spend some time in a store, please respect their hours of business and come back another day.
I write these things to encourage you to think of others while you shop. As a retail worker speaking for the general whole we want you to know you are important! Without customers we wouldn’t have jobs! We really do appreciate you! On the flip side, without us you wouldn’t be able to buy all of your favorite clothes! We do try very hard to help you find what you need and have a fantastic experience while doing it! I feel that if we learn to mutually appreciate each other, shopping will not only be easy but an enjoyable experience for all!! Thanks everyone and happy shopping!