Tag Archives: Pet Peeves

Holiday Retail Pet Peeves Part 3

Loyal Readers…

I’m sorry I haven’t written in over a month. I could make excuses. Maybe I’ll just cut right into the topic.

I just re-read parts 1 & 2 to make sure I don’t repeat myself. Here’s links to the first 2 in case you feel like some light reading.

https://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2013/01/01/holiday-retail-pet-peeves/
https://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2013/12/03/holiday-retail-pet-peeves-part-2/

I’ve spent a lot of time in Retail which has provided me with almost nothing, other than these lists. It gets a little crazy around December with all the Christmas shopping. People get a little annoying. I’m a trained soldier in dealing with said people, but my patience wears thin from time to time as well. I am human of course.

– If you are a human being that is unhappy with a product, you are probably spitting mad, and looking for a verbal confrontation. That’s probably the only thing in your mind that’s going to make the disappointment and anger subside. So who better to take your day out on, then some poor teenager who makes minimum wage to work (possibly seasonally) at the store you purchased the product from. Sometimes the product you buy will direct you back to the store for your customer service issues. Other times, you might have a number on the box that you can call to talk directly to the manufacturer……which you will ignore, and come into the store anyways, demanding satisfaction from whichever unfortunate teenager happens to be standing near the entrance to the store. Don’t phone ahead to find out what the proper protocol is. Just show up, and then if the situation isn’t resolved, make sure you tell everyone how far you drove, and how much your time is worth. People, listen….. Stop treating store employees like they’re the ones that manufactured the product you are unhappy with. They didn’t. Unless you’re lucky enough to see the same person that helped you, they probably didn’t even sell you the item. The retail employee has ZERO control over the longevity and effectiveness of the product that you are using. They have ZERO control over the exchange policy that they are PAID (very little) to enforce. I know you want to yell. I know you want that vain in your forehead to pop out with anger. Everybody from the product designer, to the manufacturer, to the warehouse, to the store level employees probably really wanted you to be happy with this product. They aren’t trying to swindle you, and if they are, it’s certainly not happening at store level. I know you thought that when you spend X amount of money, that the world would open itself up to you in the form of this product, and everything would be the way it should be. That wasn’t the case for you this time. Not the fault of the part-time employee whose lunch break isn’t even long enough to run to the food court and back. Stop the abuse.

– My new favourite shopping dynamic is dealing with the mother/daughter combo in which the daughter is a young adult, and the mother who no longer provides for her daughter is trying to remain relevant by brainwashing her daughter into believing that she is the fountain of wisdom, and nobody else’s opinion could possibly be meaningful. It’s subtle but hilarious. The daughter has no idea it’s happening. The mother is probably doing it instinctively, rather than intentionally. Once you figure out what’s happening, it’s hilarious to watch. The mother talks constantly, like she’s an expert on all things, and trying to influence the daughter’s choices. As the sales person, you are being almost physically shielded from the daughter by the mother, who feels she will lose credibility if an ACTUAL expert chips in with his two cents. So as the salesperson you have no choice but to hang back, and hope that either the daughter asks for your opinion, or the mother asks you where something is. If you get asked for your opinion by the daughter, you are allowed to give it, but it will be met with a frown from the mother, and daughter will then be steered back into the opposite direction. If it results in a sale, it’s a win for everyone. I’ve just never drilled down enough to explain this phenomenon until recently, but the more I see it happening, the more I understand that it stems from a great deal of insecurity from the mother’s part. This isn’t about shopping in my store. It’s bigger than that. It’s fun to be a fly on the wall and watch it. That said, it qualifies as a pet peeve, because the mother is usually rude to me, and chances are I know all the answers to the questions that you won’t give me a chance to address. Sometimes it’s more about the customer service experience, and that one is way more about personal relationships than it is about retail.


Holiday Retail Pet Peeves Part 2

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday shopping experience is underway for most people. Having spent a good chunk of time as a retail professional, I’ve been on both sides of this simultaneously, several times. There’s those long grinding hours on your feet trying to make everyone’s holiday wishes come true, and then if you can possibly squeeze it in on break or after work, doing the same for your own family and friends. People get stressed out over the holidays. I’ve never really understood why. I think it has to do with unrealistic expectations being set either by yourself, or by others. I think high expectations can be a good thing because it makes you strive for success, but when those expectations are too specific, it can lead to disappointment. For example, I think it’s great to say “I want to find a great gift for my mom this year.” It’s a lofty expectation, but very achievable. When you start saying “I want to find a purple blouse with pink flowers that has a 60/40 cotton/polyester blend in just the right size that will go just perfectly with those pants she loves to wear and that new scarf I bought her last year, but it needs to be from that store that she loves, and can’t be dry-clean only for my mom this year”…….. you might be setting yourself up for a bit of disappointment.

Last year I wrote part one of this blog, and was putting the consumers on blast for treating retailers like shit over the holidays while we humbly aid you in trying to make this ‘the best Christmas ever!!’ This year I will take the side of the shopper, and take aim at a few of the stores, and sales people whose ineptitude does not help us track down our purple blouses any faster. I bring you Holiday Retail Pet Peeves, Part 2.

– First of all, you don’t need to play Christmas music in November. This has gotten about as out-of-control as I ever could have imagined. I love Christmas, and I enjoy hearing Christmas music as much as the next guy, for about 2 weeks MAXIMUM! As a retail professional, I understand the psychological reasoning behind playing it as early as possible. It gets that clock ticking in people’s heads. As soon as Gene Autry’s voice starts singing ‘Here Comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus’, all the little Santa Claus’s out there start shifting into the holiday panic mode, and if you’re a retailer, why wouldn’t you want to stretch that out for as long as possible?? It makes perfect business sense. Here’s the problem….. It’s fuckin’ tasteless!!! There is absolutely NO NEED to play Christmas music before December 1st. Even that’s early for my liking, but it’s a compromise.

– As a retailer, if you’re going to run a promo for a limited time, you had better have that promo item in stock! For your customers, and for the poor bugger on the sales floor that’s going to spend his day getting yelled at. This should never happen, but I’ve seen it happen a number of times. The last time it happened to me, I was working at a major national department store in the seasonal department (aka the Christmas Tree department). They put out an ad in print and on their website which was email blasted to their database. It was a great promotion on a particular make and model of a Christmas Tree, but it was a one-day sale. I can’t remember what the discount was, but it was substantial. When I got into work that morning, it was the first I’d heard of it. I checked to see how many of those trees we had in stock. We had none. ZIP. ZILCH. ZERO. We had already sold out of them. Now, if you run an ad like that, you’re probably smart enough to put something on the bottom that says ‘while supplies last’, and that typically gets you out of most customer service situations….. but when it’s 10:05 in the morning, and you opened at 10:00, and you have 3 or 4 customers there already asking for this tree, you’re gonna have a tough time convincing them that you sold out this morning already. Maybe at 1 pm I can make this claim, but not at 10:05. So I spent my whole day explaining to customers that we were sold out for several days leading up to this event. You get the whole ‘why wouldn’t you save some for the event?’ (Because customers of course assume that the same poor slug who’s selling them the tree is also responsible for advertising and inventory levels of a national retail chain….. I mean, wouldn’t they be???) Anyways, I spent the whole day hearing stories of how far they drove, and how much it meant to them, and their opinions on our customer service and blah blah wah wah wah. Lovely.

– Every time I turn my head, the mall hours keep getting longer and longer. A few of us were chatting the other day about when they first introduced ‘Sunday Shopping’. Malls around here used to be closed on Sundays. Man, what a world! I think I like the option of shopping on a Sunday, but they just keep creeping the hours, earlier, later, longer. Why would a mall need to be open on a Saturday night? In December I get it, but all-year-round? Maybe if there’s a movie theater in the mall, and a bunch of hip restaurants, but I would say most malls should be closed at 6 pm on a Saturday. Let mall employees have a life for crying out loud. I don’t think it brings anybody new to the mall. I don’t think there is a sub-culture of Saturday night shoppers who wouldn’t do it any other time of the day/week that we’re finally capitalizing on. People will work within the parameters you give them. We always did before.

Well, I’ll save some for next year. All the best in your holiday shopping endeavors. Be safe out there.


Holiday Retail Pet Peeves

So it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’ve cancelled all plans to bring you this blog. I said I would blog on Mondays, and I won’t be stopped. Not even for the biggest party night of the year! Don’t worry about me though. I’m fully equipped with a bottle of wine, 4 different kinds of cheese, and a screaming baby in the background. I’ll get through this.
I’ve spent a few chunks of my adult life as a Retail Manager, and during the holiday shopping season the job description includes being a sales person and letting my paperwork pile up. I don’t mind that. I like being on the sales floor (when I’m in a good mood, and I find people tolerable). The holidays only come around once a year and it’s time to get that money if you’re a retailer.
I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of people talk about their holiday shopping nightmares, and you’ve probably had some yourself. Let me tell you that on the other side of that equation it’s not all rainbows and puppy dogs either. It’s more like caffeine and tolerance. For I have crossed path with every pigeon brained bozo allowed to roam the malls freely, and it’s changed the way I view humanity.
Here are (just) a few of my Holiday Retail Pet Peeves…….

– People who say ‘just looking’ after you say hello to them. I didn’t ask why you were here…. I just said hello. I kind of don’t mind this if I think you don’t speak English, but I find it kind of rude the rest of the time. I’m sure you think that I’m some crazy shark of a sales person (which is true) who’s going to hound you until you buy something (which isn’t true), and I’m sure that you’ve been victimized in the past by somebody very slick that has ridden you around the store like a donkey, and made your life completely miserable. So maybe it’s a defence mechanism to avoid situations like that. I understand, but I still don’t think it’s reasonable that when someone says ‘Hello’, or ‘How are you?’ that you should treat them like a non-human by saying ‘just looking’. Show a bit of courtesy by answering the question you were asked. You’re a guest in my store. Be polite!
– People who come in on December 23rd to try to resolve warranty issues. Don’t you know that this is the absolute busiest day of the entire year? You’re bringing me this issue that you could bring to me ANY DAY OF THE YEAR, and you chose today?? Have some respect!!
– People who try to get price adjustments for ANY reason whatsoever. If there’s a sale, and you weren’t there, you missed it. Too bad. If you bought something and the price lowered a week later, too bad! Why are you visiting items you’ve already purchased anyways. Part of buying something when its new is paying full price. If you wait until it’s stale, then maybe you get a discount. You shouldn’t be able to have it both ways, and any store that accommodates this is stupid. The customer is almost always WRONG. Let’s get the culture back to that reality. My favourite is when they come in whining about how they missed out on a promotion, and tell you it’s not fair (like a 4-year-old). Cancer isn’t fair!! You missing out on a sale is just fine in the grand scheme of things. Grow up!
– People that leave their Christmas shopping until December 23rd, and expected shit to be sweet when they get to the mall. They can’t believe an item isn’t in stock. They can’t believe there’s such a huge lineup at the cash. They can’t believe nothing is on sale. BELIEVE IT! It’s December 23rd!! I won’t lie. I’ve left my shopping for the 23rd many a year, but I never walked into a store with lofty expectations of how awesome my shopping experience would be. That’s just ignorant.
– People who have really detailed specific desires of a gift they want to buy someone, but nobody sells it or makes it. Like that purple sweater with a red stripe. They come in asking for ridiculousness, and then they’re mad when you don’t sell it. Then they tell you sad stories about them looking EVERYWHERE for it, and then asking for recommendations about where they might find it at another store, as if any reasonable human being would know where to find a purple sweater with a red stripe. Then the whole frustration conversation about ‘why doesn’t anybody sell this’, and before you can say ‘because it’s ugly’ or ‘I really don’t have time for your stories’ or ‘only a loser would want that’, you’re knee-deep in a conversation about the holidays and gift exchanging with someone you’ve never met, and would love to never see again, until getting stabbed in the eye with a fork seems like the lesser of the two evils. It’s December 23rd! Either lower your expectations or purchase a gift card, but either way, please stop talking to me and get out of my store.
– People who call the store to see if you have something in stock, but nobody can get to the phone, so they leave a voicemail with no name, and a mumbled phone number. Why do people always talk so slowly during the message, and then zip through the phone number which is the most important part. Then they don’t leave a name either, so I have to call back this number which I’m not even sure is accurate, and ask whoever picks up the phone if somebody called my store earlier?? WTF.

I’ve got a million of them, but I’ll leave it at that for now. Happy New Year everybody!