Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The 10 Commandments for Not Being a Dick While Shopping


I've been working retail for about a year and a half now. While I've found (much to my relief) that most people will be pretty decent while shopping, every now and then we'll get a complete monster come in to the store that will ruin everyone's mood and make me lose faith in humanity. So, do you want to be someone the staff will help gladly and will go out of their way to get you something you need? Or do you want to be the dick whom no one wants to help and will be remembered as a stain upon the world? If you want to be the first (or really, if you just want to have a painless shopping experience) here are the Ten Commandments for Not Being a Dick While Shopping. I'm speaking from the point of view of someone working in an apparel store, but really, I think they apply to any shopping establishment out there.

1. Thou Shall Return the Greeting at the Door: Here's the thing about the obnoxious greeter at the door: they make us do that. Sometime somewhere some asshole in Corporate who's never worked a sales floor before decided that people shop more when they're greeted at the door. It's all a farce and I personally hate it, but would it kill you to at least say 'hi' back? Even if you don't respond to the query, just say hi back, or nod, or smile, or freakin do anything but keep walking while you ignore the person. BITCH, I KNOW YOU HEARD ME.

2. Thou Shalt Not Grab Stuff Off the Rack and Just Leave it Wherever: Nothing short of #4 pisses me off as much as seeing a pair of pants or shirts just sitting on TOP of the rack because some lazy bitch couldn't be bothered to move THREE INCHES and PLACE A HANGER ON A RACK. Or people who decide they don't want to go to the fitting room, try something on wherever and then leave that shit on a table. PICK UP AFTER YOUR GODDAMN SELF. It doesn't even matter if you put it in the right place, but jesus. How fucking lazy and disrespectful are you?

3. Thou Shalt Not Be a Pig in the Fitting Room: So you grabbed a $200 jacket or $350 silk dress to try on. You try it, leave deodorant marks on it and makeup tracks on the neckline (GAG. GAAAAAAG), and decide you don't like it. So you take it off, but you don't even try to put it back on the hanger. They have people who do that for you, right? No, you take it off, leave it inside out, and throw it on the fucking floor and leave it lying there in a disgusting heap. I mean, good god, it's our job to clean up, but do YOU want to try on something that's been treated that way by a spoiled brat? I mean really, who RAISED YOU that you think it's OK to do something like that?! THIS ISN'T YOUR BEDROOM AND WE ARE NOT YOUR HOUSEKEEPER. YOU ARE THE WORST.

4. Thou Shalt Not be a Dick to People Who are Just Trying to Help You: Listen, if you're carrying around an armload of clothes, be prepared to be asked if you need help by everyone who's working the floor that day. Because our bosses will yell at us if we don't, and no one wants to be told off for something so dumb. Most people understand that. Be patient or let someone help you. We'll try our best to not bother you too much, but jeez, stop being mad at people WHO ARE JUST TRYING TO HELP YOU. And remember: the opposite of that is that no one will help you at all. I never said salespeople aren't dicks sometimes.

5. Thou Shalt Not Get Frustrated if the Salesperson Can't Read Your Mind: "I don't like this." "I think it looks good. What don't you like about it?" "It's not like those pants I have at home." "Oh?" "Yeah. They're like...different. Do you have any like those?" "?!" "Ugh, neverMIND." Yeah, that happened.

6. Thou Shalt Not Get Impatient if You Have a Complicated Transaction: So, you want to return this thing you've had past the 60 day return date and exchange it for something else, and you also want us to call another store and order a dress we didn't have for you, and you want to sign up for a store card --all of which are free services-- and you're gonna give me the eye roll and the impatient sigh? WE ARE DOING YOU A COURTESY. DON'T BE A CHILD. MACHINES ARE NOT MAGIC AND WE ARE NOT INFALLIBLE.

7. Thou Shalt Not Come in to Shop 10 Minutes Before Closing: I understand that sometimes you have no time. That sometimes you're in a hurry. But, here's the hard line of this commandment: we are human and everyone, EVERYONE will be exhausted at the end of the day, AND we still have to clean up after piggish, spoiled customers. We'll help you, because it's our job, but just know that we'll be directing such powerful waves of hatred toward you (mixed in with some powerful "GO THE FUCK HOME, IT'S 9PM ON A MONDAY" brainwaves) that you'll be better off just waiting a goddamn twelve hours for that t-shirt. Please don't be that person. Everyone hates that person.

8. THOU SHALT RESPECT THE RETURN POLICY: This can't be said enough: Return policies are there for a reason, and we're more than generous with them. We give you two months (and some stores even do 90 days) to return the item--two months in which the price you paid will be reduced significantly. So that if you bring it back after that time we won't make any money off of it. And more than anything, we want to make money. So stop fighting it. Either you take the money, keep the damned thing and give it away to a cousin you don't like or you just EAT IT. I DON'T CARE. JUST DON'T BRING IT BACK THREE MONTHS LATER.

9. THOU SHALT NOT BLAME THE INNOCENT FOR THE FAULTS OF THEIR BOSSES: This one applies to everyone who works as an underling who serves other people: WE DO NOT MAKE THE DECISIONS. We didn't decide to suddenly sell that shirt for half the price from one day to the other. We didn't decide to end the sale halfway through the day. We didn't decide that one color of one shirt will be worth half the price of the other color. The people above give us rules and we follow them. You want to yell at them, fine. Don't yell at some poor bastard making minimum wage for being on their feet helping your stupid ass for 8 hours straight. If you're really that frustrated at whatever imagined slight you think you've just received, go set something on fire. Just don't yell at the lowly workers.

10. THOU SHALT CONTROL THY CHILDREN: Listen, we all understand that sometimes kids will cry and yell, and sometimes there's not much you can do about it. But you CAN make sure that your kid doesn't run around a giant store where he could easily have an accident. Don't let them touch the expensive jewelry and throw it on the floor. Don't give them snacks or drinks that they'll throw on the floor. In short: Just think about whether it's wise or not to shop in a crowded store while towing around three unruly children in a giant stroller.

There you have it. I don't think any of the above are unreasonable, do you? They all come down to basic courtesy, common sense, and just being a decent human being. We all have our bad days and we can understand a bad mood, but we also need to understand that sometimes people are just trying to do their jobs. So, please, don't yell at them for that, and don't make it any harder for anyone else. Because sometimes you don't just screw with the lowly workers, you screw with your fellow shoppers, and some day that might come around to you. Plus, the simple truth of the matter is that you'll be treated better by everyone if you're not a dick. The world would be a better place if we all just understood that.


  1. I want this post to go viral so bad.

    Because I get people in my office like this, too. Towing kids to a government office and then letting them run around screaming? Not cool. In fact just yesterday I told one child to shut up right in front of his parent. I lost my cool, but I don't even care! SHUT THAT FUCKING KID UP.

    Anyhow - love this. I demand MOAR.

  2. Thank you for this! I agree, entirely. It's not too much to ask people to treat others with a modicum of decency. I also think that there should be a law forcing everyone to work in the service industry for at least a year. It'll deter some of the awful behavior, anyway, but sometimes... assholes are assholes. And I try not to smile when I refuse to refund their purchase.

  3. Can we do one for restaurants, too? Please?

  4. I have a few more:

    Thou shalt not touch the employees or ask them personal questions. I'm just here to do my job. I don't want to worry about creeps asking me out or people grabbing my arm as I walk through the store. We should have a 2 foot minimum barrier of space between us at all times.

    Thou shall let the employees take their breaks. If I am carrying my purse, lunch bag, tote bag, and water bottle, I am either just getting to work or about to leave. That means that you do not get to stop me, or yell at me from across the store.

    I have a few more I'm working on as well. Retail is Hell.

  5. YES, Blake! To both of those. Some of my co-workers will still help people after they've clocked out, but once I'm out, I'm out. I'll pass you over to someone else. I SO don't even care.

    And touching. Brr. I do not want to be touched by strangers.

  6. There!!! you have another good idea for an article. restaurants!

  7. Figgy, this article gets all the head nods from me. Though I admit, I've gone into a store right before it closes. Shame on me. I will, however, take the time to tell a manager when their employee goes out of the way to help me or does a great job.