I love it when kids knock things off rails. I love it when they rip the tags off clothes. I love it when women try and push for a discount on a t-shirt that is definitely not damaged. I love it when customers make me check for handbags in the stock room when I informed them adamantly that we DON’T sell that bag. I may be ranting about retail here but trust me, all retail workers secretly want to: I’m just brave (and tired) enough to speak up.
My ideal customer would be someone who accepts help or knows what they want, someone who is bursting with fun anecdotes about their life or their day, and someone who’s going to pay in cash (okay, the last one isn’t that important but I seriously love counting money…). As horrible as it sounds, I don’t want a grouchy customer that shoots down every conversational device I offer them and I don’t want a customer that keeps looking me up and down. Play your cards wrong and I may just “forget” to put your receipt in the bag.
Then there’s the “self-appointed expert” customer and that goes something like this:
“Do you sell that black bag with the silver chain?”
“I know which one you’re talking about, but unfortunately we don’t stock that bag in store”
“Riiiight, okay erm… [Awkwardly long pause] it’s jusssst… [another bloody pause] it’s just I saw it online like two centuries ago and I thought you’d have it in. Are you sure you don’t have it? Could you just check?”
“No, you cheeky so and so. I won’t check. This is my job, I know what I’m doing so jog on before I have a breakdown and wipe my tears on that polyblend sweater you’re wearing.”
(Okay so the last part wasn’t that accurate, but it’s definitely my internal dialogue).
Oh and a word to mothers who come shopping with young children. There’s this special boutique that stocks these really cool necklaces for children: they come in loads of colours and you can even personalize it with your own name. The shop is called “Pets At Home”, just go in and ask the sales advisor for a collar and leash. (They’re all the rage, I saw it on the Prada runway). No but seriously, mothers: watch your children. Teach your children that it’s NOT OKAY to mess up a shop’s layout or get in the way of and irritate a poor, weary sales advisor that’s just trying to make an honest living.
So if you’re an annoying customer. If you’re a needy, moody, ignorant shopper about to go on a spending spree, just think before you act: “do I or don’t I want my receipt today?”
Donna Salek is Fashion Editor of Lucid.