5 Things That People in Retail Hate to Hear

As the Holidays inch closer and closer upon us and we begin to scrounge around for presents (for ourselves, or for others), there are some things you should be aware of when you begin to interact with people in retail on a more regular basis. As someone who currently works in retail, trust that it's coming from a good place when I say that I want to roll my eyes every time someone says these five things.

“Why is this so expensive? I’m not paying this.” (a.k.a. "The Bargainer")


I can understand that sometimes things are WAY more expensive than what they’re actually worth, whether it be due to the quality, impracticality, or the overall fit. However, I just don’t understand why you’re bothering to tell me. I’m certainly not the one who sets the prices, and there really isn’t anything I can do about it. Also, there sure as hell isn’t a hotline on our company hotline to call some higher up about the tagged prices, so don’t expect me to try and negotiate the price for you. I honestly have no idea why the company sets the prices the way that they do, and I honestly don’t care. Let’s work together and find you something that you DO like, but in your price range.

“How do I look in this?”


OH. MY. GOD. Most people in retail hate this question for one or two reasons, if not for both. The first reason is that we just don’t understand why you even bother asking when you know we’re obviously not going to tell you that you look awful (even if that is sometimes the truth). If you’re looking for some sort of self-gratification, then please look for it someplace where the people aren’t making money off of you buying that particular piece of clothing. Plus, it makes me feel disingenuous when I answer, "you look great!" And if you’re just really self-conscious and are looking for a second opinion, I do understand, but please know that if you aren't automatically comfortable in something, nothing I say is going to help you feel better. Of course, sometimes people who ask this are simply curious about whether they need a different size/style, which - in this case - a sales associate would be more than happy to offer advice.

“That’s their job.”


Most people who say this are those snotty middle-aged women who seem to come into the store just with the sole purpose of ripping apart a drawer of shirts and panties . . . and then don’t buy anything. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s inevitable that the customer is going to mess things up when they’re looking for their right size, etc. I completely understand that, and I want you to be able to find something that you love, even if it means I have to refold something a hundred times. HOWEVER, it is absolutely not my job to go behind you and clean up your mess because you think it’s perfectly okay to treat everyone around you like your own personal maid. I’m a sales associate, not a babysitter.

“This product is ripped/stained/etc. Give me a discount.”

I have had people actually say this to me after watching them attempt to spill lipstick on the item or rip at the seams with a bobby pin. One lady even scratched off the lettering right in front of me as she asked for the discount. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do them any good because there is no way for me to insert a discount into the computer for damaged items, and we’re not even allowed to have damaged merchandise OUT on the floor, let alone sell it to a customer. If it’s a stain, I’ll just look the customer in the eye as I bring out a shout wipe and proceed to remove the mascara they just smeared onto the shirt. If they still don’t want it, I’ll politely offer to order them a ‘non-damaged’ item and ship it to their house, full price. I’m sorry, but this is one of the few things I can’t make excuses for.

“Can I get a fitting room?” or “Can you measure me?”


When I say this is annoying, I should probably offer some context so that I don’t just seem like a lazy worker. Because I work in a lingerie store, I get a lot of wise-guy remarks from some very non-creative heterosexual men visiting the store with their girlfriends. Often, they’ll giggle like school girls and ask me to get out my tape and measure them for a bra. Usually, I have to fight the urge to roll my eyes but, instead, I’ve found some small joy in watching them get upset after I actually offer to do so. I have had many different clients of varying gender identities ask me for help in finding bras and lingerie, and sometimes - though I get that they’re just trying to be funny and don't understand the ignorance - it upsets me that they don’t even stop to think that it’s a possibility for people other than girls to shop at our store. Not to mention, PLEASE find a new joke. Preferably one that I don't hear every day.