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Types Of Customers You Get During A Pandemic

Quarantine has been a very strange time to say the least. It’s brought out the best and the worst in many people, and it’s allowed us to see each other in a new light. It has also revealed several new types of customers that have been plaguing essential workers since things began shutting down back in March.

Here are 10 types of customers I’ve encountered during my time working throughout quarantine.

The “You’re doing your best”

This is, by far, my absolute favourite type of customer that has come into my store since the beginning of provincial shutdowns. They’re the type of person that waits quietly in line, that says “No rush,” when you tell them it’ll be a few more minutes before they can come in. They’re the people that smile and say “Take your time,” as you try to disinfect your till between customers, the ones that read the signs posted and are careful to observe social distancing measures. These are the people that wear masks when they come into the store and don’t make a fuss about our new procedures. These are the people you want as customers because they’re willing to understand how much your job has changed.

The “Why do I have to wait in line?”

Perhaps the most tedious of customers to deal with. They try to enter the store without permission, push past other people, or shout when you say it’ll be a few more minutes. They’re arguably one of the most prominent types of customers and their impatience grows every day. When you explain your new procedures they’re more than likely going to scoff. COVID-19 doesn’t exist in Victoria to these people.

The “You’re taking too long”

the younger sibling to the “Why do I have to wait in line?” This type of customer will berate you for how slow you are to allow them into the store or to disinfect your counter. They will try to push past you before the door is fully open and will grumble about how poor and slow the staff is while they shop.

The “Laughs at you when you’re wearing a mask”

Although this type of customer was more prevalent at the beginning of the pandemic, you’ll still find yourself faced with them at least once a day. They ask why you’re wearing a mask, tell you that it’s useless, or make condescending remarks about wearing one. It’s especially unfortunate when your mask glows in the dark and is arguably the coolest one in the store.

The “Take your mask off so I can see your lips”

This type of customer has surfaced in the past few months. They tend to be older individuals, usually men, who will absolutely ask you to remove your mask using some strange, creepy line. Saying you can’t because we’re in the midst of a pandemic will only make them laugh. I’d recommend a shower after dealing with customers like this, because you will absolutely feel disgusting.

The “So impatient they try to open the door themselves”

Each store has different protocols set in place to protect their staff and their customers. Some stores use greeters or security to keep an eye on who comes in and out. For smaller stores, however, that’s not always an option. More often than not you’ll find impatient customers grabbing at the door and yanking it open before they’ve been allowed in. A mutant version of the “Why do I have to wait in line,” that’s let their impatience become their defining personality trait.

The “I didn’t know how to get in even though there’s five signs outside the door”

This is perhaps my favourite and least favourite customer. You see them walking around the store, staring into the windows, at the signs written on the door, and then they walk away. Five minutes later, you see them walk by again. After this, they’ll either shout or knock on the door, demanding to be let in. They’re not always rude, just a little confused, but they make me question whether our literacy rates are beginning to fall.

The “Can you click through the prompts for me? I don’t want to touch the card machine”

Some people will watch you disinfect your card machine and check-out counter, and know that it’s safe to touch. Others will use the corner of their card or keys to press the buttons on the card machine. Other people will stare at you and demand you click the buttons for them. There’s nothing much you can do in this situation, but it makes you question why you’re using so much disinfectant when you’re the only one touching the card machine anymore.

The “Gets furiously angry when someone is too close to them”

We’re living in scary times. The world has been plunged into a pandemic, there’s still no vaccine, and we’re beginning to see a rise in cases of COVID-19, even in BC. It’s a trying time to be alive, to be outside surrounded by so many strangers that may or may not be sick. Most people will try to give each other room, so they can keep six feet of distance between them. Some people do not. And then there are the people who want to socially distance and will shout and scream at people who get within six feet. It’s an understandable concern when anxiety over transmission is so high, but there’s probably a better solution than furious anger in front of the cashier trying to scan your items.

The “Loiters in the store for nearly an hour even though we have a max customer limit”

Stores these days limit how many people they will allow in at one time. It’s meant to protect staff and customers by ensuring there’s enough space to socially distance properly. But what this means is that once stores are at capacity, people have to wait to be let in. There seem to be people who don’t quite understand that. You’ll find them usually in groups of two to four, either standing in a corner or directly in everyone’s way as they chat for what feels like an hour. Meanwhile, the lineup outside steadily grows until it extends for so long it seems to melt into the horizon. Still, these people talk, and it’s not until you ask them to leave so you can allow someone else in that they will take their one item to the register and be on their way.

Have you ever encountered these customers? Better yet, have you ever been one of these customers? Let me know in the comments!

Ria Boldt

U Vic '20

Ria is a slightly confused fourth year at the University of Victoria, with a major in tea drinking and a minor in freelance superhero-ing. When not busy she can usually be found reading, eating, or re-watching all of the Star Wars movies.
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