You’ve probably heard of the fact that cashiers get frazzled when you pour a bunch of change onto their counter or that clothing store associates get paid to pick up after people when they shop. While technically, they do, it’s not in the same way that most people think of it as.
As a retail associate of three years at multiple retail locations, I can vouch for those cashiers who get flustered when they have to hold up their line to count that person’s change or for those sales floor associates who watch people drop stuff and don’t pick it up— because it’s me.
When shopping in a retail environment, there are three very important things that all retail associates can come to a consensus on when it comes to customers having common courtesy and respect for those who make their shopping convenience fast and easy.
- Treat it like a library
You may not think that we see when things get misplaced and it turns into a fun experiment of “When will they notice?” The truth is we notice everything… and I mean everything. For those attentive store associates, they understand what I mean. We watch people drop something from off of a hanger or a shelf, or better yet, watch something fall down, and blatantly ignore it and walk away. Misplacing something on purpose isn’t funny either because we get to walk what you misplaced back to its spot on the shelf or the rack and sigh because of the ridiculousness of the situation.
I ask, no beg, please—don’t be this person. From a kind and generous employee, this throws us off and makes us silently judge you because we know that you know better than that. Just being lazy and not walking something back or picking it up when you’ve dropped it doesn’t cut it. Would you behave that way in your house? A friend’s or family’s house? When you drop food or spill a drink? The same rules apply.
- Treat us like the people that we are
This one couldn’t be more clear but it always has to be reiterated because it goes in one ear and out the other. Store associates, management and cashiers are people. They have values, hearts, brains and move and talk the same way as you do. We’re not robots and don’t want to be treated like any. Just because we’re the ones behind the counter doing a service for you doesn’t mean we have any less value than the person on the other side of the counter. Everyone in their lifetime gets paid to perform a service of some kind— this is our way of doing so.
Getting treated like I don’t know how to do my own job or as if I’m unintelligent and “confused” is an insult to my character and to my job performance. When store associates try to go above and beyond their limits to make sure their customers are satisfied, they like to be looked at as good and helpful people. We’re the same as you, just please acknowledge that.
- Be considerate of your surroundings
This could be taken as a reduce, reuse, recycle type of philosophy, but in retail, it means to please leave things as they are unless you’re shopping in that area. For those who try to make the retail associate’s lives harder by purposefully going out of their way to mess things up and disorganize displays and areas, it’s very much unappreciated and isn’t helpful. The main reason that we’re there is to help you and to also clean up…when necessary. When we constantly are picking up and helping customers become our secondary task, it isn’t ideal. Customers come first, but when the entire store is a mess because people are careless, it makes our jobs more difficult and we aren’t being paid enough to be picking up after other people constantly. It isn’t that hard to clean up after yourself if you normally do it anyway, so what’s any different doing it in a shopping location?
After organizing an area of the stores, I’ll walk away for five to ten minutes and return to a brand new mess. Please don’t be this person and be courteous. It’s much more of a pleasant atmosphere this way.