Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"I'm Going To Repeat Myself Only Louder In The Vain Attempt You'll Change Your Mind!"

     A fun common thread that all retail work includes is the amount of yelling customers tend to do.  Fortunately, it’s not a common thread, but it’s a thread none-the-less.  It is an issue that generally occurs at the customer service desk at each store.  In all of my time, I would calculate that the amount of issues that got resolved to the customer’s satisfaction because they resorted to yelling stands at about a 30% success rate.  The other 70%, the customer’s acting like a complete asshole for no reason and get tossed out of the store once they begin to attract attention.  Well, other than they were too stupid to comprehend what they were buying, that is.
     First, the 30%.  The only reason managers or employees cave-in to a customer’s yelling and ranting is because they are tired of dealing with clearly insane people and have ten other things to get to more important.  Sorry to hear you left your new I-Pod in your car in 100 degree weather and now it won’t play, but you want us to take the product back, because…?  “WELL, BECAUSE YOU GUARANTEE YOUR PRODUCTS TO WORK FOR THE FIRST x-amount OF DAYS!  IT’S NOT MY FAULT!”  Riiiiight.  Customers who fuck up don’t ever want to admit they fucked up and will always claim an issue isn’t “their fault”.  They get pissed at stores for not taking responsibility but when there’s an issue that’s clearly their fault, they will not own up to it.
     If customers want to be treated like children, don’t be surprised when you are.
     So, the 30% shouldn’t feel like they won the Indy 500 just because they got their way over some small issue that probably wasn’t the store’s fault.  Calm down – you threw a tantrum and got your way.  The same thing works for 3 year olds.
     Now, the 70%.  Personally, I wish more people would resort to yelling, because I love watching people get escorted out of stores because they were screaming.  Who let’s an issue escalate to the point where they start yelling?  I don’t know 1 time when I’ve yelled at someone because of an issue at a restaurant or retail store.  Plus, like I mentioned, it’s the 70% that never get their way by yelling.  So, what does it accomplish?  Does it make you feel big that you screamed at, most likely, an 18-24 year old behind a customer service desk who did nothing other than repeat business procedure to you about a return or a defective product?
     People DO realize that the people working at the retail stores don’t actually MAKE the products they’re buying, right?
     “Your store shouldn’t sell crap that just breaks down on someone five months later.”
     Well, imagine how many people are out there who probably purchased your product and didn’t have an issue.  There’s always a lemon, remember.  A farmer’s yearly yield of oranges sometimes produces a few individual oranges that go bad by the time they reach the grocery stores.  Should grocery stores stop carrying produce from that farmer because they can’t guarantee every single item put on display will remain fresh by the time you get it to your table?
     If you really want to get your way, go in with a level head and a pleasant attitude.  A cheerful, understanding customer who politely asks if there’s anything the employees can do to help you works a million times better than a screaming, idiotic, customer.  I will go 10 times beyond what’s asked of me for a customer who is polite and friendly than I would for a dick who demands or rushes me when I’m trying to help them.  I know we all have bad experiences with retail but there’s no need to let it affect how you act now.  Again, the only people I know of that can get away with acting petulant are 2-4 year olds.  Everyone else should grow up.  Got it?
     There are plenty of issues that arise in the store where customers yell, or snap, and I’ll be getting into specific stories later.  But for now, just remember, if you get a product you’re not 100% satisfied with, it’s not going to do you any good to go into the store and yell and attract attention to yourself.  Unless you want to make the employees working at the store laugh at you after you storm out of the store.  Then, by all means, feel free to act like a jackass!  I work in retail – I need the laugh.  Breathe and calm down, everyone.
     More soon from the frontlines…