The Do’s and Don’ts of the Retail World

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I’ve worked in retail off and on for quite a few years, most recently at a retail liquor outlet, and I’ve found that there are things that either make me very happy, or really get on my nerves. 

Making the cashier happy can greatly increase the probability that you will also be happy as a customer.

1. Don’t bring in a $100 bill right when the store opens. If we’ve only been open for half an hour, chances are we don’t have change to break the bill, especially if you spend $20 or less. We have an opening drawer count of $200, and by breaking that large bill, it takes all our $10 bills. Wait until closer to noon to bring in that large bill, and you will be greeted with a smile.

2. Don’t complain to us about the high prices. We are well aware that our prices may be higher than another store, but telling us about it does nothing, except to maybe make you, the customer, feel better by venting. But telling us that Such-and-such is cheaper, well, why did you come to our store, then? Like 7-Eleven, you’re paying for the convenience of buying in your neighborhood.

3. Do stop your conversation as your turn comes up. We have to ask you if you are paying with cash or card, if you have a discount card, etc. I don’t want to interrupt you, but I have a job to do, and it will be a lot faster if I don’t have to wait for you to finish your conversation, either with your friend or on the phone, and it will cost you less if we can ask you for your discount card. Other customers behind you will also appreciate this. We really don’t want to hear you talk at the top of your voice about your birth control.

4. Do acknowledge us and smile. Even if you’re on your cell phone. I understand that if it’s a business call, you may not be able to end your conversation. But, at least give us a nod or smile, and maybe mouth a “Sorry” to us. If you’re not on your phone, talk to us. Joke with us. I love when customers tell me a joke, and I’ll laugh even if I’ve heard it before. I had a customer who paid by credit card, and as he signed his name, he said, “Sherman T. Potter” and I laughed out loud, because I’m a big M*A*S*H fan, and knew what that was from.

5. Don’t treat us like we’re stupid. Just because I’m working a minimum wage job doesn’t mean I don’t have a brain. It may not work properly all the time, but it’s there. I have an Associate degree. I’m a writer, I have two novels published. Times are hard, so I’m not too proud to work a minimum wage job. I know how my register works, even if the screen doesn’t cooperate with what I’m trying to do. Don’t try to touch our screen because we’re having trouble with it. We will most likely slap your hand away.

If you as a customer remember these five things, your retail experience will be much less painful and enjoyable. 

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