Retail sales peeves -1 reply

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jumjum

Write heavy; write hard.

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10th April 2005

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#1 9 years ago

My experience at Best Buy and a PetMart today got me to thinking about just how low our expectations in the US have sunk about the average retail purchase experience. I realize many guys here won't have any idea what I'm talking about, since they have known nothing in their short lives but the shoddy service and bad attitude that shoppers see all too often today.

Of course it wasn't perfect in the past. But there were certain bedrock principles of how sales people treated the public which seem to have disappeared. These things all had to do with respect for the customer. You saw them in any retail establishment: grocery, clothing, department, hardware, etc. Anywhere people came to look over merchandise and possibly buy. First, all employees spoke to all customers they encountered in the store. A simple cheerful greeting, an offer to help, just some way to tell the customer, "We see you, we're available for your questions or assistance, we're very happy to have you in our store." You don't see it much now.

Unless it was a very relaxed situation in which store personnel knew the customers, the store employees never engaged each other in personal conversations in the customers' hearing. This is epidemic today in grocery stores, where sackers and cashiers completely ignore the customers to talk to each other about who goes on break when, who gets off what time, what problems they have with the manager - they even yell from one cashier line to another to carry on a conversation. This is insulting to the customers.

Employees made sure they looked at customers. It's incredible to me that today I have to almost stare at any cashier under 30 to make them look up and notice me. Again, it's insulting to the customer not to even look at them.

And employees always used to thank the customer. That's about gone now. Jeez Louise, I even hear customers thanking the clerks today when they give change - which the clerks don't even bother to count out. Gum chewing, snuff dipping (gross!), eating, drinking: It all adds up to say, "I don't care about working here, I don't care about you, I don't care whether you shop here or not."

And tip jars? TIP JARS IN A STORE!? You want a tip for doing your job? And doing it badly at that? Look, it offends like nothing else to see tip jars put up at retail cash registers. Your pay is between you and your boss - unless you're in a traditional tip-reliant job - waiter (oh, I'm so sorry; I should say "server"), cutting hair, bellman, etc., - keep that stupid jar at home.

Clerks don't seem to understand that they have jobs only because people shop with them. With the rise of the internet, customers don't have to shop at your store. Just about the only thing the brick-and-mortar stores have to offer today is service. Retail stores usually can't beat price or selection of online shopping. Even in restaurants, with the recession worries we're going to see a real downturn in expensive eating out - and each restaurant is in competition with the others. As far as fast food goes it's the same: there are way too many choices for employees not to pay attention to where their money is coming from. It's nothing for me to cross off an entire fast food chain if I think it tolerates poor employees.

In my area a Burger King franchisee with about 10 BKs obviously didn't know or didn't care about his poor employee service. He also tolerated kids getting wild in his stores and in his parking lots. It got so bad people stopped buying BK - he went bankrupt, and 10 BKs closed down and other chains took their spots. A BK franchise is a license to get rich. You can't screw that up unless you are truly stupid ass and deserve to fail. This guy hired jackasses as employees and retards as managers, ignored his customers, didn't take any interest in providing a safe and pleasant fast food dining experience (I'm not joking). He thought since he was Mr. BK, people had to buy from him. Wrong. And he went broke.

Stories of bad poor management and worse employees bringing down entire retail chains are well known. Remember Zayre? Home Quarters? I do. They were ruined by their own management's lack of concern over horrible service and incompetence in dealing with the public.

Even though many retail employees interact horribly with the public, it's not their fault. This is management's fault. The managers are actually worse than the clerks, because they should know better and train their employees how to do it right. But they don't. It offends me on general principles of efficiency to see a poorly run business. It rarely happens in a place where the owner runs it. It only happens where employees who don't give a rat's ass are tolerated.

I have often gone to store managers to tell them about problems I see in their stores. Whether a mess that hasn't been cleaned up for hours; dirty store; poorly displayed or hard to find merchandise; truly objectionable or offensive behavior by an employee - the kind of thing like finding bunches of slimy, moldy cilantro in the produce bins. I do it in a matter-of-fact way, as something I would want to know about if I was running the shop. Not to jam somebody up, but just to help. The smart managers understand I'm not doing it to bust their chops, because it doesn't matter to me if they run a good business or not. The dumb managers who have been promoted beyond their ability don't understand, and immediately get defensive or start making excuses. I couldn't care less about their excuses - I'm trying to tell them something which hurts their business, but they want to tell me that so-and-so is out sick today, or they haven't had time to fix things, etc. It's odd, but almost all of the defensive managers I run across are women. I don't why, but women don't seem to understand I'm not criticizing them personally. The men don't usually have any problem figuring it out and most thank me for taking the time to point a problem out.

It all comes down to, give a damn about your job. You owe it to your employer. And you owe it to yourself, because whether you do your job with pride and enthusiasm says something about you. And people notice, and file it away. You'd be surprised how that might work out for you one day.




stylie

Mas stylie por favor...

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12th April 2005

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#2 9 years ago

Well said. I think the problem is bottom line. They just dont want to pay for people willing to do the job right. I think the corporate world has to take some blame too. "Who is the owner?" I dont know, fuck it, we'll never see him. Which by the way, does not excuse someone for a lack of pride. Sometimes, people can be overbearing too. But I have been saying this for years... Flat rate. You get paid for what you do, not for collecting hours. My friend turns wrenches for a living. Dont get me wrong, he's a master tech. Really knows his poop. Do you know he made $90,000 last year!!! Flat rate, gets shit done. I sat in a meeting today with a coworker who inexplicably gets paired with me waaaaaaay too often. A complete and total cocky bastard. Comments about everything, very knowledgable, but very negative. I hate this tool. In the middle of the meeting my manager stopped and told him this wasnt a game. I was hysterical inside. I think he undermines me too, but I have no parts of it. And I know that my manager sees it. I love to watch him cut his throat.




Archimonde0_0

In Vino Veritas

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27th August 2006

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#3 9 years ago

I have a feeling that the higher ups are far more to blame than the average sales person. Those rich millionaires who can't seem to have enough money, would rather hire the drug addicted hooker who will accept lower pay, than the person who should get the job.




Guest

I didn't make it!

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#4 9 years ago

My owner when I worked at Chick-fil-a in high school was a good guy, but he didn't have a clue what went on with the night shift after he went home after 5.

I had all kinds of managers: The good, the bad, the ones on power trips, the ones that were nice people but in over their head.

I'd rather not recount all the stupid things I had to put up with from my management and my fellow employees.




Moose12

I am also [130.Pz]Gef.Elche Pz

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5th December 2005

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#5 9 years ago
jumjum;4756732 I have often gone to store managers to tell them about problems I see in their stores. Whether a mess that hasn't been cleaned up for hours; dirty store; poorly displayed or hard to find merchandise; truly objectionable or offensive behavior by an employee - th

You would be one of those people :p

I have noticed lack of respect, other night I went to see valkyrie and the guy getting our popcorn was yelling to a co-worker in the back about how he saw so and so a week ago. You're at work, sir, now pay attention to me. Even at my on Campus job at school, which is minor retail to put it mildly. I work the front desk at my residence hall and sell pizzas and soda and all that jazz. But I notice the other workers there, half the time they are watching a movie and dont even look up to see a customer is there. I always make eye contact when I hear the door open to make sure I am there if somebody wants something.

Nobody gets in trouble for not paying attention to the customer. The old adage of "the customer comes first" has gone out the window and is replaced by "what is most convenient to me".




Guest

I didn't make it!

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#6 9 years ago

I try not to mention where I work, but I will say hello to clients that look at me or come within about 5 feet. Apart from that I leave them be unless they are looking for some help or they are loyal customers and come in often enough that we know eachother by name.

I personally hate being bothered while I shop so I don't bother others until they ask for help.

Also Jum you have to look at it from the workers point of view, here in quebec we tend to have more hostile customers. Customers that have no patience or class. They expect to be waited on Hand and foot, and if you are serving someone else they will actually interupt you and get mad at "Lack of service". Or they will call in and expect you to walk around the store giving them prices on stock, while other customers are waiting for help in the store.

The company I work for has put customer service ahead of everything else so you don't see customers waiting while two associates talk to eachother. But we will talk to eachother while there are customers in the store shopping because as corny as it seems we are alot like a family there, seeing as we spend so many hours of the day together.

The worse ones for such things are the young part timers (often cashiers) because they are there just because they need money to spend when they go clubbing, as they don't expect to be there more than a few months they don't develop proper work etiquette.




[130pz.]Kading

I take what n0e says way too seriously

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9th April 2005

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#7 9 years ago

worked on a ship's crew mess decks for 4 months recently *spits in disgust*. its mind numbing. i was lucky, the customers werent paying, so when i got treated like crap, i treated them like crap. i cant tell you how many times i have cussed out a "customer" when he left his tray at the table. once chased a guy through the whole ship cuz he threw trash on the deck and ran off. i've been yelled at by just about every shitbag on the ship for enforcing the rules, even got threatened with a knife.

my point is, food service is mind numbing. the problem also is the customers have gotten rude along with those serving them, if you respect those serving you, you will get better service. when i go to the local subway, i usually run into the same people, i always greet them and ask how their day is going. this leads to a much more enjoyable experience for all those involved.




[130.Pz]W.Fuchs

Requiescat in Pace

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19th March 2008

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#8 9 years ago

You don't even know how much I enjoy reading your threads Jum :p Anyways, I don't notice any big differences here. But there are differences. In some clothing shops I get completely ignored. Well if you don't even want to help me you don't get my cash =p I myself am a waiter (or server!) at a pub/restaurant. We, or atleast I, still get alot of tips and yes we also got a tip jar.. Usually the money is stored and at the end of the year we go on a 1 week vacation with the entire staff. Though that hasn't been done for 2 years because of the financial problems with our building (they started building on the new one now :)). And then the service.. My boss is the most service and quality driven man I have ever met. And he always says things like 'service makes your salary' and 'the guest is always right, even if he/she isn't.'. But when going to other restaurants I do see things that would get me killed when I was working. One thing was that my parents and grandparents had a bottle of wine from 2007, they finished and wanted the exact bottle again. The girl brought in a bottle from 2006, my parents tasted it and in their opinions it was a completely different wine, the 2007 was better. So they asked the girl for a new bottle and the girl got a bit angry.. If there is 1 thing you shouldn't do it's becoming angry at guests. I'll say again, great read Jum!




stylie

Mas stylie por favor...

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12th April 2005

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#9 9 years ago

WTF!!! As a former bartender, that was always an opportunity to kick more ass and get a better tip. What is it to the server if they have to get a bottle of wine?!? And wine can be completely different, year to year, which is one of the things that makes it so enjoyable... at least until they come up with fire safe wine. About the telephone. Why is it that a phone call is more important than the customer who took the time to come into the shop?




jumjum

Write heavy; write hard.

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10th April 2005

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#10 9 years ago

Moose12;4756988...I have noticed lack of respect....the guy getting our popcorn was yelling to a co-worker in the back about how he saw so and so a week ago. You're at work, sir, now pay attention to me. Even at my on Campus job at school, which is minor retail to put it mildly. I work the front desk at my residence hall and sell pizzas and soda and all that jazz. But I notice the other workers there, half the time they are watching a movie and dont even look up to see a customer is there. I always make eye contact when I hear the door open to make sure I am there if somebody wants something. Nobody gets in trouble for not paying attention to the customer. The old adage of "the customer comes first" has gone out the window and is replaced by "what is most convenient to me".[/quote] You completely get it, Mooseter. You get a Jummy Gold Star.

Stray03;4756992I try not to mention where I work, but I will say hello to clients that look at me or come within about 5 feet. Apart from that I leave them be unless they are looking for some help or they are loyal customers and come in often enough that we know eachother by name.

I personally hate being bothered while I shop so I don't bother others until they ask for help.

Also Jum you have to look at it from the workers point of view, here in quebec we tend to have more hostile customers. Customers that have no patience or class. They expect to be waited on Hand and foot, and if you are serving someone else they will actually interupt you and get mad at "Lack of service". Or they will call in and expect you to walk around the store giving them prices on stock, while other customers are waiting for help in the store.

The company I work for has put customer service ahead of everything else so you don't see customers waiting while two associates talk to eachother. But we will talk to eachother while there are customers in the store shopping because as corny as it seems we are alot like a family there, seeing as we spend so many hours of the day together.

The worse ones for such things are the young part timers (often cashiers) because they are there just because they need money to spend when they go clubbing, as they don't expect to be there more than a few months they don't develop proper work etiquette.

Customers have a responsibility as well, and there's no excuse for a lack of common decency. But unless it gets to the point of abuse, when a manager should intervene, the employee has to find a way to defuse the situation. Sometimes that means eating a great, steaming pile of feces. Nobody said life was fair, and unfortunately assholes are custimers too. You've got to be better than they are. Oh, and talking to each other is fine, just keep a business environment, and no one should be grab-assing instead of helping a customer.who wants it or is checking out. [quote='[130pz.]Kading;4757018']worked on a ship's crew mess decks for 4 months recently *spits in disgust*. its mind numbing. i was lucky, the customers werent paying, so when i got treated like crap, i treated them like crap. i cant tell you how many times i have cussed out a "customer" when he left his tray at the table. once chased a guy through the whole ship cuz he threw trash on the deck and ran off. i've been yelled at by just about every shitbag on the ship for enforcing the rules, even got threatened with a knife. my point is, food service is mind numbing. the problem also is the customers have gotten rude along with those serving them, if you respect those serving you, you will get better service. when i go to the local subway, i usually run into the same people, i always greet them and ask how their day is going. this leads to a much more enjoyable experience for all those involved.

But kading your situation was in a military setting, no? Even if it's just working at a company canteen, that's more about getting along with co-workers - not a retail sales environment. But your problems there were a clear failure of management to handle the situation. Learn from these things.