Retail: How to make good people feel like crap
I’ve worked in retail a bunch of times, but here is something I have never really understood.
Here is Sally. Sally works at your dime a dozen retail clothing store. Sally makes $10 per hour and usually gets stuck working 40+ hours and weekends. She has bills and a lover, and generally tries to make the best of life. She has cats, and a tiny apartment.
Here is Jack. Jack is your everyday office jockey and has sold his soul to Cthulu. Jack is a salary man who makes 6 figures per year and gets to write off visits to the titty bar as business expenses. He has a wife who is waiting to slit his throat and a mistress who only is in it for the money, he takes viagra because he suffers from homosexual urges that he doesn’t understand and yells at gays because he is jealous. He also owns a Man-O-Pause mobile and a combover.
Jack wants to purchase an item from the store where Sally works, which happens to be in a mall. Jack hates the mall. He hates every dirty poor person there, but most of all, he hates the lowly invalids who refuse to get better jobs who work there. So Jack trudges into Sally’s store. Sally, being the trooper that she is, smiles her best smile and greets Jack with her usual bubbly and non-contemptuous welcome. Jack sneers and mumbles a halfhearted greeting. Sally, being a sales person who wants to keep her job, tells Jack about all of the special offers and new items that may interest Jack. Jack ignores her help and pushes past. Jack, having found what he was looking for, begins to browse. Sally, seeing this, attempts to give Jack some more friendly service and tries to offer various accoutrements to enhance Jack’s purchase. Having spent too much time around these dirty, smelly, sickly poor people; Jack has had enough and proceeds to berate Sally for being so nosy. Jack then drops his potential purchases and leaves the store for Sally to put the items back where they belong and attempt to pick up the pieces of her shattered day. Jack proceeds to call the management of the store when he returns home and complains about his service.
What have we learned from this story? People assume that they can be evil, spiteful, hateful, and all around shitty to anyone they feel deserves their bile. It is not solely rich people who are this way, but Jack is a preferred example. I have seen regular middle class and lower class people behave this way. Did their parents not teach them to be respectful to people? Were they born with a chip the size of Manhattan on their shoulders? Did they think they would not get asked questions by sales associates while visiting a store? Are they just stupid and hateful for the sake of their own perverse needs?
Here is the thing. Just because you are having a bad day does not give you the right to be a douchebag. Every time I have a bad day and I have to go shopping at one retail store or another, I make a choice. Do I A) simply smile and respond with a yes or a no thank you OR B) attempt to alleviate my craptacular day by starting up a conversation with this sales associate and make their day better by their not dealing with douchebags and in turn making me feel better? There is also C) just not go out and do it when I feel more personable. Do these options seem unreasonable? I thought not.
The moral? Don’t be a douche.