If you’ve worked in retail, you can probably relate

August 8th, 2012 · 114 comments

Writes Stephanie in Houston: “Looks like someone got a little tired of folding shirts.”


related: Thanks for NOT shopping here!

FILED UNDER: Houston · retail hell

114 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Kathy

    In addition to not wanting to keep refolding the shirts, the sign is also directed toward the customers who inevitably come up to us and say, “do you have any other sizes or styles?” after clearly seeing that there are no other sizes or styles. If we had other sizes and colors, folks, they’d be out on the shelf, too.

    Aug 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   Andrew Price

      Not necessarily. Some stores are small and don’t have enough room to put every shirt and style on a display, and instead keep them in boxes in the back.

      Same with a lot of groceries, cd shops, shoe shops etc.

      That’s why we ask :)

      Aug 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   Travis

      Have you EVER worked retail. Its on the f-ing floor, if not we don’t have it. Our stock room is not some Raiders of The Lost Ark warehouse. You’re just annoying me. And 95% of the time when you ask for me to check something in the back; I go in the back, respond to some text messages, check my Facebook, and come back out to tell you the same thing I already told you. WE DON’T HAVE IT.

      Aug 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   jen

      that’s just thoroughly untrue, travis. i used to work at j.c. penney. our stockroom was huge, and many people, once an item had been sold out on the floor, didn’t bother to restock or didn’t realize the item had been sold out. this is a fairly common phenomenon. it might not be true for your particular store, but it happens often enough that it isn’t out of line or crazy to ask an associate if there are more in the back.

      Aug 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   shwo! bang

      Well, jen, if that’s thoroughly untrue, then hustle your butt back into the stockroom and bring me Rosebud and the Ark of the Covenant. Hurry up or I’m taking my business down to Macy’s.

      Aug 8, 2012 at 11:28 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.5   JK

      Sorry. I’m Team Travis. I’ve worked retail too. The frustration of explaining “No we don’t have it in back” and “No we don’t know when we’re getting more” drives you insane. People think you’re lying to them or are being lazy. I don’t like telling them I’ll go check if I can avoid it because I wanna train them to know, we may have a huge storeroom, but it’s packed with stuff we have a surplus of. Employees on the floor are busting a gut all day to get it out there and aren’t gonna leave empty spots on the shelf for fear of being yelled at for not doing their job quickly enough.

      JC Penny at my mall seems to move at a more leisurely pace because people come there for a different shopping experience. It’s not all about fast and cheap because they focus more on customer service. The major chain standalone stores seem to go through more freight, more quickly, e.g. Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc. Probably the same thing with places like Harris Teeter or Home Depot, but they’re slightly different animals so I’m just guessing. You’d think Home Depot is a giant stockroom you get to wander around so there’s really not a place to store much, but I bet they get asked all the time. It’s a function of the type of store, but if you’re in Walmart, no, don’t ask if there’s any in back. There’s not. Order it online if you can. It’ll get there a lot quicker. I joke that I bet they wanna make you use the website so they deliberately don’t stock properly, but I’ve never been able to prove it.

      Aug 8, 2012 at 11:35 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.6   Poltergeist

      There have been plenty of times I’ve been in a store and asked for something that’s not out on display, and they have brought it out for me. I was nice, they were nice, and we went on our merry way. There’s much worse things people have to do on the job than answer a damn question, which may in fact be a perfectly valid question, so suck it up.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 12:32 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.7   makfan bang

      Team Jen. If I see a shirt I like and there are 3 small, 4 medium, 2 large, 2 XXL but no XL, you bet I’m going to ask if they have an XL in stock. I don’t expect the clerks to have any idea that all the XL have been sold when there are at least 11 shirts in that style and color on the rack on in the pile.

      If that kind of request ticks you off as an employee of a retail store, YOU may be the one with a problem.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 12:44 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.8   Piggy

      I work in a bookstore.
      We have “a back” – or should I say in our case we have “a downstairs” (where we hide away books that are no longer covered by the fixed book price agreement) and we have “an upstairs” (where we hide non-book if it won’t fit on any of our decorated tables). We even sometimes hide books somewhere (e.g. on the top shelve the customer can’t reach or in our incoming goods department or on a cart, simply because it hasn’t been shelved yet).

      For a while we sold shirts. In a bunch of different sizes (kids and adult, from small children’s sizes to XL adult size). None in the back and no I can’t check which sizes we have, you’ll have to look yourself, sorry. For weeks all we did was fold shirts. Pick them off the floor. Pile them neatly (according to size). I am just so, so happy that we finally got rid of those.

      Some stores might not have “a back”. But how am I, as a customer, supposed to know if a specific store (I might be in for the first time) does or does not, if I don’t ask?
      Not believing someone if the say sorry they don’t – that’s surely annoying. But simply asking? I always feel checking availability is part of my job. And hey, I can also check the stock of an affiliate store down the road, if they sill have a copy of the book you are looking for, I will tell you.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 1:41 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.9   JaneDoe

      Personally, I don’t mind people who ask if we have more of an item in back, even though the answer is always going to be no. What bugs me, is the people who keep asking, and don’t believe you when you tell them no, and keep asking you to go check. If someone is persistant enough, I admit I will go in the back, do something completely different for a couple minutes, and then come out and reiterate my answer

      Aug 9, 2012 at 1:52 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.10   The Elf

      Depends on the shop, doesn’t it! When I worked retail, floor space was at a premium. So we’d only put a few of each kind of thing out if we didn’t have room for everything. One of my jobs was to periodically check and restock from the back storeroom. I didn’t mind if people asked.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 8:39 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.11   Wait..what?

      One thing I haven’t seen pointed out here…since everything is now computerized, a simple stock check on the store computer/register will tell the clerk instantly if there are indeed more or if they are sold out. Some stores now even set up a kiosk so the customer can check themselves. Not rocket science.

      Having worked retail at Macy’s during several xmas seasons, I can tell you people are frigging pigs. It isn’t theirs, so they don’t care. They just drop crap everywhere. In fact one stellar xmas season, some guy took a bunch of Sean Jean (as in expensive) clothing into the men’s changing room and pissed on it..Ho Ho Ho..

      But still if I don’t see it, I am gonna ask. After all that is what you, the store clerk, gets paid to do. Sell the inventory.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 11:18 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.12   kermit

      Some store websites do give you the option of seeing what retail outlets near you have the stuff you’re looking for. But I don’t find it to be all that common, at least for the stores I frequent.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.13   The Elf

      The Raiders of the Lost Ark comment made me laugh. You can just see it going like this:

      Customer: Do you have this in a Large?

      Clerk: I’ve got top men working on that.

      Customer: Who?

      Clerk: Top. Men.

      Camera pans out to gigantic warehouse, with a crate with “LARGE T-SHIRTS” stenciled to the side is being forklifted to some distant corner, fade to black, and cue the John Williams score.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.14   Rattus

      @Travis – you may have worked retail, but apparently you weren’t working for commission. I don’t know how many times I’ve been accosted by a salesperson asking me how they can help me when I can’t locate my size on the rack or shelf, to have them flutter about anxiously “oh, I’m certain I can find that size in the back”, leave me waiting on the floor for fifteen minutes , and finally presenting me with four or five of the missing size.

      So apparently commission is the key to eliminating laziness in retail staff.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.15   Zorin

      This is obligatory.


      Aug 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.16   Kathy

      @Wait what: And I for one appreciate that. Penney’s checked for jeans for me at the register. She looked up the wash and size I wanted and lo and behold, she had one in the back. I was one happy customer!

      Aug 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.17   Mrs.Beasley

      I’m also a retail alumna, and I’m with Team It-Depends-On-the-Store. Because it does.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   megsterftw

    that just looks like a nice helpful note to me…

    Aug 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   Roto13

      The best part is that it’s not going to work.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 9:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   jen

    yes, there have been many times i’ve asked and received a different size, style, type, etc

    Aug 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   jen

      [sometimes people are lazy and just don't restock. i say this as someone who used to work in retail.]

      Aug 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   Team Beasly

    Also, often the only way to tell what sizes are in a pile is to riffle through looking at tags. (Retail employees arrange things strangely or downright wrong all the time, not to speak of anything customers might do later on.)

    So in that way, I think the sign is helpful and welcomed, but the customers should well be excused for having poked around previously. That’s what you have to do if you hope to find fitting clothes.

    Aug 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   StephM

      The standard is smallest size on top, largest on bottom. I’ve never seen a store that was different. If the sizing isn’t correct, it’s usually because of asshole customers “rifling” through and destroying the pile. (Though there are plenty of lazy retail workers out there.) There frequently isn’t enough time to size it correctly, we just try to get it looking a little neater.

      Most of the time, shirts and pants have a sticker with the size on it and ideally you can lift the bottom half of the shirt/pants and easily read the sticker. If there’s no sticker, check the collars/waistband. Just fold the top half of the items forward until you find the right size.

      If you want to find out what the item looks like, look at the top item. I’m amazed at how many people will find their size, yank that item out, look at the design and decide the item is ugly. Most of the time those people just leave it unfolded or wadded up. Even an incorrect fold is better than a wad.
      (Sorry if this comes off as a little hostile, it’s not meant to be; I work in apparel so thinking about this stuff drives me crazy.)

      Aug 9, 2012 at 9:15 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   Wait..what?

      YOU have never shopped at Fred Meyers or Walmart. Neither seem to have any order to how they stock their shelves. Actually there probably is – something to do with the biggest seller being at eye level.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 11:20 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   Jami

      @Steph – Sometimes it’s not that the design is ugly but rather it’s flawed. There might be threads that have popped, a tear, a crack, etc. The top, and usually smallest, size might be pristine, but you get your own size out and part of The Hulk’s head might be missing.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   The Elf

      Don’t decapitate The Hulk! You wouldn’t like him when he’s decapitated!

      Aug 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.5   Ruth

      No, Jami, the only reason people would want to closely examine the item they are about to spend their hard-earnt money on is to annoy workers. That is the only possible reason.

      StephM, things look different on different sizes, can you not imagine that? A design might be too small on a larger top, or perhaps the customer only wants it at the smaller size and not stretched out to fill the shirt. And of course there could be something wrong with the particular item, too, as Jami said.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.6   StephM

      @Wait: I work at Walmart. Corporate sends out little booklets showing exactly how they want something laid out. Largest to smallest is how it always is.

      @Ruth & Jami: I clearly wrote that people will decide the item is *ugly* once they have pulled it from the stack. I said nothing about flawed items – though I wish people would bring those to an associate. If you want to know what the DESIGN looks like, look at the top shirt FIRST. Why go through the stack looking for your size just to find out that the shirt has an ugly pattern along the bottom, when you could have picked up the top shirt and made the same discovery? Then you don’t have to go through the trouble of putting it back in its spot.
      Shirts that look worse in a larger size are uncommon; the only time I’ve noticed a difference is when someone’s face is plastered on the front. Justin Bieber’s head shouldn’t be 2x the normal size. Maybe I have lower standards or nothing is coming to mind, though, so I’ll give you that.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.7   Jenn50

      Different styles and makes of clothes fit differently. The fact that a “Medium” would normally fit is no guarantee that THIS “Medium” will fit. So I WILL take out the size I think I need, unfold it, hold it up to see if it is a large-fitting “Medium” or a small-fitting “Medium”. I may need to check a couple of different sizes to find the one I want. When I’m done, I will *try* to fold it up as I found it and replace it in the stack, but if your store policy involves some ninja-origami-type folding style, (which some seem to) then tough. I’ll leave it neatly on the top so you can fix it yourself. It’s your job. You shouldn’t have to put up with people making an intentional mess, or dumping stuff on the floor and treading on it, but re-folding shirts is hardly cruel and unusual punishment. If the store owners wanted to eliminate the problem, they would put all the clothing on hangers, (and pants would be hung flat, not folded to look smaller) so that customers could see them without pulling things apart. Then you’d only have to deal with jerks intentionally making a mess instead of people innocently trying to decide whether a piece of merchandise is something they want to purchase.

      Aug 12, 2012 at 5:54 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.8   Sarila

      Well, Jenn, that doesn’t work either. I’ve seen it tried. People are pigs, nothing will “eliminate the problem”. If it’s on hangers, they will yank it off of the hangers and throw it on the floor or over the rack. They leave it in piles in the fitting room. They pee on it — Wait, what isn’t alone in having to deal with that problem. Multiple times.

      How about you put it back neatly the way you found it? Like you hopefully learned in freaking kindergarten?

      And I don’t mind being asked if it’s in the back. But I know what things we have in the back and what we don’t. If I say we don’t, we don’t. Don’t keep pushing me to admit that yes, we actually have a ton of it, and I’m just too lazy to do my job. I worked my tail off when I worked in clothing. It’s a hard, hard job. Have some mercy on those poor clerks, who have, I promise you, dealt with it all.

      So glad I’m in jewelry now. :)

      Aug 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   kathlynn

    well, I figure this is to stop people from yelling at the sales people. As some one who works at a prepay (by law) gas station, I spend way to much time getting yelled at by customers who cannot seem to understand what “you are putting your card in backwards” means, or “your transaction didn’t go through you chose the wrong account type” and “I cannot turn on the pump you have to prepay”

    Aug 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   LOL

    Jen is correct.

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   hugsandkisses101

    little boxes, on the hillside/ little boxes made of ticky-tacky/ little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same…

    Aug 9, 2012 at 1:17 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   Robin

      There’s a green one and a pink one
      And a blue one and a yellow one…

      Aug 10, 2012 at 12:40 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   FeatherBlade

      And they’re all made of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same…

      Aug 10, 2012 at 9:46 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   Mary

    I don’t mind when customers ask me if we have anymore in the back. What really irks me though is when that customer then proceeds to ask every other employee in the store when I tell them no

    Aug 9, 2012 at 3:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   Jessi


      I work in a retail pet store and, for the most part, the only thing we have extra of in our backroom is dog food, cat food and *maybe* cat litter. Occasionally toys and treats (extra inventory for treats/pet meds/pet beds/cat trees/pet carriers/grooming supplies/chew bones/fish, bird and small animal stuff usually goes into overstock bins at the top of our shelves). If a person wants me to check to see if we have something in the back, I will (who knows, we might), but I inform them first that, “well, we tend to keep extras of that in our overstock bins at the top of the shelf which are now empty, and we get a truck tomorrow, so we most likely don’t have anymore.”

      Then I’ll go off and check. 99% of the time, we don’t have what they’re looking for. When we don’t, I’ll offer to call other stores in the area (we have another one, literally, 10 minutes away), but that’s not satisfactory. I’ll even offer to give them the smaller size of what they want for the same price per ounce or price per item that the larger one sells for. Still not good enough.

      Then, they’ll ask 5 more people who all give the same answer and seem to only find it acceptable when a manager offers them the same deal every other person offered!


      Sorry. Long day at work today. Nothing like bending over backwards to try and help someone only to have them treat you like you don’t know what you’re talking about to crush your spirit.

      Aug 11, 2012 at 2:37 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   Lil'

    I used to work in a grocery store in high school. One day a customer asked me for a raincheck for a sale item. I told her I would issue the rain check, but since she had a cart full of items for me to scan anyway, I offered to send the bagger to our stock room to see if we recieved a shipment on our truck the night before. She ripped me a new one for having the nerve to imply that she was a liar. If she told me we were out, then we were out, PERIOD. I was just trying to be helpful. I wrote out her rain check and apologized. She then cornered our manager and told him what a horrible cashier I was. I overheard him humoring her for a minute about how he’d have a word with me, she stormed out and he never mentioned it to me at all. The stock room – some love it others hate it.

    Aug 9, 2012 at 8:00 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   Kathy

      @Lil — that’s messed up. It sounds obvious to me you were just trying to be helpful and she should have appreciated the double-checking because isn’t the actual item, if it’s there, better than a rain check for said item? God, I hate people.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.2   Jessi

      @Kathy, you’d think that, but sometimes people with rain checks for a certain item wait to get in the line of a clearly new/unsure cashier (one who doesn’t know to write on the rain check if the customer isn’t buying the total amount of items being purchased or one who doesn’t know to take the rain check once it’s been used up) so that they can scare said cashier into giving them the rain check back so that they can use it again.

      I had a lady like that in one of my lines (she was, apparently a “regular” and I had just transferred up from a different state so she didn’t recognize me) who tried to cause problems over the fact that I was writing on her rain check how many items she had purchased from us and, therefore, how many more she could with that rain check. When I offered to call a manager, she got all huffy and tried to snatch it back from me. Needless to say, a manager got called and it turned out she’d been using the same rain check for a sale we’d had more than a year ago at several different locations.

      Aug 11, 2012 at 2:45 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.3   Kathy

      OMG, I had no idea there were rain check problems like this. I’m also the kind of person who doesn’t have the energy to wait for rain checks. Feels like a hassle and not worth the effort. But I guess if people think they can game the system, it’s worth it to them. Wow, tho.

      Aug 12, 2012 at 6:13 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.4   Jami

      I didn’t even know you were allowed to keep the rainchecks. The few times my mom used one when I was a kid the store kept the raincheck, though you might get a carbon copy, and they’d call when they had the item in.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   Truth

    You guys are missing the point. It isn’t whether or not a customer asks if there are more in the stockroom. In my experience, it’s about the customers that unfold every last t-shirt, dropping half in the floor, before asking for a particular size. Then you’re forced to stand there for an entire 8 hour shift folding shirts, on top of your other duties.

    While I’ve never thought about writing a note, I have been known a time or two to outright threaten people :)

    Aug 9, 2012 at 8:41 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   kermit

      No offence, but folding clothing is pretty much the primary duty of a salesperson in a clothing store. (That doesn’t mean that customers who do nothing but mess up the clothes aren’t jerks, though.)

      Yes, it’s annoying when customers don’t believe you when you tell them that you don’t have something in stock. An incredulous customer is not even remotely the worst thing that you can encounter as a salesperson. See for example, any late night news story about violence at fast food joints.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 10:17 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   Truth

      Folding clothes ISN’T the primary duty of a salesperson when they work in a small store that carries thousands of other items besides t-shirts. But when you have to stop what your doing to fold a couple hundred shirts, in addition to helping customers, cleaning the store, restocking, and taking phone calls, it can be a pain….

      Aug 9, 2012 at 10:34 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.3   kermit

      Does a menial job (or any job really) exist where nobody hardly ever interrupts what you’re doing, and you don’t have multiple and conflicting responsibilities? If there is, where is this magical job located?

      Aug 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.4   kermit

      Never mind, I figured it out: lighthouse attendant and morgue employee. Dead people don’t complain and giant light bulbs don’t require frequent changing.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.5   Truth

      My point: I don’t care if you ask me to check the stockroom. I’ll happily check. I actually prefer it to those who unfold shirt after shirt after shirt after shirt… Stop me if you get where this is going…

      Aug 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.6   Sarila

      Kermit, you have obviously never, ever, ever worked in retail. Folding shirts is no where near the only responsibility of a clothing store clerk.

      In addition to recovering the floor — a large job on its own, so don’t be insulting by acting like it’s nothing — there is a whole slew of other duties I had.

      Cashier backup, bringing new freight to the floor, price changes, ad sets, out of stocks, replenishment, customer assistance, cleaning the nasty fitting rooms, answering calls, helping the back room people find items for the online order they just got, setting plan-o-grams, monthly required training, handling recalls/merchandise returns, handling theft and probably even more that I’m forgetting.

      Oh, and let’s not leave out the getting screamed at and belittled at least once a week for not doing enough. Everyone in our clothing section has been driven to tears at least once that I know of. It’s not enough to be worked into dust, you have to be walked on like dust, too. By management and customers.

      Oh, wait. I know you. You’re that jerk who leaves a mess in front of me and then brags that you are giving me something to do, giving me job security. Oh, I know you.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.7   kermit

      In the words of Dolly Parton, get off the cross. Somebody else needs the wood.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.8   Sarila

      Told you I knew you. I walk in smiling, happy to help, and you’re that one customer who ruins my day because that’s what makes you happy, and I’m beneath you, right? Here to be walked on. And round and round we go.

      Heartless and cruel and nasty. Unable to walk even five steps in someone else’s shoes. I’m sorry for you. Must be a dark, unimaginative life.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.9   Kore

      Sarila, I know you. You’re the clerk who acts like you’re doing everyone a favor by doing your job.

      You’re the reason I buy clothes online.

      Aug 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   bob loblaw

    If you look closely, some of dem shirts are different.

    Aug 9, 2012 at 9:21 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   Stacy

    Not only is it common to have additional stock in back to save on floor space but it’s also common for people to greet me with, “Please let me know if you have trouble finding your size. We may have what you need in the back”. Often there is exactly one of an item in each size on the floor so that all sizes are available to try on/purchase but when one gets purchased, a size is missing until someone replaces the missing item from “the back”. I can understand annoyance at being asked to “check anyway” when the customer has already been told that all they’ve got is what’s on the floor. I don’t understand the attitude that the customer is supposed to just KNOW that everything in stock is on the floor when, in fact, many of us are used to the routine of asking if there’s anything “in back”, having the sales associate check inventory on the register and asking us to please wait a few minutes while he or she gets the item from the stockroom. When they’re on commission, I’m sure they’re just THRILLED that I’ve asked before another salesperson descends upon me and asks me if I need help finding a size.

    Aug 9, 2012 at 10:21 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   Sara

    Not feeling any sympathy for all the bitter and obnoxious ex-retail workers in the comments. I get greeted all the time by salespeople who tell me that I should to approach them if I can’t find my size because maybe they’ll find it in the back room.

    I’ve also been in shoe stores and clothing stores where the employees did indeed find what I was looking for (and wasn’t on display) in the back. Sometimes I’ll ask because I can’t find my size and other times I’ll ask because I’ll see something displayed on a mannequin but can’t find it on the shelves/tables.

    Yeah, not every store is the same, but there isn’t some magic way for customers to know that. Your job is to help customers. If answering an honest question is just too much for little ol’ you, then you’re in the wrong job.

    I’m sick and tired of people with entitlement issues and bitterness problems working in jobs that are clearly not compatible with their personalities and then try to blame all their inadequacies on the customer. I personally can’t stand the idea of working in customer service. I could never answer phones, be a waitress, or work in retail. So guess what? I don’t apply to those places. If you have no choice but to apply to a job like that because you can’t find any other employment, then suck up your anger issues and accept that answering the same question repeatedly is something you’re going to have to do.

    Aug 9, 2012 at 10:49 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   The Elf

      While I do think that some of the ex- or current retailers are just a wee bit bitter, if you haven’t worked in that field you really don’t know the horrors of customers.

      I would honestly love to see every person work one year in some customer service capacity – retail or food service preferably. The world would be a nicer place.

      I worked retail as a high schooler and college student. It’s good work for a teen/young adult because you can schedule it around your education and it doesn’t require specialized training. Working retail convinced me more than anything else to get that college degree so that I don’t have to do it anymore.

      Of course in this economy, that’s no guarantee…..

      Aug 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   IamFuckingDelish

      Your bitterness is fucking delicious… Please, may I have some more?

      Aug 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.3   Jami

      But sometimes it IS the customer.

      While working in a library is not exactly the same as working in a store, the stories can be alike enough that I have started to feel way more sympathy for retail workers, waiters/waitresses, etc. No matter how many times I tell some people that if they want The Hunger Games or 50 Shades Of Grey they’ll have to put it on hold or go out and buy a copy, they’re convinced I can magically pull it out of my butt. And while I have a big butt, I’m not secretly storing books inside it. (Nor would I store shit like 50 Shades either.)

      Then there’s those people who can’t understand the concept of putting items on hold. They might’ve gone online 10 minutes before coming and put a hold on a book – but the only branch that might own said book is in San Juan Capistrano and no matter how many times I tell them that there’s no library in Costa Mesa that has a copy and they have to wait 5 to 7 business days, they just don’t want to believe it. Apparently libraries are suppose to have transporter technology. This ain’t Star Trek, people.

      People can be pretty damn unreasonable. Don’t even get me started on the people who think they shouldn’t have to pay late fees because they returned the book – even though they returned it a month past it’s due date.

      Yes, I will ask if there’s more in the back – politely. When I’m polite the salespeople will tend to try and find my size, even if they have to call other stores. A little politeness and being reasonable can go a LONG way.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.4   kermit

      I don’t think anybody’s arguing that it’s not the customer. Of course customers can be annoying and rude and can mess up the display.

      But realistically speaking, retail customer service jobs aren’t the worst customer service jobs by a long shot.

      Unlike people who work in hospitals or in sketchy corner stores, the risk of assault/violence is low.
      You don’t have to assemble/make anything so you don’t get yelled at to do it faster/differently.
      There’s generally little to no heavy lifting, risks of burns or other injuries.
      You don’t go home reeking of odours that make you want to rip off the first layer of your skin.
      In short, I think that people are just asking for a little perspective.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.5   Jami

      Actually, in my job at least, the risk for violence is getting greater and greater. I’ve had people start punching the desk because of a 25 cent fine. There was a woman who demanded the librarian kick someone off a computer so she could use it and when he wouldn’t she screamed at him and when he walked away she followed him into the staff breakroom. He actually had to go into the bathroom to get away from her – and she stood outside there for several minutes still screaming at him. People will stand over me wanting me to drop helping someone else to do what they want right now.

      And we’ve had to start calling the police now because of homeless men who come in to use the computers who start getting verbally violent, with threats of physical violence, because something isn’t going their way.

      As for smells – well, I’m particularly sensitive to odors and besides the general BO some people have, there’s a number of heavy smokers who’ll come in. There’s been times people have come in smelling of booze – and these will be nicely dressed women and it’ll be 10 am. (There’s a private golf course nearby.) And it’ll be all I can do not to start throwing up after or even during helping them.

      So yeah, while factory work might be more dangerous, other jobs can be almost exactly as bad.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.6   Sara

      I’m not saying that customers are incapable of being rude. The main reason I will never work in customer service (unless I’m close to being homeless and can’t find any other job) is that I KNOW how rude people can be, and I know that I don’t have the patience to deal with assholes like that effectively. I’d also probably get really annoyed having to answer the same question over and over, even if I recognize that the customer isn’t doing anything wrong. I don’t have the personality for it at all, and I know that I’d probably get fired for copping an attitude with someone. But since I’m able to recognize that I’d be a total bitch if I had this kind of job, I do everyone else (and myself) a favor by not putting myself in that position.

      My comment wasn’t directed at the picture; instead I was reacting to some of the the angry people (like Travis in the first thread) who seem to think that customers are being irritating and stupid by even daring to ask the employees if they could find something in the back. Especially the comments along the lines of, “NO IF IT’S NOT ON DISPLAY THEN IT’S BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE IT!”

      Like. . .obviously a lot of people have different experiences with this, and not every single store functions the same way the one you’re working at functions. How are we supposed to know that you don’t have a back room or that something not being on display automatically means that you don’t have extra stock? You’re the one who works there, not me. Therefore, I don’t know how the store works. It’s an honest question, and if you feel that I’m pestering you by asking, then you need to get yourself a new job.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.7   Jami

      There’s days though when you’ve dealt with the same question so many times you’re on the verge of losing it. Maybe when Travis was posting he had a bad day at work.

      I just like to try and give retail workers the benefit of the doubt because of how I’ve been treated at my own job.

      If Travis is like that all the time, then yeah, it’s time to look for something new. But right now I like to believe he just had a rotten day.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.8   Jessi

      “Unlike people who work in hospitals or in sketchy corner stores, the risk of assault/violence is low.”

      Lower yes, but it’s still there. We had a lady come in wielding a knife and stabbing herself a couple of months ago. I work in a pet store.

      “You don’t have to assemble/make anything so you don’t get yelled at to do it faster/differently.”

      We assemble stuff all of the time where I work (granted, it’s not an assembly line), and we get yelled at all of the time by customers to do things faster/differently. I had a lady freak out on me for folding her two foot long receipt in half. She yelled at me for five minutes straight. And she was an easy customer compared to most.

      “There’s generally little to no heavy lifting, risks of burns or other injuries.”

      Where I work, we lift 30-40 pound bags of food on a daily basis in addition to huge aquariums and stands. Also, dog bites occur quite often.

      “You don’t go home reeking of odours that make you want to rip off the first layer of your skin.”

      Do you know how many showers you have to take and how many time you have to wash you clothes to get the smell of a dog’s anal gland secretions out?

      “In short, I think that people are just asking for a little perspective.”

      That’s all some of us are asking for, as well. Actually, all I’m asking for is for people to treat me how they would want to be treated. Don’t assume I’m stupid because I work retail (I didn’t finish college because I ran out of money, but most of the people I work with actually hold college degrees and/or are currently in college). Don’t get pissy at me because, while I’ve done everything I could do to help you, we still couldn’t find a solution.

      Lastly, don’t get angry at me because I’m helping another customer, which you can clearly see, and I ask you to wait a minute or two so that I can finish helping the first customer. “Excuse me, I know you’re busy, but…” only has one ending to me, no matter what the customer says, and that ending is, “… I’m more important than the person you’re currently speaking to, so pay attention to me right now.”*

      *The exception is those with quick, easy to answer questions like, “Where’s the bathroom?”

      Aug 11, 2012 at 3:10 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.9   Pixy

      Guess what Sara; you’re in the minority group of customers. I also work somewhere where there is no “backstock.” What we have is on display. Of course if someone asks me to “double check,” I will. But my answer is always, “Sorry, we our sold out, but our location in the next town has one, I’ll call them and have them hold it for you.” You would be shocked how often that answer isn’t good enough. “Why don’t you have it here? It’s a new/popular item, you should have it.” That’s exactly why we don’t have it, because everyone came in today to buy it. The primary response for most people when they can’t get what they want is rage. This is why retail employees are bitter and generally hate the public; the public treats us like crap. When I do get that one person in who is pleasant and polite and treats me like a human being, I will bend over backwards and do everything in my power to help them as much as I can. That’s the only way to get the best possible service in retail – treat the employees like people, and you’ll walk out happy. Yell at and demean us, and I’m going to make you jump through a million hoops just to do the bare minimum to get you out of my store.

      Aug 12, 2012 at 10:20 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.10   Tesselara

      I did a lot of customer service work, and people can be ridiculous. (I stayed sane by storing the story in my head to use in my writing, or to tell people about–they can be great party stories). So, I try really hard to be polite–at this point, though, I have basically ceased to interact with retail employees, because when I check about something, I get apathy/irritation/thoughtless answers. Not all the time, but often. It’s a soul killing job, and is part of a feedback loop. Customers are crap, so retail employees get bitter and rude, non crappy customers meet a bitter retail employee and become crappy customers, thereby creating more bitter retail employees. So, I walk into a store, smile brightly at the employees, try to find what I am looking for, either find it, or don’t, and leave with an equally sunny smile at the employee. End of transaction. I’m not so invested in spending my hard earned money that I will voluntarily subject myself to someone who is embittered, angry and unwilling to work that extra bit. There is so much crap out there to buy. I’m sure I will find it somewhere else.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 8:06 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   redheadwglasses

    Wow, WHO’S bitter?

    Aug 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   kermit

      If you truly consider folding clothes and pestering customers to be a pain, you do come off as entitled and bitter. People who’ve truly worked in any customer-service job identify these minor inconveniences as normal parts of the job, not something truly worth complaining about.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #14.2   kathlynn

      ” minor inconveniences as normal parts of the job”
      I disagree, while yes, folding a FEW clothing, or a small complaint can be a minor inconvenience, spending the day getting yelled at is not a minor inconvenience, nor is what I saw at blue notes today, where all the shirts were completely messed up at many tables. If you missed my first post, I spend every day getting yelled at by customers who think they know how the gas pumps work better then me, who think that it’s the store’s fault when they put the wrong type of gas in their car, or so on. When we do as much as we can to prevent that.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #14.3   redheadwglasses

      I didn’t intend for my “who’s bitter?” post to be its own post in response to the picture–it was supposed to be under Sara crankypants’ post.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   Dane Zeller

    I’m amazed at how many retail sales people can see how customers get in the way of doing their job!

    Aug 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   Ansco

    Looks to me like some young punk that expects everything to be handed him/her was tired of actually doing something and retaliated by putting forth the extra effort and put up this sign. I refer to this age group as the “Entailment Generation” or “Generation Excuse” some of you might know it better as “Gen X”

    Aug 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   The Elf

      Generation X is in their 30s and 40s now, which is only a “young punk” if you’re in your 60s or 70s.

      I think you are thinking of Generation Y, also called The Millenials.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 8:38 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.2   Aussie Guest

      Poor ol’ Gen Y always gets all the other generations ganging up on us. We’re not all bad you know!

      Aug 10, 2012 at 10:34 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.3   The Elf

      Don’t worry, when the next generation is old enough to enter the workforce, we’ll start railing against them. In the meantime, stay off my damn lawn.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.4   Ratastic

      I think you mean “entitlement”. Entailments have largely gone the way of the phaeton and flintlock dueling pistols.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   Eileen

    I don’t see why it comes off as bitterness or entitlement to be annoyed at having to re-fold the same stack of shirts twelve times in a six-hour shift, or being asked the same question by seven different customers in a row, sometimes being asked the same question by a customer who stood there as I answered that question for another customer. The answer didn’t magically change in the five seconds it took the first customer to walk away!
    Nobody has any sympathy for retail employees. If they had to do this job for one day–one day!–they might be a little more understanding.

    Aug 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Claire

      About 30% of the workforce in the European Union are in commerce/retail.
      So about 1 in three ARE doing that job, and many more have in the past.
      I now work in law enforcement, it’s a vocation which admittedly retail generally isn’t. However retail is WAY easier. My job is still service-based and the “do as you would be done by” is the best rule of thumb, but I generally have to pick up broken people rather than dropped shirts.

      Some people/customers are idiots, but (yes I’m going to say it) at least you have employment.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 3:42 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.2   Jessi

      Wow. Points off for coming across like a snob. No one here is arguing that people working in law enforcement (interesting phrasing, btw. My friend is a secretary for the local PD and says she works in law enforcement. She’s not exactly lying.) don’t work a difficult job. What you’re essentially doing is saying, “Yeah, your job is tough, but mine’s tougher.” Pissing contests are boring.

      I work in retail as a dog trainer. You’d think that would be a job with a pretty clear description, but I often times find myself being a “bartender” (the person people tell all of their secrets to), a marriage counselor, a “Super Nanny” (teaching people how to deal with their kids), and the last line of defense for any animal (“dog trainer” seems to mean “help me with all my furry creatures” to some people) when it comes to keeping them from being euthanized.

      “At least [we] have employment.”? What do you mean by that? At least we have employment, so we should just shut our mouths about how we’re treated and just thank our lucky stars?

      Aug 13, 2012 at 4:26 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.3   Cyberjar88

      @Jessi: I know exactly how you feel. I have a part-time job on the weekends taking care of dogs. Some people just don’t seem to understand that, while dogs can be cute and lovable, they also bark at pretty much anything, pee and poop anywhere, shed like crazy, and play roughly with each other. Every time I come home and someone asks me how my day was, I want to hit them. I just don’t have the energy.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 8:24 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.4   kermit

      No offence Jessi, but I don’t think you’re listening to what people like Claire are saying.

      She’s not trying to turn this into a competition of who has the more unpleasant job.

      Her point is that some jobs are unpleasant by their very nature. So it does come off as juvenile to complain about events that are part of the job (even though they’re not formally listed on the job description).

      Sorry, but some people aren’t going to take your complaints seriously when you say that you work in a pet store and the animals sometimes bite you or are smelly. If part of your job is to handle animals, did you honestly think that those things were not going to be happening?

      Abusive and belligerent customers who yell at you over the folding of receipts? Totally legitimate complaint. Nobody should have to endure abuse at their workplace.

      But Claire’s point is that tasks part of the job are not abusive; they’re just tasks part of the job.

      Being asked to fold shirts hundreds of times when you work in a clothing store is not abusive. Answering the same question hundreds of times is not abusive. The Sisyphean tasks are part of the job.

      Any teacher or IT helpline person explain the same things over and over again, even though most of the time the answer is pretty evident and straight-forward.

      If all your store needed was somebody to unload merchandise on the shelves and take people’s money, they could easily install those automatic checkout machines, have delivery people stock the shelves each morning and leave.

      But they choose not to have cashier machines precisely because they need is a human being to deal with all the unpleasant things you and everyone else complain about it.

      In other words – you can choose to either get some perspective and not take stuff like this personally.

      Or you can choose to be like Travis and blow an artery over something that’s really never going to change.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 9:10 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.5   Jessi

      “Her point is that some jobs are unpleasant by their very nature. So it does come off as juvenile to complain about events that are part of the job (even though they’re not formally listed on the job description).

      Sorry, but some people aren’t going to take your complaints seriously when you say that you work in a pet store and the animals sometimes bite you or are smelly. If part of your job is to handle animals, did you honestly think that those things were not going to be happening?”

      Where was I “complaining” about these things? I merely mentioned that they occur. For instance, I get customers where I work who are super embarrassed that their dog urinated/defecated/vomited and who don’t want me to “waste [my] time” cleaning up after them. No one should ever be embarrassed that their animal had a bodily function in public, but least of all in a pet store. Also, I really don’t mind helping someone pick up after their animal. I get irritated when people act like it never happened and allow other people and pets to walk through their animal’s mess.

      Aug 15, 2012 at 5:12 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #18   Bohica

    I worked for a long time at Walmart. Years ago, we did have to go to the back to check for items that were out of stock. This has since changed. It is doubtful that our customers were aware of these changes taking place, so they continued to ask us to check for items in the back. I’ve endured my share of rude people, and spent endless hours cleaning up after customers. But the fact is you are being paid to help these people, regardless of your opinion of their questions. If 20 different people come ask you where the restrooms are, it is completely out of line to get annoyed with them. They are probably asking because they don’t know! If you have to refold clothing because customers have the audacity to want a better look at what they are spending their money on, that is your job! Believe it or not, the majority of customers do not enter the store purely to annoy you. No one says you have to enjoy every second of work, but you are being paid to do these things. If you don’t like it, get a different job. It will probably be no great loss when you quit (or more likely, are fired).

    Aug 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.1   kermit

      Thank you, Bohica. Complaints about belligerent and abusive customers are valid and appropriate because nobody should be abused in their workplace.

      But people who simply irritate and pester are just the (unfortunate) reality of a job that involves mainly dealing with people. It’s the equivalent of a counsellor complaining that his patients don’t talk to him about anything except their problems.

      Anybody who’s ever worked a low-level customer-facing job knows that you’re not really being paid to work the cash register; you’re being paid to listen to people’s questions and complaints, and sometimes have them vent out their frustrations on you – even though you have nothing to do with those frustrations and can’t really do much to fix them. Is this fair? Not really, but nothing much is fair about being an entry-level employee.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.2   Fae

      No, my job is to sell you items. Everything that I do revolves around selling product to you, NOT listening to you whine. I will listen to you whine if I think that will get me a sale, but if not, I will make a polite excuse to go sell my product to someone else.
      I happen to recognize this chain, and have worked at one in another city. This is a clearance rack, based on the other items on the shelf. That means a couple things: 1) the sale does nothing for me but get obsolete items out of the store. 2) Because it’s clearance, ALL of the items in that product are on the shelf. They don’t restock clearance like the rest of the store. They put it all out, wait for space to be available, then put other clearance items on the shelf as items become discontinued. There’s no such thing as overstock clearance.
      Workers in retail are not retail monkeys. We are people who are trying to earn a living. Some of us are harder workers than others, but that doesn’t mean you can lump us all together as lazy automatons who don’t care about you. I have plenty of favorite customers who are loyal to ME because I work my tail off for them because they are kind. Customers who ask for free samples every time they come in and don’t buy anything else but a carton of cigarettes? I see them and find work in another part of the store.

      Aug 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.3   kermit

      That line of reasoning only works for me if you’re paid on commission. And if you’re paid on commission, chances are that you don’t really care about the customer as much as you care about getting them to buy the most expensive version of the thing that they said they wanted.

      Now, maybe that’s only been my experience with salespeople, but I have found that those who work on commission (e.g. electronics store employees) are generally the least helpful and knowledgeable about the product when it comes to matching what I said I wanted with a product they’re selling. For me, the easiest way to navigate this has been to do my own research, decide I want product x, and go to the store to buy it and leave.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 12:05 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.4   Fae

      Congratulations, you just completely ignored 3/4 of my argument! I see that you read the first paragraph, and decided to pull the internet board version of interrupting. Go back and read the rest of it while I respond to your high-handed assumptions.
      I am not paid on commission. Some items (and that list changes frequently) give me a dollar or so for each one I sell, so that I am encouraged to know more about that product and am able to promote it. I have never sold anything to someone that they did not want to buy. Often, those items are actually on sale, or the manufacturer has sent me coupons. I often end up SAVING my customers money.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 8:28 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.5   kermit

      My compliments on your reading comprehension, Fae.

      Did I say I thought you specifically worked on commission and/or in an electronics store? No. Thanks for noticing that.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 8:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #18.6   Fae

      “That line of reasoning ONLY works for me if you work on commission.” You didn’t say me specifically, but you did say that an individual must think like that IFF said individual is paid on commission.
      My point is that your assumptions come from a place of ignorance and snobbery. I doubt that you have ever worked a job where you had to do anything that was physically demanding or dangerous. And yes, retail can be dangerous – ask my roommate who required workman’s comp and had to switch jobs after a workplace injury to her back. It’s not as simple as “If you don’t like it, quit.” In this economy, we take what we can get. I have a college degree, and this job is paying back my loans as well as my rent, utilities, and groceries. Nobody else is hiring right now. Congratulations on your white collar job. Do us retail workers who catch funny internet pictures on our free time a favor, get off the internet, and go be a corporate drone.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #19   kbee

    I work in apparel, and while the job is dull and repetitive, I actually often enjoy interacting with customers. I’m always willing to comply with a request to check the back stockrooms – and I even offer when I know they’re looking for something I may have. It’s my job, there is no point in getting high blood pressure for what the job sometimes entails. Besides, I find my work day is made better, more enjoyable and varied when I do my best for my customers to help them out. Most seem to recognise my efforts, and I’ve had customers compliment my helping them, or their noticeable efforts I make to ensure my section is clean and organised for them.

    That said, there are always surly, rude or nasty customers. If they do approach me, I will assist, but they tend to just stomp around and destroy the area I just organised.

    If you haven’t worked in retail, then you probably have no idea of the damage some people can do. Most customers see neat and full shelves or maybe mild disarray and not the sheer mayhem a department goes through each day. Customers rip apart stacks, wad things up, throw them on the floor, stomp on them, leave their drinks on the shelves and drop sticky candy on items. I’ve seen things pissed and crapped on, burned with lighters, smeared with food and blood. I’ve had customers knock over 6 foot tall racks with the store scooter, leaving merchandise trailing behind them as they pretend they didn’t do it. While you yourself as a customer may not be responsible for what someone else did, I don’t think anybody could reasonably blame an associate for getting tired of such uncouth behavior in their workplace.

    My husband used to say that it should be mandatory for everybody to join the military, just to experience it. I also think people should experience being the little guy working minimum wage in areas like retail and the food industry. It’s hard work, no matter what anybody says. You’re on your feet all day, lifting, sorting, unpacking boxes, checking merchandise, tags, inventory and so on. I’ve got chronic back issues and my knees ache from the physical aspect of my job, part of which includes unloading the massive trucks our merchandise come to us in.

    Some people here say some retail workers have senses of entitlements, but it goes both ways. Many people unfortunately treat retail workers as untrained monkeys, and many of us – like myself – are doing it as a means to an end while studying school or looking for better work. And if you do land on the other side of the equation and run into an associate that is rude, unhelpful or hostile, remember: we’re not all like that.

    Aug 9, 2012 at 11:26 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.1   Jessi

      “I’ve had customers knock over 6 foot tall racks with the store scooter, leaving merchandise trailing behind them as they pretend they didn’t do it.”

      I’ve experienced the same thing, only slightly different. We get customers who let their dogs pee and poop everywhere and walk away like it never happened.

      I bet you’re like me. Personally, I don’t care if you want me to clean up after you or your animal, just *please* let me know that I need to clean something up so that it doesn’t become a bigger issue.

      Aug 11, 2012 at 3:19 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.2   Kore

      I’m beginning to think that pet stores shouldn’t allow customers to bring their animals inside. I was at Petsmart a few weeks ago and watched a girl allow her leashed dog to pee on a bag of dry dog food. And she didn’t tell anyone. Or buy the bag of food.

      Aug 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.3   Jessi

      @Kore, trust me, stuff like that gets caught before anyone buys it (at least it does at my store). Either a customer tells us (usually not the customer who allowed their animal to mark the merchandise), or an employee on the floor/the cashier caches it. Even if none of those things occur, the customer can bring the product back if they noticed the bottom of the bag has a weird stain (where I work, the bottoms of the bags are the only place a dog could possibly urinate on), even if they’ve used a bit of the food.

      Plus, the only thing which keeps people in the pet supply industry sane is customers bringing in animals. I can be having the worst and most stressful day ever, and then a customer asks me if I can hold their new puppy for a minute because their hands are full.

      Yes. Yes I can! :-)

      Aug 17, 2012 at 4:32 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.4   Clumber

      Anywhere in the PNW? If so we’ll bring our critters by. They LOVE pet store staff!

      (FTR I clean up not only any accidents my dogs have – and they haven’t ever had an accident in any store – but I try to take care of any I come across that another customer rudely left. OR I will try to block it off and go get a staff person.)

      Aug 17, 2012 at 5:23 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #20   Aude Les

    I worked for Carrefour(a French retailer) for 7 years. This kind of joke never happened.

    Aug 10, 2012 at 1:46 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #21   Fae

    Who here thinks Kermit’s a troll?

    Aug 10, 2012 at 8:32 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #21.1   The Elf

      I always thought he was a frog.

      Aug 10, 2012 at 8:40 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #21.2   Jessi

      Only you, it seems.

      Aug 11, 2012 at 3:20 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #21.3   Poltergeist

      Why, because they disagreed with you? Everybody with a differing opinion is a troll?

      Aug 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #22   Strawberry Creme

    Honestly… I’m surprised that clothing stores use flat shelves and tables so extensively. Tables basically require the customer to make a mess to find what they want, and thus take time (and sanity) away from salespeople who have to fold clothes instead of helping customers. They’re also a very poor way to display merchandise.

    Tables and shelves take up more space than clothing racks do, and are harder to move. With a table you can only see about half the merchandise (or a sliver of it if the pile doesn’t match), whereas on a hanging wall rack or a clothing rack you can see the whole item with a minimum of effort. Folded clothes on tables also collect dust more quickly, and since the customers have to touch them more to find what they’re looking for, it’s less hygienic and dirties the clothes more quickly.

    About the only advantage of display tables over clothing racks is that tables don’t use hangers. And I don’t see how that’s much of an improvement, since the cashiers can just take the hangers out to save them. Perhaps the real solution here is for stores to use clothing racks instead of tables.

    Aug 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #22.1   kathlynn

      first, tables look nicer, they really do. second, you can see things easier, spot thieves easier, when things are lower like most tables are, then when there are clothing racks, which make it easier for people to steal. the racks provide coverage, and a place/way to easily hide the evidence.

      Aug 11, 2012 at 12:41 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #22.2   Jami

      I prefer racks to tables. It’s easier to find stuff. Plus unlike tables, they’re easier to move when I’m trying to get mom’s wheelchair through.

      Aug 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #23   Backa

    Anybody can ask me if I have more stock in the back, that’s fine. The problem is when they don’t believe me. Forcing me to go back there will not make an item magically appear. Asking every associate in the store as though I’m incompetent will not make an item magically appear. It’s rude and very common for customers to not give up on asking if items are in the back. I can certainly understand the frustration exhibited by this sign, especially when coupled with customers who destroy clothing stacks that took literally hours to clean up.

    Be neat, be courteous, be polite, and you will receive the best service in the world.

    Aug 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #23.1   Jessi

      I don’t work with clothes, but I do work retail and, as I’ve said to many people, I fully understand when I find a random item from the back of the store at the font of the store (I assume the customer brought it up and decided, at the last minute, that they didn’t want it). The really frustrating thing is when I find stuff from the front of the store at the back of the store. Wth? You have to go past that part of the store again in order to leave! Why not just put it back?

      Aug 11, 2012 at 3:24 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #23.2   Hannah

      I agree Backa. I worked retail and would look in the back which was fine it was my job bu some customers just think you are lying and keep asking. I would look it up on the computer and it would list zero, the customer would ask me to check anyway, so I would and not find it. Then they question if I looked hard enough!

      Aug 11, 2012 at 10:49 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #24   Miri

    The last time I was in a store and asked if they had something in a different size, the girl went in the back and came out way too quickly. I think she only pretended to look. Not nice, but effective.

    Aug 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #24.1   Jessi

      They could just have a small, well organized back room. The back room where I work is uber-organized because of our obsessive compulsive Products manager (and we love him for it!) and it takes me about 10 seconds to check if we have more of something in there. I walk through the doors, glance where the product would be if we had more of it, and take note of whether or not we do.

      Just because something is done quickly and efficiently, that doesn’t mean it’s done incorrectly. :-)

      Aug 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #25   Damaia

    Speaking from my experience, sometimes customers can be a bit pushy. Fortunately at my store, we do have a computer that lets us check our inventory as well as every other store in the company. Nothing irritates me more than the graphic tees though! People will rifle through them and leave them a mess. The one on the top has the EXACT SAME PICTURE as the one on the bottom. If there’s a flaw or you change your mind, BRING IT TO THE REGISTER. Honestly, you’re doing more harm than good leaving your shit on the shelf. It just makes us look messy. We have a recovery room for stuff that just needs to be restocked. Every store has one.

    Aug 14, 2012 at 2:33 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.1   Jessi

      ” we do have a computer that lets us check our inventory as well as every other store in the company”

      I’m so jealous. I hate that we can’t check stuff like this where I work!

      Aug 15, 2012 at 5:20 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.2   L

      *raises hand* Literally no store in my town has a recovery room for stuff that needs to be restocked. And I know my mother’s store (retail) very well.

      Aug 19, 2012 at 1:47 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #26   Kaz

    I never worked clothes but worked plenty other kinds of retail.
    Most memorable annoyance was working as a manager for a small newsagents. I could literally see the entire store from the till-point so when something ran out (confectionery, drinks, stationary, cigarettes etc) I could see right away and would have myself or one of the staff restock it immediately. If we were out, we would pull forward any stock that was left and that would be that till delivery day.

    What annoyed me was the people who refused to believe me when I told them there was no more in the back.

    No, I am not going to look because I looked no less than two hours ago when I noticed we were out. I KNOW we are out….I AM the manager…..because a 22 year old can still be good enough at her job to become a manger….No, I’m not reading magazines, I’m doing paperwork….Now is there anything else not pertaining to this issue I can help you with?

    The crap you take just because someone doesn’t understand how your job works and that you might actually have this down by now. It’s just a bottle of coke for crying out loud!

    Aug 15, 2012 at 4:25 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #27   Sallie

    While I work at Home Depot, i will size up the size of our receiving area: TINY. About the size of our Contractor Desk. We dont have a whole other store back there. No, there are not any more 2×4-12 foot studs in the back, see that area were you just pulled the ones you have on your cart? If it is empty, they are gone. The POINT of a receiving area or back room is not to store things, it is to get it delivered to the store and get it out to the floor so the night crew can stock it. If you dont see it anywhere else, it is gone till the next truck comes in, and that can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks. I dont have a magical wand to make truckers appear, make them speed, tell them not to sleep when they need to. Things take time and yelling and screaming at me is not going to make it any better.

    Aug 15, 2012 at 11:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #27.1   Jessi

      I had a customer who made my day today. I was busy checking a lady through my register when a second woman came up, interrupted us mid-sentence and asked if I had more of a certain treat in the back. I told her that we didn’t, as we keep overstock of treats at the top of our shelves, and overstock is worked on a daily basis.

      Well, the customer got upset with me saying that every time she comes in we don’t have the amount of treats she wants to buy and that we’re losing business because of that. As it turns out, she usually comes in on a Friday (the day before our delivery truck comes), so I informed her that we get our trucks on Saturdays, and that if she gave us a call on Saturday, we’d set the product aside for her.

      Her response? “Well, that doesn’t help me *today*, now does it, sweetheart? [asked in a very rude tone of voice]”

      The customer who made my day was the initial one I had in my line. She turned to the rude customer and said, “No, it doesn’t, but taking your shitty day out on the cashier won’t make the product magically appear!”

      I wanted to hug her, but that would’ve been weird and the crazy lady would’ve probably called our head office and told them how I agreed with a customer who was abusive towards her or something.

      Aug 18, 2012 at 4:23 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #28   Stephanie

    I took the photo in a Walgreens. I can virtually guarantee there was no back stock.

    Aug 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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