September 26, 2000
The Customer is Always Right. Right?
by mike <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Before I began my dream career in the fire service, I did the same thing most teenagers do when they need money: got a crap job. I worked in a grocery story from 1997 to mid-1999.
Beginning as a cashier, I learned the ropes of the retail grocery business: cash-handling, produce "codes," where to direct phone calls, where things are in the store, what manager was in charge of which department, etc. Eventually, I myself was promoted to the esteemed position of "manager." More money? Yes. A blessing? Hell no.
Anyone who's ever stepped foot in any kind of retail store knows the adage of "the customer is always right." Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way that that simply isn't the case. An example:
Customer: Excuse me. I bought 15 of these bottled waters because the sign said they were 20 cents apiece, and my receipt says they cost $2.99!
Me: Ma'am, they do cost $2.99.
Customer: No, they don't! You're wrong! I saw the sign!
Me: Let's go have a look-see at that sign, shall we?
Customer: SEE?! You're wrong! The sign says $0.20!
Me: Ma'am, the sign also clearly says "Campbell's Soup - All Varieties."
Customer: AUGH! I'm never shopping here again. You people are so dirty and misleading.
Can anyone explain that blatant display of idiocy to me? This wasn't a subtle sign - it was 2' by 2' and written in bright red letters on a neon yellow background. It blended in with the store like Rambo in a church service.
The point is that people want things done their way, no exceptions. If that woman wants her bottled water for twenty cents, even if it means an almost $45 loss for the store, she'd better get them. That simply is not going to happen.
Additionally, most customers seem to be under the impression that my time is somehow less valuable than theirs. I am inferior to them because I work in a grocery store and they work in a "designer food store." Isn't that pretty much the same thing with a different name? I'm paid to be there, yes, but no amount of money would make me want to sit there and listen to you bitch and whine about how dinner plans are ruined because we only have two-and-a-half instead of three pounds of asparagus almondine. Listen, lady, if I had it my way, we wouldn't even HAVE asparagus almondine - it sounds vile. PFFT!
And lastly, when the store closes at 9pm, that means we leave at 9pm. That doesn't mean stroll on in at 8:58pm and start shopping for 400 items and try to pay with a credit card AND have us cash a $350 check for you. We're not a bank. We're not at your beck and call. If you can get in at 8:58pm and be out by 9pm, great - do it. But if you're like the majority, a fat, lazy and disrespectful slob, you'd better hope it's not my store you're loafing around in.
So the moral of this story is simple: next time you go to the store to pick up 'a few things,' remember those of us that work there and try for just a few moments to be civil, be kind, be human. It'll go a long way - I might actually tell you where the Spaghetti-O's are instead of directing you to the feminine hygiene aisle. Deal?
Published: September 27, 2000