AKA a few ways you, the customer, can help make a retail worker’s life easier.
1. If you don’t want something, put it back where you found it. Not sitting on a shelf nearby. Not halfway across the store. Right where you found it. On the peg/ however it was displayed originally. Please. I know it’s super easy to just drop that thing where you are, especially if you’re across the store, but imagine having to put that one thing back times a hundred. That’s what we have to do. Every day. It’s like the world’s worst scavenger hunt that takes literal hours. All work that is avoided if you take five seconds to put that thing back where you found it.
1.5. Don’t trash the shelves looking for that one perfect package in the back or whatever and leave it. Fix what you mess up, or what your kids mess up.
2. Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave trash lying around - cleaning the store and keeping it clean is a monumental task itself without people leaving empty cups on shelves. We have trash cans, use them. Wipe your feet. If you spill something, alert somebody.
3. Do not come in right before close, unless it’s an emergency and you know exactly what you need. In, grab the thing you need, and out before close. If you come into a store 10 minutes or less before close, you’re being (albeit mildly) rude. The staff has closing tasks they need to get done, often before the store actually closes and you’re keeping them from that. If you’re fast, no problem. If you linger and shop around, you’re being rude.
3.5. Do not linger after close. Know when a store closes, and get out when it does. Every minute you stay after close is a minute later the staff actually gets home. You are literally keeping the staff from going home to their family if you stay after close, and it’s deeply rude. Your time is not more important than theirs, especially AFTER the hours they’re obligated to give you their time.
4. If you break something, just tell the staff. They’re not going to make you buy it, it just goes into the ‘store damage’ bin in most places. Don’t try to hide it (world’s worst scavenger hunt part two) or just set it back on the shelf for someone else to find it and complain. Please.
5. Listen to the staff. They know what they’re talking about when they say they don’t have it in the back. They spend almost every day in the store - odds are they know even without looking. Listen to recommendations. Listen to them on policy. They know this stuff, you don’t no matter how long you’ve been a customer. They’re TRAINED, you’re not.
6. Be kind. Be polite. We all have bad days, but if a service worker can be polite and accommodating for 6-8 hours despite that, you can be for ten minutes. Don’t lose your temper if staff messes up. Service workers can only do so much; they’re the bottom of the entire corporate chain, and have literally no authority. Is that two dollars really worth demeaning another human being over?
Re: the Usual Comments:
“But it’s your job to put things back/clean up after me!”
It’s not. It’s deeply strange how people suddenly feel so entitled inside a store. A staff member is there to assist you shopping, not be your nanny. We shouldn’t have to clean up after you. You are not a child - clean up after yourself.
“I’m creating jobs when I -inconvenience store workers in some way-”
No, Cheryl, you’re not making jobs by leaving your empty starbucks cup on my shelf. I would have this job regardless of you making it more difficult, and my company isn’t going to hire more people just because you do. They just expect me to deal with it.