Picture this: you’re on your way to a birthday dinner and realise you completely forgot to buy a card and present. In a hurry, you stop by the shops. You look at your watch and see it’s five minutes until closing time, but staff are still in the shop. Brilliant! You pop in, spend 10 minutes choosing a gift, have it wrapped in-store and you’re good to go.
Everyone wins, right?
Well, yes — except behind that bright, helpful smile from the worker at the cashier, she was probably silently calling you every name under the sun for delaying her home time. In fact, it’s just one of the many, many annoying things customers do that retail workers quietly hate — here are 16 others.
1. Messing with their displays.
“A pet hate is people messing up tables and folding while you’re working on it, so I have to put on my, ‘You suck but I’m going to pretend it’s OK’ face.”
2. Changing your mind at the register.
“I can’t stand when people don’t finish shopping before coming to the register. It’s the holidays, lines out the door, and you are sitting there still pondering over items. Ring them up, then remove them, ‘Get me another size quickly, the price is wrong’, etc. There is always some idiot that takes like 45 minutes to checkout three items,” wrote one Redditor.
Watch: Mamamia staffers share our favourite fashion finds. (Post continues after video.)
3. Hanging up things wrong.
“It’s a nice thought, but when people attempt to hang things on the wrong hanger (like T-shirts on clippy hangers) it’s just another item I’m going to have to re-hang.”
4. Asking lots of questions.
If you need genuine help, that’s fine — but don’t be lazy about it.
“It pisses me off when they’re asking me a million ridiculous questions, the same ones over and over, when they can see very clearly that at least five people are waiting who need my help,” said one Reddit user.
5. Interrupting to get attention.
“I wish customers would stop staring at me while I’m on the work phone to a customer or helping someone else. I acknowledged you already, and you know I’ll be right with you, but by staring at me you only makes me incredibly uncomfortable, which makes me less enthusiastic to interact with you, not more,” said one Redditor.
6. Trying to bargain a price.
“Customers who want a discount, or insist an item is damaged so they want you to offer them a special price, make my blood boil. I tell them I have no authority to dictate prices in the store. Internally I’m like, ‘I’m a weekend casual, do you really think I’m the one deciding prices?'”
7. Telling lame jokes.
“It’s so annoying when a customer says a joke you’ve heard thousands of times before, like, ‘If there’s no price on it, it must be free’. Mate, it wasn’t even funny the first [email protected]#ing time.”
8. Talking down to staff.
“We may be working in a retail store, but [often] that’s not all we do. It seriously frustrates me when customers talk down to me, especially as I’m almost fully qualified in my actual chosen career as a lawyer.”
It doesn't matter if it's Barney's or Best and Less - treat staff with respect. (HBO)
9. When you lose your receipt.
"This is a lose-lose situation for retail staff. When people come in wanting a refund without any proof of purchase, they're mostly in the right but seriously — can't you be more responsible with your receipts? It's also annoying because it doesn't matter how much I enforce the store policy, if they kick up enough fuss and get me on the phone to my regional manager, I'll likely be overruled and made to give them a refund anyway."
10. When you leave a mess of unwanted clothes.
"Some of the most annoying people are those who think you're a magical cleaning fairy and leave all their clothing in a pile on the floor for you. I'm not your slave."
11. When you complain about the quality of the clothes.
"My colleagues and I dread the people who insist on knowing the material and then proceed to complain that it's not high quality. Then, having to explain to them that that is why it's a cheaper product, because if it were a good material it would be more expensive — and then watching them buy it anyway. What we're really thinking is, 'Stop pretending you're fancy, you're in [insert cheap high street shop] for goodness sake.'"
12. When you don't like the answer you're given.
"Trust us, we're not lying to you. I hate those people who ask one person in the shop something, don't get the answer they want, then proceed to ask another person in the shop the same question and they get the same answer. As I grit my teeth I'm thinking, 'You're a d*ckhead. Don't undermine me.' They usually go to a male instead, even if they're not in a position of authority, which just boils me up like nothing else."
13. When you don't read the signs properly.
"Customers who don't read signs e.g 'From $5', and get really upset frustrate me to no end. I mean, it's printed right in front of you in big, bold letters. Read it and don't get angry at me for being ignorant."
14. When you don't use the PayPass machine properly.
"It's a simple tap and hold. It's so annoying when people hit their card on the PayPass machine, moving it back and forth so it can't actually read the card, then getting really annoyed with the machine whilst they're waving their card around." (Post continues after gallery.)
15. When you get annoyed about rounding up five cents.
"At a few stores I've worked at, we offer customers the option to round their purchase up from say $9.95 to $10 and donate the five cents to charity. It really annoys me when people say no and get cross at me for asking. I mean, it's five cents you drongo!"
16. When you snap at them for offering assistance.
"I can't stand it when people blatantly ignore me when I greet them or snap 'Just looking!' even when I'm just smiling at them. It's so rude! I'm not trying to sell you things, I'm just paying my rent."
Former/current retail workers - any to add to the list?