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Shopping Etiquette! “May I help you?” Hopefully, THIS will!

Just a few things I wanted to share with my fellow consumers. After working at a local retail store for the past year and a half [almost] I felt it was imperative that I write this post! At this point, I really wish that people were required to work retail before being allowed to shop! However, being that that’s not likely to happen I’ve decided to share a little shopping etiquette – Associate to Customer. Now, this is not meant to offend anyone! Hopefully, it will make you think BEFORE you act.

If you will, think about being in your own work environment and how you would feel if your customers/clients did things similar to what’s listed below. Whether you work in a retail store, a restaurant, an office, etc. some [if not all] of these things can apply. Maybe – Hopefully, you’ll remember this list the next time you shop!!

  1. SPEAK. Be polite. Have some manners! I understand you may not hear a person speak, but the least you can do when you hear “Hello, how are you?…welcome to…etc.” is speak back! A little smile would be nice too, but I understand that may be asking too much of some of you so a simple hello will do.

  2. PAY ATTENTION to the signs on racks and stands! Again, certain items are excluded on coupons because of special discounts. It makes no sense to argue with the associate when the sign clearly stated the “special” sale and the coupon states it as an exclusion.

  3. READ the coupons! Yes, the small print too. There you will find important information such as exclusions and if the discount is different for certain merchandise.

  4. Good CUSTOMER SERVICE is hard to find. So, when an associate gives you good customer service [checking prices/showing you merchandise/searching for sizes/etc.] it would be nice of you to purchase the merchandise with him/her. Some associates are on commission and some others have sales goals to reach. Some may not. You never know though, so just be mindful of that.

  5. PICK UP after yourself. Yes we are associates, but we are NOT your maids! There’s no need to leave your fast food containers on the dept. floor/register/etc. When shopping for shoes, don’t leave the packing material all over the floor. If you can’t put it back, ask the associate for assistance.

  6. If you’re told the SMALLEST SIZE is displayed in the shoe department, stop asking if your size is available when it’s SMALLER than the display. NO! We do not have an 8.5. The display is a 10… I’m just saying – it happens.

  7. FITTING ROOMS are not your personal bed rooms. Please, don’t leave clothes all over the floor. I understand you may not feel like putting each item back on its proper rack. However, the LEAST you can do is hang the items up so it’s easy for the associates to gather them and put them back for you. Some stores have racks in or outside of the fitting rooms for you to hang the items you don’t want. Please, feel free to use them!

  8. STOP peeing in the fitting rooms! I found this to be a bit disturbing myself, but apparently, this does happen. Now, it has yet to be determined for sure if the culprits are adults/children/the elderly/etc. Either way, that’s just nasty – put on some depends if you need to [NO EXCUSES]!

  9. CONTROL your kids! There is no reason your child should be running through aisles, hiding under chairs and tables/between racks/etc., pulling clothes off racks, throwing shoes around, etc. I mean, didn’t you give him/her/them “the talk” before you came in the store?! If not, please do so next time.

  10. STEALING is a no-no! Now, this should be common sense for all. Unfortunately, there are some who can’t seem to control themselves. THEY are watching you [you know who you are and so do “they”], and that’s all I can/will say about that.

  11. STOP trying to return items days/months/a year past the return policy deadline! Yes, this does happen. And yes, we catch it!

  12. NO receipt? Paid with cash or check? NO FULL REFUND! This is true for most stores. There is no way for us to tell how much you actually spent so we have to refund you with the price shown when scanned. It may be the lowest sale price. Now, some places can give you a full refund if you pay with a credit card – just FYI if you’re bad at keeping your receipts.

  13. STORE HOURS are in place for a reason. Now, I understand if you come in last minute and know what you’re getting or if you’re in the middle of trying on something/deciding on something/etc. But please – please don’t walk around browsing and asking to see merchandise with no intention to buy AFTER the closing announcement has been made.

That is all for now. If you think of anything else, please let me know! I may add on to this list as I think of things or get feedback from my co-workers. I’ll admit I’ve done a few of these things in the past. But, working in retail makes you more aware of things. Yes, it’s a retail job. Yes, straightening/cleaning is in our job description. That doesn’t make it Okay for customers to be inconsiderate and leave their manners at the entrance when shopping.

Being that this isn’t my full-time job or my future occupation, some may ask why I even care or bother to write this post. I care and I bother because I know what it’s like to stay an hour/sometimes over an hour after closing time to straighten shoes, clothes, and clean fitting rooms that have been unnecessarily thrown about. I understand what it’s like to run back and forth/up and down stairs finding sizes for customers all night only to have them take their merchandise to another department. I know what it’s like to feel tired/hungry/sore/etc. at 9 and 10 at night and ready to go home! I know there are people who work retail full-time and will have to deal with these things, among many others, every day. So, this is for them! And, this is for you.

They say when you know better you do better. Well, now you know…


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