Sunday, March 8, 2009

I can do these small things

We all know there are stores we like to go into and ones that we'd rather have our toenails pulled off than darken the doorway. And the stores we like, we frequent. Me? I'm a Target-TJMaxx-Barnes and Nobles-PotteryBarn-Michael's-Harris Teeter kind of girl, and I pretty much still with those favorites. I branch out here and there for specific things, but those are the ones I keep going back to. Now mind you, I hardly ever BUY anything in Pottery Barn, but it's my happy place.

But I was thinking about it today when I was grocery those stores like me too? Are they happy to see me coming? I think so. And here's why. I am a respectful shopper. And maybe this counts as just being a respectful human being in general, but I was really thinking about it in terms of retail. And if YOU'VE ever worked retail, you appreciate the customer that takes an extra moment and helps you out.

Some examples (I know you want some):

  1. I use the IN door on the way IN, and the OUT door on the way OUT. Now, I am starting you small, but it's simple. I hate it when the traffic is going the opposite way. This is why the doors are labeled, people. This also applies to aisles: it's like traffic. You walk on the right hand side.
  2. I try to bring in a cart from the outside. Most of you moms already know this trick, since you park near the cart return to put your small children right into a cart. But if you can bring in one from the outside, that's one less that they have to bring inside. Again, I know someone gets paid to do this, and some store have those electronic pusher things, but I inevitably see some small teenage girl trying to push in 45 carts.
  3. If I pick something up and then later decide I don't want it, I either give it to the cashier or take it back. I do not stick my bananas in with the canned goods, or stick frozen waffles in with the tampons to sit there and defrost. Yes, I KNOW someone will come around and put them back in the right place, but if the waffles have already defrosted, then yuck. That's food wasted. When I worked at Michael's during Christmas, this was always a huge problem, especially since that store carries such small items. We'd find things everywhere and then spend an hour putting it all back. Oh, and in clothing stores, don't even get me started. Why people leave piles and piles of clothes that they tried on in the dressing room, instead of putting them back on the rack marked "returns" is beyond me. It's five extra steps people. I don't have room to put my purse on this shelf in here while I try on a pair of jeans because you were too lazy to put something back. You don't have to take it all the way back to where you picked it up...just to that rack.
  4. If I break it, spill it, knock it over, or crack it, I let someone know. The employees will want to clean it up now, instead of waiting until seventeen carts have tracked through that grape jelly you spilled. Or that black stain you knocked over. I promise you, they want to get it now.
  5. If the sign says "have your money ready" then HAVE YOUR MONEY READY. Did you not know you were going through a drive-thru? Come on, I'm in a hurry too! That's why I didn't go inside.
  6. Yes, cashiers get paid to stand there and take your money, but they always appreciate nice customers. Aren't you glad when you get a nice cashier? The same is true in reverse...they'll be happy they had such a nice customer. And if you are nice, then it's easy to ask if they can bag your bananas separately from your squash.

I know that there are people that get paid to take care of most of this stuff, but in this economy where companies are laying people off, and 10 people are doing the work of 15, I can help out a little. I can. It takes very little time, and it may go unnoticed, but I feel good when I am respectful of other people's time as well. If you've worked in a store, or a restaurant then you know of what I write.

Living our lives thinking of others is an accessible goal. Serving others. I can do these small things.

I can do these small things.


Juli said...

Very nicely said. I worked retail years ago. Another one is get off the phone. Are you so important that you need to have that thing hanging from your ear 24/7. Get off the phone and give the clerk the same attention you expect from her. On the flip side of that, there is nothing worse than a rude clerk. I expect a hello, a little conversation, eye contact maybe and a thank you for shopping with us (paying my paycheck). I hate it when I go to a store and never get acknowledged by the clerk because she is too busy yacking with a fellow employee, usually complaining about a customer or her job. Hello, you don't discuss such things on the sales floor. If you don't like your job, get a new one. If you didn't care for a customer, keep it to yourself. If you feel you need to complain about it do it in the back room where the customers can't hear you. Don't stuff my change at me. Put the coins in my hand first, then the bills on top. Count it back to me. In this day of automation I don't think half of the clerks out there have a clue how much change you are due if the register doesn't tell them let alone count it back to you. I know this as I have several times tried to tell the clerk she has given me to much change. After numerous attempts to explain it I usually just give up and drop the extra change into a charity collection can. I can usually manage to overlook most of these things if the clerk is just polite and tells me to have a nice day. Thanks for your post. I was beginning to think it was just me.

Alison said...

I think those high school years spent working at McDonalds taught me a thing or two about kindness to retail employees.
I'm always polite. Even when I don't want to be.

I also always know what I want to order before I step up to the counter. If I don't, I let someone go ahead of me until I figure it out.

And YES, people should walk on the right side of the aisle. The retirees in their little scooters at the commissary parked in the middle of the aisle drive me bananas.

Lula! said...

This is my new favorite from you...brilliant, Sissy. And hilarious.

I'm quite certain my mansion will have just a few more gold bricks because I have always faithfully returned my buggy before leaving the parking lot. EVEN WHEN IT'S RAINING! Surely God will reward such goodness...don't you think???

Anonymous said...

I posted pictures for you, dear! -hunnybee

Bird, Frizzy and Our Little Yaya said...

I've done my time in retail and fast food. Oh how I agree with all that you said! HERE HERE!

Esther said...

Yes, I've been a "checkout chick" as a teenager and was always glad for some customer patience and civility, especially when it's busy. Even though I can get impatient now when there aren't enough fast checkouts available, I know it's not the cashiers fault and they're just trying their best.
I always make sure I say thank you in a pleasant voice to show I appreciate what they have to do.

Rona's Home Page said...

I'm another former retail person. My husband will get on me for picking up clothes and rehanging them. lol

Heather said...

I always bring a cart in from the outside too. Especially if it's snowy outside.