4.13.2018

Day 11: The basics of shopping

Welcome to 12 Days of Retail. My last day (for real this time) at Old Navy is quickly approaching and this series serves as a sort of wrap-up to my time there. I've rounded up the worst customer offenses into 12 general categories. Some are truly terrible and some are relatively minor, but together they cover almost everything that is terrible about working retail, in my ten years of experience.

In my ten years at Old Navy, I've encountered some truly baffling things. Most days, things are pretty normal. But sometimes I have to wonder if people have ever shopped before. I'm going to go through a few of them—I've blogged about all of these before, so this will be a little bit of a greatest hits. Some of these are total one-offs and some are unfortunately more regularly-occurring than you might think.

1) The woman who asked me if I could give her a discount because she had cancer

Dude. Do you guys remember this one? She wanted me to give her a discount because the employee she had dealt with the day before hadn't told her that the sale was ending (lol, as if we are supposed to tell that information to every customer we come across) and then decided to take another course of action and argued that I should give her the discount because she had cancer. AND THEN made me ask my manager and made sure I had told him she had cancer.

2) People who don't know that you need to know and enter your social security number in order to sign up for a card

This happens so often and it's exhausting. I kind of wish the entering your social security number step was first in the credit card signup process because of the high amount of people who back out at that step. I don't know if it's a problem of people not understanding that it's a credit card (I say "if you're approved" in my pitch, so it should be clear) or if it's that it's the first card they've ever applied for so they don't know it involves your social security number (nothing I can do with this one) but it is super annoying.

3) People who truly don't understand what sales are

When you are shopping for an item of clothing, the original price is on the tag. If an item is on sale, there will be a sign on the rack or table that the item is on indicating what the sale is. That doesn't change the price that's on the tag. That's literally what a sale is. If an item is on clearance, then the tag will be changed. Different stores are different about this, yes, but in general, normal sales are not marked on the tag because they go up and down all the time. I've had people come up to me and genuinely ask, "Hey I'm sorry, can you tell me all the prices on these? Because like ... the tags say one price but then the signs on the tables say something else. I don't get it." 

4) People who don't understand coupon date ranges

I know that some stores aren't strict about their coupon date ranges. For instance, you can use expired coupons at Bed Bath and Beyond. But we are not that. When we scan an expired coupon, the system is like, "Hey hi, what are you doing? No." People often get annoyed about us not being able to use old coupons, but the most ridiculous thing that happened along these lines was the woman who literally didn't know what day it was and thought she could use a coupon that wasn't good for another month.

5) The woman who was looking for a very specific shirt but described it in a very, very vague way

When I'm helping you find an item and it's something very specific, maybe tell me that it's something very specific and don't pretend it's something very general. Super weird, made no sense, left everyone feeling confused. 0/10 do not shop again. 

6) Abnormally tall people who expect us to carry their size in store

This might fall a little more closely under the category of people wanting us to change things we have no control over, but like, dude. If you're nearly seven feet tall, we're not going to have your size in store. I understand that it sucks, but sometimes you just need to accept life the way it is.

7) People who buy far too many flip flops for their dumb weddings

This one is pretty specific but has actually happened a number of times. People buy far more flip flops than they need for their dumb weddings. I don't know where the block happens that causes them to think every single person at their wedding is going to want to change into flip flops, but it's just never ever ever the case. Never. 

This one happens multiple times every day. Learn how to troubleshoot daily items! Seriously, what kind of person doesn't know to scribble a pen around a little bit to get it to work? It obviously doesn't work every time, but it should definitely be the first thing you do, before announcing to me that it just doesn't work. I can't even fully explain this one because it makes me so mad.

9) The woman who genuinely didn't understand she could sign up for a new email address if she wanted to

Like the cancer story, this is a true one-off. I had a conversation with a woman in which she realized, as if it was a revelation, that she could sign up for a new email address if she wanted to. I don't know if she hadn't thought about the fact that they were free, or if she thought she could only have one email address per provider or what, but I feel like I did her a huge favor that day.

10) People who can't figure out how to apply online
I'm sorry, but if you can't figure out how to submit an online application, you don't deserve to work at the store. And you should take this as a good life lesson, because if an employer's application is too complicated to figure out, you shouldn't want to work for them.

Today's pro-tip: I don't even know, man, just be a normal human?

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