When I am not planning a world take over whilst running around after my own tail, I work part time in a shop. The lovely world of retail. I worked in retail 20 years ago and its so different now. Its not what it use to be. But then I don’t think customers are what they use to be.
So I thought I would shed some light on life on the other side of the till. Its not all glamour and twinkles I can tell you.
There are two things no assistant is ever far from. Hand sanitizer and air freshener. Handling money fast losses its glamour when you see some of the hands that pass it over the counter to you. Especially when you witness nose picking and other delights. And air freshener because not everyone indulges in a shower daily or realises how much alcohol and tobacco actually stinks. And don’t get me started on the recreational tobacco. The other thing assistants have to do a lot is smile. We smile when we are happy, when customers are happy and when we don’t feel like smiling.
To help things a long I thought I would provide a handy cheat sheet for customers.
If you just sneezed or coughed into your hand or picked you nose and then reach into your pocket or purse to hand us money we may look at you a bit funny. Money is one of the dirtiest things out there. Please stop and think how many germs your passing on to the assistant and everyone else.
If when you just left a shop you hear the sound of air freshener being liberally sprayed you might want to consider your hygiene habits. If you’ve not washed, drunk too much, smoked anything legal or illegal take note,no amount of perfume or mints covers it. That’s it. You may think you smell all minty but you dont.
We are not mind readers. If you have had a crap day there isn’t really any reason why you take your crappy day out on those that serve. We are still standing their smiling our little tootsies off when we have a crap day. Its polite to say please and thank you and not just shove money across a counter with no words uttered at all. You’d soon be complaining if we did it to you.
When you approach us at the till or in the store we are usually eager little bunnies to help you. We stop what we are doing and help or serve you. Would it be right that we ignored you or talked on the phone to someone else the whole time? You, the customer, would get irritated and complain to whoever you could that the service you received was rubbish. You’d expect an apology and/or compensation of some sort. But yet as assistants, despite notices polity asking, we have to serve customers who carry out the whole transaction whilst they are on the phone continuing their conversation.
I’m not completely naive that all assistants are like my colleges and I. There are shops that don’t know how to train their staff and customers receive shabby service but I can only save one world at a time.
Do you work in retail and have any others to add?