I thought I’d bring something a bit more light-hearted and amusing onto the blog today. It’s been just over a year since I was signed off as too unwell to work and as much as there are a lot of things I miss about working, there are also a lot of things I do not. One of them being the occasional really odd interactions with rude and irrational customers. Here are some of my absolute worst customer service experiences whilst working in retail…
So I’m doing a stock replenish out the back of the store and it’s only me and another member of staff in. They were of course on shop floor when the door opens and they ask if I can grab them a mop and bucket filled with soapy water. My first thought is a product spillage or something similar. I take the mop and bucket out to a child vomiting, on our shop floor. (I also have a phobia of vomit to the point I will avoid you if you tell me you even feel so much as a tiny bit queasy, so no matter what happened, I was NOT cleaning this up). Anyway, kids vomit, can’t be helped. But the mum literally just carried on shopping and trying to talk to my colleague about products whilst just letting her child vomit everywhere. Didn’t bother trying to help her clean it up, didn’t bother removing her child from the shop. Barely so much as checked if the kid was alright.
She then acknowledged it, said ‘oh I think he’s had too much of his juice’. THEN PROCEEDS TO WIPE HIS MOUTH AND GIVE HIM MORE JUICE???? I bet you can guess what happens next, the child carries on vomiting. Whilst the mum continues enquiring about products. So half the store is covered in child vomit and her kid is clearly pretty damn unwell but she is more interested in face cream. Oh and to make it worse, she ended up buying a few things and then returning all of them a few days later. Luckily she was child-free when she came back to return them though.
I suppose this isn’t so much as a bad experience, just a rude encounter. A woman came to my till when I was serving and everything was fine until she spotted my tattoos. She decided to tell me that her son had just gotten married to a “tattooed woman” (obviously we are a different species as her nose wrinkled as she said it). She then thought it appropriate to tell me that said woman looked awful in her wedding dress and it was because of her tattoos. Thanks hun, appreciate the compliment.
Having multiple offers on instore can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare. Customers like to think they can mix and match whatever they want which obviously is never the case. There was a gentleman who came in once around Christmas, clearly looking to buy gifts. He approached me, told me what it was he was looking to buy and asked what offers were on those products. At that time, we had two offers on instore which were 3 for 2 and buy one get one half price. He wanted to purchase 2 products that were in the 3 for 2 offer, which I told him.
Instead of doing the normal humane thing and saying, “Great thanks, I’ll pick up another then”, he told me he wanted the buy one get one half price offer instead. After explaining that those products were not available in that offer, he decided to then take a different route and start arguing with me that the offers were “exactly the same anyway”. A good 10 minutes or so of me trying to put across that they were not in fact the same offer later, I had to pass him over to a colleague before I ripped every last hair out of my head. He really could not grasp that buy one get one half price was essentially 4 for 3. Of course because he was a man that was slightly older than me, he thought he was completely superior to me. He clearly knew more than an individual who worked 5 DAYS A WEEK in the store. The customer is not always right, FYI.
Another one at the checkout. I was serving a couple who I’d say were probably in their mid 60’s. Both really nice and jolly, just paying for a few things. Everything was normal until the gentleman said I had a nice smile, which was fine, I thanked him. But he then got out his phone and started taking photos of me. He didn’t ask, just started snapping away. I asked him to stop it but he didn’t listen. He then turned around and started taking selfies of him in the photo with me. Then said, “I can’t wait to put these on Facebook and tell everyone you’re my new girlfriend”.
At which point, I was beyond overwhelmed and extremely anxious about the situation. I looked over at his wife who was glaring at ME. ME!!!?? She didn’t say a word for the rest of the transaction. I honestly had no idea what to say or do and they paid and left. Now some random man has photos of me on his phone and I could be on his Facebook…
I hope you’re getting some pleasure out of my misery but of course I had to ask some others to talk about their customer service experiences too! Here are a few peoples stories who were happy to share them with me and all of you…
“The store I work in is quite close to a Wetherspoons so we get the odd drunk customer. I was on the department on my own one night, tidying up the aisles. A drunk old man came up to me and he was really sleazy. Complimenting me and asking personal questions. I tried to be polite about it but then he asked if I had a boyfriend. I said yes (we’ve been together almost 6 years) and he said “does he work here too, love?”. I said no and he replied, “What does he do? I’ll fight him for you, I can take him on.” I said “Hmm, I’m not sure if you can since he’s a police officer” and no joke, the man BOLTED out of the store.” – Amy, Wales.
“I was helping an elderly man with his shopping. He was probably in his early 70’s and was a bit wobbly on his feet. Like the good little sales assistant I am, I helped him grab a few items off the shelves, checked it all out and packed it up. He asked me to help him to his car with his bags. As the shop was empty, I agreed. He seemed like a nice old man and we could see his car from the shop window so it wasn’t a problem. That was until he grabbed my arm for support about halfway there. It wasn’t an issue but took me by surprise a bit. He could obviously sense that I wasn’t expecting it so he reassured me… by saying “don’t worry I won’t rape you”. If I didn’t feel uneasy before I CERTAINLY did now. Again, sensing my discomfort he repeated himself before I could load his bags and run.” – GraceBee
“I work in an underwear store and one day while I was working in the changing rooms, two women came over with some items to try on. English wasn’t their first language but one of them was pretty fluent so she translated for the other, let’s call her A. A wanted to try on some items so I let her into the fitting room. Before she goes in, she rubs my face and tells me I have a beautiful smile and I’m already thinking what the f***. I say thanks and she goes into the room, only she doesn’t close the curtain. She proceeds to change into the items whilst also posing against the wall and pushing her bum out. I just ignored her and got in with my work but then she called me over.
She started asking me about how she looks and what I think and I just say the outfits great, you should buy it and tried to move on. She’s not having any of it and her friend is translating for her asking me what I think while she shows me her thighs and grabs at her tummy a little. Then trying to gesture that she had kids by making some sort of movement coming out of her… lets just say private area. I just laughed it off and they laughed too. Then they asked me to go pick out some hosiery and tell me what they like so I go and grab a few pieces and bring them back. I picked 3 different sets and as I’m showing them, she asks me to choose one. I looked down at the boxes and she guides my face back to her and starts posing again asking me to look at her and choose. I’m thinking I’m so done with this so I pick a random one and give it to her. She thanks me and rubs my face again so I walked off.
She changes back into her clothes and comes out of the changing room. Before they leave, A tried to hand me money. I refused and said they need to pay at the till but they kept saying it was for me. I told them I couldn’t take it. So A hugs me, reaches around and puts the money in my back pocket. She had a good feel whilst she was at it, kisses my cheek and then left. My co-worker saw and asked if I wanted to call security and I refused as there was no point as she was leaving anyway. I went back to fixing clothes thinking I was safe. 2 minutes later, she returns with her translating friend who tells me that A has a new business in Ireland. She wanted me to come and work for her as a “manager” and get paid really well. i just kept saying that I already have a job here and that I’m fine. Eventually they gave up and she hugs me again, kisses my other cheek and finally leaves.” – Sam, Ireland.
Yikes! People can really be awful and not know any boundaries. What’s been your worst customer service experience?