Ah yes, retail. Safe to say it’s hell on Earth at times and, by that, I mean it’s the working equivalent of living with Satan. As if dealing with horrible people or those who can’t control their offspring isn’t bad enough, you are their slave for a few hours from when you sign/clock in, to when the store closes at the end of a rather hectic day.
Also, because I’m a retail worker, I could be walking round another shop I don’t work in, find something out of place and actually put it back because other people haven’t bothered to put it back in the right place, and I’m about to unleash hell on everything else that winds me up about my own work. I DO love it but there are still some things that drive me crackers and anyone who has ever worked in retail will probably relate to one or more of the following annoyances.
Anyway, here goes…
Now, most people who know me will know that I’m not the world’s tidiest person, but I do try to make a point of keeping things tidy at work, and things out of place, mess all over the floor (see also Primark shoppers), things hanging in the fitting room (usually inside out – WHY?!), stuff not folded properly or just chucked back over the rails/till (again, see also Primark shoppers) and general untidiness in the shop makes me mad. Is it really so hard to put clothes back on hangers the right way round or pick your rubbish up off the floor after you’ve dropped it? I’ve lost count of the number of things I’ve picked up off the floor, the amount of times I’ve bent down to pick rubbish up off the floor or tried to sweep it up with our (actually quite naff) brush, the number of things spilt all over the floor and I’ve mopped up and the amount of times I’ve been round with a wallpaper scraper scraping up bits of dropped and stood-in chewing gum. If you’re going to chew gum, don’t spit it all over the floor! That’s just disgusting! Put it in a hanky and pop it into the nearest bin. Thank you.
002: People putting books/media in the wrong places.
This ties in with the previous one, and I touched up on it a little in my ‘bookish pet peeves’ post, but I thought I’d add media into this too as, recently, I’ve had the misfortune of finding media that isn’t supposed to be out for sale (i.e. pirate copies of CDs/DVDs and even boxes with the wrong disc in), then there are the members of staff who decide it’s a good idea NOT to put our shop CDs back in the correct boxes (or worse, not putting them back in the box at all), then whinge that the CD is jumping. Here’s a tip: put it back in the box then it won’t get scratched and start jumping! It really winds me up having to change the music every five minutes because a) the CDs are knackered or b) the CD has been stuck on an endless loop for the last few hours and it’s driving me round the bend (more on that later). As for the books, if you’re going to look at them, please put them back in the right place. Would you just stick them in willy-nilly in WHSmiths or Waterstones? No, probably not. They’re in order for a reason, and that reason is to make the shop look a bit more presentable. It doesn’t look good if the books have just been shoved back in a random place. Which leads me on to…
003: Rubbish music stuck on a never-ending loop.
When I first started working in the charity shop I still work at, we had a CD donated in and, as we didn’t sell media/books at the time, the original manager kept it for the shop. Unfortunately, it was an Atomic Kitten CD, and it was playing all day, every day, and driving everyone crackers, so he eventually brought in an iPod… but even some of the music on that annoyed the hell out of me. When he left a few months later, he took the iPod with him, so we now have a never-ending collection of CDs for the shop floor but I usually take my own music with me as most of the music we have is enough to drive me scatty, especially when the same CD is played ALL DAY. I mean, come on, I like Queen, Michael Jackson and George Ezra, but there’s only so much of them I can take before I want to take the CD out of the player and chuck it out of the nearest window!
004: Rude customers/staff.
Picture the scene: you’re going about your business trying to keep the shop tidy and putting things back where they’re supposed to be when, suddenly, some random irate woman, who you don’t know from Eve, starts getting wound up that you’re following her and touching things that she’s just touched and she starts shouting, ranting, raving and carrying on so loudly that the entire shop hears it and every other customer in the shop asks you if you’re OK as you’re walking away to get away from said irate woman. Well that’s what happened to me a few days ago. I was only trying to do my job and this stupid woman just started having a go at me for no apparent reason. I was tidying up our children’s section and I had to move away from her before I started kicking off myself. If you’re going to be like that with me, I’ll get my manager onto you next time. Silly cow! Another example of blatant rudeness was when I was working in my other shop a few months ago. A young lad started messing around with a buzz-wire thing we had as a competition for one of our special events, so we let him have a go, but not before his obviously-irate mother started shouting (complete with effing and jeffing) at our manager. It’s one thing having a go at me, and I’m only a volunteer, but to have a go at the manager is quite another. Get out of the shop before she throws you out. Oh, and next time you dint a paid member of staff’s car, please apologise. It’s called courtesy. And another thing, I’m not going to serve you if you’re gas-bagging on your phone about your personal problems to your Auntie Pat. I don’t need to know about them, I’m trying to serve you. Please get off the phone and take your conversation outside. Thank you. As for rude staff, this annoys me even more than the aforementioned rude customers. In almost every workplace I’ve been in, there’s always been at least one person who, for some reason, just didn’t get on with me and has been a bit rude to me for whatever reason, and it winds me up. There was one particular incident towards the back end of last year. I was standing towards the back of the shop keeping an eye on our fitting rooms, as both were occupied at the time, and one woman (let’s call her another silly cow for the sake of argument) who used to work there asked me, in the rudest way possible, whether I was just going to ‘fucking stand there’ (her words) and, as I’d already been wound up earlier in the day, it got to the point where I was driven to tears (honestly, I told someone I was going to the loo and ended up sitting there for the next half an hour or so crying my eyes out). This was also the same silly cow who used to tell me how to run my own department and tell me that I’d always priced books wrong (who’s running this department again?) before proceeding to price them herself at a much higher price, to which I pulled the stickers off and re-priced them MY way (HA!) and also once accused me of swearing on the shop floor (I have accidentally let out a few S-bombs before now but I hadn’t on this occasion but she needed someone to ‘take it out on’ – bitch!) though, thankfully, this particular silly cow no longer works there, which is good because nobody liked her anyway. She wasn’t just rude to me, she was also rude to one or two paid members of staff, so good riddance if you want my opinion. And then there was the time I was sacked from a volunteering job in another charity shop because another silly cow thought I was being rude to her (when, in fact, it was the other way round – for the record, I was quoting something from the newspaper, and she went crying to the manager who sent me packing later that day. This particular shop no longer exists anyway). If you’re going to be rude to other members of staff or customers, I wouldn’t bother coming back. We don’t need you if you’re going to be rude. It really isn’t necessary.
005: Customers who ask stupid questions.
Another thing that really puffles my jigglies are the customers who come in purely to do just this. Allow me elaborate further:
- “Do you work here?” *cue eye roll and flashing my work lanyard in the customers face* No, love, I just wear this lanyard and badge with my company’s name all over it for the hell of it…
- “Do you have a fitting room?” It’s at the back of the shop.
- “Can I go downstairs?” Nope. Staff only.
- “Do you have a loo I can use?” Again, staff only.
- “Do you have a bin?” Behind the till. Oh, and please empty your cups/bottles before you chuck it. They are liable to leak all over the floor.
- “Why is everything in here so expensive? You’re a charity shop!” Yes, that may be, but we’re also a boutique, and some items are high-end designer goods. We also sell brand-new stock as ‘end-of-line’ from shops that no longer sell them or if the place has shut down, so don’t complain.
- “Can I have some money off this item? It’s damaged.” No. We’re a charity shop, not a charity case. Items are priced accordingly so, if something’s got a slight stain on it, or is slightly ripped, we already knock a bit off the price. It would have been higher had it been decent quality. Same with the sale items. They’re on sale for a reason. Oh, and trying to haggle will get you nowhere. The answer is still a firm NO.
- “How much is this?” *rolls eyes* Check the bloody price tag!
- *customer wobbles to the door at 5.50pm whilst I’m about to shut up shop* “Are you still open?” Considering we close at 6pm, I’d say no.
…and so on and so forth. Oh, and regarding the question as to whether I work there or not, I’ve even had silly customers ask me that whilst I’m sorting stuff out behind the till counter or whilst looking for a notebook to write down what stock I need to put out to save writing on the back of my hand. What do you think I’m doing behind there, robbing the place?! Silly billies!
006: Machinery breaking down.
Mainly the till, though anything that plugs in (such as the steamer, the sorting room computer, CD players and Henry the Red) has its moments too. Our computer broke down completely the other week, which isn’t good when you have Gift Aid items to process, and the shop floor till is always a bit temperamental, especially when I’m using it. Why is it always me it breaks down on? Argh!
007: Stinky customers.
Urgh, I’ve had so many customers with bad breath or even worse body odour (usually those who’ve had one too many alcoholic drinks) coming up to me over the years – and, most of the time, they make me want to gag. Is it really SO HARD to find some deodorant to use? Or maybe you could even BUY some? It’s only a quid from the pound shop for God’s sake – that’s hardly going to break the bank is it? Having to walk around the shop armed with a can of air freshener is not a good thing. Please have the decency to freshen up a bit before you come into the shop. Thank you.
008: Personal items going missing.
Another thing that winds me up is, when you accidentally leave things behind at work, it seems to grow a pair of legs and walk out of the shop. And it’s actually happened to me to the point where I’ve resorted to putting my name on things I take in for the day, usually cups and music, especially as I have a habit of being a bit forgetful. A rather nice camera lens mug I had (I initially picked it up from work for a couple of quid after falling in love with it) went missing the other day, which the manager replaced, and I’ve even had CDs go missing or be put out for sale after leaving them behind. Here’s a tip: if it’s been left in the staff room with the rest of the staff saves, it quite obviously belongs to member of staff and, if it isn’t yours, don’t use it! Oh, and if it looks like cups/plates/cutlery etc. don’t need washing up, DON’T WASH THEM! I must have taken my mug out of the communal sink three times the other day even after I told various people that it didn’t need washing out as it was already washed and I hadn’t used it. And that bothered me somewhat.
009: People not bothering to adhere to notices.
One more thing that bothers me is, nine times out of ten, people (namely members of staff) just stick stuff in various orifices willy-nilly even when there’s a notice telling them to leave stuff as they find it or still using stuff in the fridge when it isn’t theirs (I’ve been guilty of the latter before now but I’ve since learned my lesson). If it says ‘FICTION/NON-FICTION ONLY’, ‘PLEASE LEAVE CDs AS YOU FIND THEM’ or ‘PLEASE KEEP THE TILL AREA TIDY’, then DO IT! It drives me crazy having to tidy everything up every five minutes because some pillock has just shoved everything back in wherever they feel like it. Also, if there’s a note on the fridge that says ‘IF IT ISN’T YOURS THEN DON’T EAT IT’, then don’t eat what isn’t yours unless someone else says you can have it. Please adhere to notices so I don’t have to remind you to keep everything neat and tidy. Thank you.
010: Black Friday.
Can we just leave the Yanks to fight it out for stuff and not do this over here? What on Earth do you want to start queuing for at 4am in the morning? Are you mental?
And that’s about it! Do you have any other retail (or general work) annoyances? Did I miss anything out? Let me know in the comments below.
PS: My next blog post (hopefully sometime in the next week or so when I’ve finished typing it out) will be a full review of all 43* songs from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, so look out for that.
(*or 42 if Russia decide to pull out. At the time of writing, the problem between their singer and Ukraine’s ban on her still hasn’t been resolved.)
PPS: Happy April Fool’s Day!