At some point in their working life, almost everybody does time behind the counter. And if they don’t, maybe they should. We should all know what it’s like on the other side of the cash register, so we have a little empathy. Barring that, some retail veterans got on Ask Reddit to share some details about what it’s really like to move merch and help customers.
1. It’s an environmental horror show.
I worked in a clothes store for years and when delivery arrived every single item had to be unwrapped. A pair of socks, jeans, a pair of £3 earrings etc., every last thing comes in a plastic sealed bag. We’d throw away enough rubbish to fill a huge dumpster easily before the store even opened every day
2. They hate asking for your club card as much as you hate being asked for it.
We HAVE to ask if you have our “X” card. Managers are often discreetly observing transactions and writing up little feedback cards. We’ll lose our jobs if we keep skipping that question and we dislike asking as much as you dislike being asked.
3. When you threaten to go somewhere else…that’s fine.
That we aren’t hiding merchandise from the consumer. I work at Home Depot and ppl seem to think that by saying “I’ll just go to Lowe’s then!” means it’ll magically appear in the store for purchase. And on top of that, your declaration of taking your business elsewhere doesn’t affect us the way you want it to. I’m not gonna throw myself at your feet and beg that you stay and apologize with tears in my eyes because we don’t have any more 100w daylight light bulbs. If you can find it at Lowe’s then get it there.
4. Who the best and most unlikely shoplifters are.
I know someone who works for Walgreens and they say that it would shock you the number of little old grandmas who will just straight up grab shit off of the shelf, throw it in their purse, and walk right the fuck on out of there without a single sideways glance.
All the employees are allowed to do is go up to them and ask if they can help them with anything to try to make them uncomfortable enough to stop.
5. Do they have that in another size “in the back”?
IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK IT’S NOT IN THE BACK
6. Okay, but there is a “back,” but you don’t want what’s back there.
Every year at Christmas time , especially the last two weeks before, we empty out the back room of all the shit that wouldn’t sell all year long and watch the desperate crazies buy it
7. (Off) branded content.
Ok, trying to provide an actual secret. A lot of store brand items are actually name brands in different packages. I used to work for Walmart and great value milk was actually Land O Lakes milk, Sam’s choice pizza was actually freschetta, and I believe great value bread was made by Sara Lee. It all depends on where the store is and which company will give them the better deal, but store brand is usually as good as a mid quality name brand.
8. They’re watching you…and they know you’re broke.
Worked 10 years in retail. Our loss prevention team profiles you. Teenagers, especially in groups, are watched the entire time they’re in the store. You are economically profiled, if you look like trailer trash or a gangster or just shit broke, there’s a camera on you the whole time.
9. Your money’s no good here.
We actually like when you use your credit/debit card instead of cash. No matter how big the purchase.
10. We all look the same.
“I was here last week and you helped me with…”
“uh… I wear a name tag because when I’m here I can’t remember my own name, why would I remember you? “
11. It’s like a rule, and it’s golden. Some kind of “Golden Rule,” if you will.
If you are nice, I will give you whatever coupon I have. If you demand I give you a discount, said coupon does not exist.
12. You can blame “studies” for how they’re always playing “Hey Soul Sister”
Music plays over the speakers because studies have found that shoppers spend more time in the store when music is playing versus less time spent in the store when there is no background music.
13. Check, please? No thanks.
When I see you break out a checkbook I am swearing voodoo curses at you in my brain.
14. The manager will think you’re being a jerk, too.
Most complaints you make to managers will be basically dealt with as “oh some customer complained about you but he seemed like a prick so I’m not concerned.”
15. “Please fill out our customer satisfaction survey…and shower us in praise.”
All the customer surveys only count positively if you say you are 100% satisfied. I.e. If the questions ask from 1-10, 1 being not satisfied and 10 being satisfied how would you rate “blank”. If it is not all tens then it counts against us. We only get reported the % of highly satisfied, and are penalized harshly if monthly numbers are low.
In short, unless the person serving you was an ass, then just give them top scores every time.
16. It’s all designed to mess with you.
The entire supermarket ‘experience’ is designed with the intention of making you spend more time and more money inside the store. The lighting (real and artificial), the sounds, the smells, the temperature, the layout, the depth of the baskets/trollies, the position of certain items in the store, the height at which certain items are displayed… nothing is accidental.
17. Wait, you…you don’t?
We don’t actually care if you found what you wanted