...to wonder why some people treat sales assistants badly?

(164 Posts)
98percentchocolate Sun 26-Jul-15 21:26:03

I've worked in retail for about 10 years off and on (through uni) and now work a couple of hours a week whilst I'm a SAHM.

I'm always polite and friendly, and most people are lovely, but occasionally I have some...memorable... Moments.

This week somebody threw something at my face because they tried to queue jump and I wouldn't serve them first. I was very nice about it and very apologetic but still had something thrown at me.

I've also been called "stupid" and "thick" (I'm really not), have had people refuse to speak to me AT ALL (happens very often actually), snatching, snapping...

I'm not alone either, it happens very often. I've seen people physically assault my colleagues before over the smallest things.

So really, I'm just wondering what sparks it? I'm sure nobody will actually admit to being somebody that would throw something at a sales assistant, but I'm just really interested in the psychology behind it.

AnyoneForTennis Sun 26-Jul-15 21:32:54

I've seen some of my colleagues physically assaulted also

This week alone ive caught 3 lots of shoplifters attempting to shoplift trolleyfulls of goods.

Then you get the demanding ones.... I never go the extra mile for those....

I really do think people enter our stores believing we are here to serve them their every little whim.

EatDessertFirst Sun 26-Jul-15 21:33:03

Some people are just vile, ill mannered fuckwits. I've seen a lot of them in my retail/catering employment. Some people thunk they will get what they want by abusing customer-facing staff. In fact, the opposite is true wherever I have worked. I've learnt to pity them instead of getting upset. How horrid must their lives be that they feel the need to abuse strangers?

I've also found that the naice people with the most money have the most revolting attitudes.

Hold your head up high OP. And smile at them because it winds them up more wink.

Salmotrutta Sun 26-Jul-15 21:38:38

Because some people are arses.

And like to think they are better that shop workers/waiting staff etc.

Can't abide seeing customers treat shop or waiting staff badly - we saw it on holiday recently. Folk snapping at waiting staff and treating them like crap.

Years ago I did bar and waitressing jobs as a student etc. and I took sly pleasure in pretending to not notice folk who snapped their fingers to get my attention. A small victory but satisfying.

bertsdinner Sun 26-Jul-15 21:41:56

Because they are mean little bullies and they know the shop assistant can't answer back.
I used to have a Saturday/university holiday job at a well known retailer, to be honest, most customers were ok but some were vile.
I was once serving an incredibley rude man, and a couple of my "regular" customers in the queue came to my defence and had a go at him. He quickly scurried off when he had to deal with people who could have a go back.

ollieplimsoles Sun 26-Jul-15 21:43:04

I loved been a sale assistant generally, I love retail and worked in clothes shops since I was 16.

Over the years ive been sworn at, pushed, and my colleagues have been verbally and physically assaulted.

The best story I have is, we discovered the morning cleaning staff had been stealing from the store as they were leaving one morning (searched them and their bags were full of merch). So we had all three of them marched off the premises in front of customers with security and police in tow.
They were sacked, but the next week one of them in and did a poo in one of the fitting rooms (caught on cctv and she left a note next to it confused ) she 'wiped' with an expensive piece of stock too..

The day after another one of them came in and set fire to a display of children's clothes, whole store had to be evacuated.

Some good times...

steff13 Sun 26-Jul-15 21:43:37

Because some people are jerks.

98percentchocolate Sun 26-Jul-15 21:43:46

Yy to not going the extra mile. My colleague was going as fast as she could for someone the other day whikst putting their things through the till and customer shouted "faster, faster, could you be any slower? For gods sake, this is ridiculous" more than once. After the first occasion my colleague took her time.

I've learned to smile and ignore now.

ollieplimsoles Sun 26-Jul-15 21:44:12

As for not answering back... I ALWAYS answered back to a bullshit customer, and my manager backed me up to! grin

ShipShapeAhoy Sun 26-Jul-15 21:45:24

I think it's because they are cocks.

I once had a woman tell me she was better than me because she was a lecturer. She said that, in those words, for no reason whatsoever.

I had a lot of male city boy types treat me like I was worthless scum.

I don't work in retail anymore - strangely kind of miss it though!

98percentchocolate Sun 26-Jul-15 21:45:57

Ollie shock

98percentchocolate Sun 26-Jul-15 21:46:17

(to the cleaners!)

ShipShapeAhoy Sun 26-Jul-15 21:47:02

Eurgh Ollie! envy

Icantbelieveitsnotbutter Sun 26-Jul-15 21:50:06

I had a woman get in my face and scream at me.

I've had pensioners push in the queue and kick off when I tell them to get to the back.

I've had people banging on the door demanding to be let in at closing time. When I've said no they have rang my boss and complained.

The list goes on..

CainInThePunting Sun 26-Jul-15 21:54:02

I have never felt there was the need for me to be verbally or physically aggressive with a sales assistant.

If I ever felt I was not getting good service I would just leave the premises.

I cannot imagine staying in a shop where I was so annoyed I felt the need to be abusive.

AnyoneForTennis Sun 26-Jul-15 21:54:24

Yes. When other customers pull them on their crappy behaviour it's so funny to watch them shrink back.

CigarsofthePharoahs Sun 26-Jul-15 21:55:55

Why are people rude to wait staff? THEY CAN SPIT IN YOUR FOOD!
I have spent 10 wearisome years in retail. I have been treated as less than human quite a lot.
Here's a tip - if you want good service, be a good customer! Start off by being nice and you're much more likely to get help. Start of by being rude and confrontational? Well you'll either get no help at all or the member of staff in question might just wipe that item you sent them to look for on their arse before they give it to you.
Not something I have done, but I have seen it.
I have also been accused of ruining someone's Christmas as we were our of stock of a certain item. Well, if you leave your Christmas shopping till Christmas eve, what do you expect?

Icantbelieveitsnotbutter Sun 26-Jul-15 21:57:12

I've had people in the queue kick off saying if they're in a hurry hmm

I have certain customers who give me a list at the till and expect me to run around and get everything for them. I can't if I have a queue.

Half the time it's only me working in the shop.

seastargirl Sun 26-Jul-15 21:57:32

I think I saw some of the worst behaviour I've even seen when working in the food hall at m & s on Christmas eve. People were actually fighting over sprouts!

Shetland Sun 26-Jul-15 22:02:33

I worked in catering for years and I don't miss it one bit.
Young guys on (what appeared to be) first or second dates were often the worst - I can't imagine why they thought being rude and obnoxious would impress their date.

I like to think it the most insecure people that do this as they perceive shop assistants/waiting staff etc to be beneath them and clearly feeling superior isn't something they get to feel very often.

I 'burnt out' in the end - I'd go home and be utterly unable to let go of whatever shit I'd been on the receiving end of that shift - I got really stressed out. I got out before someone ended up wearing their dinner. Best thing I ever did.

98percentchocolate Sun 26-Jul-15 22:29:47

Shetland - I feel like I'm at the beginning of the burn out now. After years of being treated as worth less than others it begins to chip away at your confidence. Most I can shrug off, but every now and again something sticks in your mind and can stay with you for a very long time.

Most of the time I try to counter rudeness with being extra nice, in the hope that just once somebody will think back later and realise they could have been a bit nicer. I can but dream!

jeanmiguelfangio Sun 26-Jul-15 22:41:38

I used to work in pharmacy when I was studying for my masters degree. My friend was also studying for her second degree too. A lady comes in and asks to speak to the pharmacist. He was busy, so I said is there anything I can help you with. Her reply "no love I need to speak to someone intellegent, you know with an actual degree." Luckily my pharmacist was on the ball, strolled out and said " she has a law degree, her colleague has one in chemistry. Both are more intellegent than you will ever be. Thankyou for your custom, who is next?" He was frequently a total knob, so it was nice to know that he had a bit of respect for us!!
Ive had death threats, stuff thrown at me, abuse. I left in the end as our store manager watched one of these incidents happen when I was on my own and never even stepped in, or even ask if I was ok afterwards. I was pretty shaken up.
People can be proper knobs. I have no idea what gets into them. They wak throuh the door and become completely entitled and that its your job to annoy them.

98percentchocolate Sun 26-Jul-15 22:51:03

Jean - I love that your manager defended you! More need to do that, but everyone is terrified of the customer complaint. It isn't fair that we can be treated so appallingly but if we try to defend ourselves we will be either disciplined or dismissed.

I once had a customer follow me home actually. He just drove passed my house but it was very scary.

Headdesk Sun 26-Jul-15 22:57:18

I get called a bitch pretty much on a nightly basis, definitely sworn at several times a night. Nearly had to phone the police because of abusive customers several times. I work night shift at a petrol station, right by a big estate, so i get underage kids trying to buy fags and alcohol, people who forget their id (obviously my fault) and we have a policy where we can't serve drunk people alcohol, which again I get a lot of abuse for.

Headdesk Sun 26-Jul-15 22:57:58

Oh and me and the other girl who work there have a stalker customer which is super fun hmm

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