Shopping 101: How not to be *that* customer

Yes, you’re right, it’s the salespeople’s job to make your shopping experience pleasant. But let’s be real here. They’re not miracle workers, and you have a large role to play both in your shopping experience and in that salesperson’s whole day. So here are some things you can do to make the whole thing more enjoyable for everyone.

1. Wait your turn. If there’s only one salesperson, and they’re busy with another customer, don’t yell at them from across the store. Don’t “Hel-lo, I’m ready to check out,” when you can see they’re unable to get to you right that moment.

2. Pick up after yourself. You wouldn’t leave clothes strewn all over the place in someone else’s home. Don’t do it in someone else’s workplace.

3. If you can’t get something back on the hanger the way it came off, it’s a lot better to hand it to someone who works there and say, “I couldn’t get this back the way it goes, can you help?” than to A. just leave it dumped somewhere or B. knowingly hang it up wrong and stick it back on the rack like you didn’t even notice.

4. No, just because it doesn’t scan doesn’t mean it’s free, and no, that’s not an original joke. Everyone who’s ever worked a single day in retail is sick to death of that joke. That, and “I just made that one” when they go to check a large bill. Obnoxious is not the same as clever.

5. Your salesperson may not actually be the school-dropout failure at life that you assume. You would be surprised to learn how many retail workers either hold degrees or are working on one. It’s a hard economy out there, and people who can’t find better jobs are taking the jobs they can get in the meantime. So no, when your kid asks “why is she ringing up my clothes,” the correct response is not “because she can’t find a real job.”

6. If you don’t want to be measured, that’s fine, but if you ask to be measured, and the number isn’t outlandish (say, within a couple of inches of your normal size), try it on. I promise you that any decent salesperson can tell you how their clothing sizes run. Sizing isn’t universal.

7. Yes, salespeople in many stores are required to ask for your email and/or phone number. You have the option of declining (unless you’re making a return, in which case, suck it up); if you’re going to exercise that right, please do so politely. Understand that if a salesperson asks you for personal info, it is not because they want to.

You’re going to get a lot better service if you’re not making your salesperson’s life miserable. Plus, you won’t look like a jerk in public, which is always a plus.


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