“I need help with jeans,” a woman comes up and tells me. More like commands, but that’s not the point, right? I follow her to our denim section, and she points to the pile in front of her. “I need a size 27 or 28, in the short size.” She starts rummaging through the pile, not looking at the stickers, but grabbing each one, looking at the size–which is the same as the sticker–then shoving it back in as a ball. I go to check, and quickly realize this is the style which is sold out everywhere. I quickly return and tell her this.
“Why don’t you have my size? This is Hawaii! Everyone is short, you should always have that size!” And I tell her how it seems to be sold out everywhere, not just our store, but around the country. “Well this company sucks! And this country sucks!” She gets up, with two pairs of denim in her fists and scowls at me. She walk away shaking her head, sighing loudly. As I am actually in the fitting room area, I have to go back and meet her there and offer her a room, with which she scowls at me again, and slams the door.
As with all knowledgeable customer service, at this point, I leave her alone and have someone else help her. Of course, I knew many coworkers who had military husbands or wives, friends and family, many who have had losses in their life, who would have been upset at the sheer casual-nature in which this customer states, “This country sucks!” To copy a catchphrase, her ‘first world problems’ are so bad, I wanted to find that one perfect coworker to help her. Sadly, no such person was available, so I had to substitute one of the complacent coworkers. The woman continues to stomp around the store, as coworkers tell me, “That woman is glaring at you!” I just shrug, what am I supposed to do? Of course, my coworker who does help her says she was so pleasant to help, she was nice and kind. I kind of expect that, because after a few minutes, I remember this woman from months ago.
Several months ago, she came in demanding to return an old item, which she said was worn out faster than it should have–so she wanted the full-price back for it, not the current selling price. The manager told her she was sorry, but that is not how the return policy works. The woman replies, “Well, I’ll just write a letter to the corporate level to complain about you, and they’ll give it to me. They always do!” And my manager, an older woman has a terse staring contest with the woman, and tells her, “Okay, we’ll give you the return, just this once.” Later, she says the corporate level would just do as the woman said, and given her whatever she wanted, and asked her why she didn’t just take the return of the woman was so mad.
So really, this is how retail works. You can get whatever you want if you yell, scream, and act like a baby. This is the culture, the social understanding we want to teach people and tell them, “This is how you should live. This is how you CAN live.” It is considered acceptable. It is like cultures with obviously backwards believes, like genital mutilation, throwing acid in someone’s face, and other things they say, “It is our cultural heritage.” And as a human race, we will never evolve, never move forward, and never grow as long as we accept such statements and such beliefs that ‘negatively situated’ habits and beliefs should be retained for the sake of some cultural solidarity. How many cultural practices are now called taboo or dirty? I remember when I was a kid it was open country to grab a stick and beat your child with it and for husbands to beat their wives. I even remember stories recently about people throwing puppies down the stairs because their child upset them, as a form of ‘punishment’. In all honesty, I am comparing people yelling and screaming like children to acts of abuse, because at the root they are all really just pointless excuses to be unevolved. And in the end, they will be uprooted and dissolved just as the worst of practices and crimes we once considered normal. Now, I’m not some ultra-conservative who believes in the constriction of the wind-pipes of life, but I do believe anything we accept, anything we say yes to, should be something that allows openness and the ability for society to grow and move forward at a far faster pace than, “One social movement at a time, baby steps.”
Customer Types: Big Baby, Capitalist