Nearing the end of my shift. My day was going pretty well. It’s the last thirty-minutes you least expect the demanding customers to come and verbally assault you.
An older woman comes up to me, with her tall, round husband behind her. “Do you have cut-offs?”
I don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes to my mind is denim cut with those strings hanging off the bottom–something I can’t imagine either of them wearing. So I reply, “We don’t have any denim shorts.”
“What do you have?”
“I have khaki, plain-cotton material shorts.”
She yells at me, with a bitter tone, “Yes! That’s what I’ve been asking for! Cut-offs!” She does a sigh, growl at me.
As I take her to the table, I make time to tell her, “They haven’t called it cut-offs for a long time, they call it shorts these days. It’ll help you find what you’re looking for.”
So we get to the table. “What’s your largest size,” she asks. Oh well, we don’t carry sizes-44 or 46 in the store. I tell her to try department stores, they generally have a larger selection and supply of sizes on hand.
Customer Types: FashioNOTstas, Guessing Game
It’s an Indian couple, from India, and from all I’ve heard about the culture, the wisdom, and wonder, I’ve rarely met respectable people from there who fill me with a sense of awe and enlightenment. This couple kept asking me for discounts, and how much cheaper they can get our new product. Over-and-over again, they ask. By the time the wife comes and pokes a shirt in my face, I’m already disappointed.
“There are no mediums, I want a medium.”
I look around, because I know there is a huge supply of them somewhere. I know I’ve seen them.
“They’re right here!” She’s standing next to our sale wall, and there the shirts are smashed all together in our ‘Small’ section. I blindly grab for a size, pull it out, and obviously, what size is it? Medium. I give it to her. I’m so happy she actually spent one-second trying to find the size, since even a blind man could find it. Of course, she decides she doesn’t want the one that she wanted, and asks someone else for a medium we don’t have–that must give her some form of satisfaction, right? Easier to save money if you keep asking for things we don’t have, and the things we do have, you don’t want.
Customer Types: The Blind, The Riddler
A woman approaches me, holding a bag of chocolates, the expensive sort–but she’s dressed very slovenly, so it seems like a rare treat for her. Her manners are just as slovenly, so she isn’t some princess in disguise. She has the look of what some call, “White Trash,” but as I’ve only seen it in movies, I can’t tell if it’s entirely accurate.
As she shoves a chocolate into her mouth, she shouts at me, while chewing, “You work here?” I look at my headset and my name-tag, and I suddenly wonder why I even wear these things. When I don’t wear them, people actually don’t ask if I work here, they just ask me for help. She tells me, well more she commands me to follow her. “Come with me.”
So we go to a mannequin, and it’s wearing a sweater, a sale sweater–and again I swear under my breath wondering why they don’t update our mannequins. I tell her it’s on sale, so it’s probably in the sale section. She shoves another chocolate into her mouth, with her daughter and husband in tow. I feel like a duck with babies following me. So they all stand there and watch me looking through the sale section.
“Is it there? Can you find it?”
“Is that it?”
“No.” Together you have six-arms, minus two for the chocolate-eater, I’m only so fast by myself. I feel like I’m picking cherries, with three bosses watching me.
“Is it the last one?”
I continue to look, “It might be.”
“Can you get it off the mannequin?”
“Yes, I might have to.”
“Well, go get it!” She shoves a chocolate-covered strawberry in her mouth at the same time.
Seriously, am I here to be demanded of? All I can reply is, “Yes-sir!”
I go to the mannequin, with the ducks in tow, and I take the sweater off and hand it to the daughter.
“Thank you,” the woman’s tone is much kinder now, but a bit too late.
Customer Types: The Dumb, Lowered Expectations, Micromanagement, Modern Slave-Owner