A retail assistant reveals why the customer is not always right

This post is an ode to those of us who have or are slaving away in the retail industry. From my experience, retail assistants are like one giant, dysfunctional, tired and a little stroppy family. No matter what sector of retail you work in, the stories always have the same base line. I thought today I would share with you some of my team’s favourite stories where the customer simply is NOT right. If you work in retail I am sure you can relate to some of these types of characters and if you haven’t worked a day of retail in your life, welcome to what we deal with.

The Ripper

Working in a clothing store, sizes and body shapes are always a sensitive topic. Some people are offended if you think they are skinnier than they actually are, others are more offended if you think they are larger. Adopting the perfect words and phrases for describing a body shape or suggesting that they change from a definitely too small body tight dress, that is somewhat resembling a stuffed sausage, can be tricky.

I will never forget the day when I had a woman come in to try on a new pair of jeans in a size that I knew was going to be too small as they had been cut to two sizes smaller than the season before. But as they say “the customer is always right”, I continued getting the size she had requested. 10 minutes later she emerges from the fitting room, jeans in hand and what I mean by hand is one leg in the left hand and one leg in the right hand. She had literally split the jeans in half! I’m sorry to say, but in this case the customer is NOT always right.


The Crazy Coat Lady

 I had a customer attempt to return a coat that was 10 years old because she did not believe the quality was satisfactory. Moreover, she wished to get a store credit or a full refund. This coat was 10 years old; it had been worn to death and clearly loved.

She came in with a severe glare, guns blazing and proceeded to say that she had to have this coat repaired several times due to loose threads and no longer wanted to waste her money on this and therefore believed she was entitled to a refund. Little to say the look of shock of my face was priceless. Once again a case where the customer is NOT right, as you cannot return a 10-year-old coat.


The Tornado 

My favourite story is the day we were visited by what can only be described as a tornado. Innocently standing behind the counter, I greeted what seemed like an incredibly sweet small old lady… oh how wrong first impressions can be.

After walking round the store for 15 minutes, simply admiring the clothes, she then proceeded to tell me that our size range was outrageous. She moved through the store throwing every item that was not in her size from the rack onto the floor without a care in the world. There was no stopping this woman; there was a storm of coloured silks and fur flying sky high and landing in what can only be described as a very colourful mountain. She was telling us that small sizes are insulting and should not be displayed. I am sorry customer but you are NOT right, you are not allowed to simply throw sizes you don’t like on the floor.

I hope you have enjoyed reading a couple of snippets of life in a retail store and watching the GIF’s that perfectly sum up the mood. Next time a shop assistant is rude to you, think about what the rest of their day may have involved.

All GIF’s were sourced from Buzzfeed, you may want to check out their 21 things that sum up working in retail for another laugh.

Happy Friday readers!

By Isabelle Schoo

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