Abusing the sales staff?

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    Sep 29, 2008 7:37 AM GMT
    I have been in California two weeks now and I've noticed a disturbing trend. Is it normal? Is it acceptable to abuse the sales staff just doing their jobs?

    I was in GNC today and the guy in front of me wanted something exchanged that he bought for a discount price and the new one wasn't on sale and the assistant didn't have the authority to do so and asked he return when the manager was back from lunch. He really started insulting the assistant who took it all in good grace until the guy flipped, broke into profanities in front of his kids and threw the tub at the guy.

    I was in Starbuck's about a week ago having a friendly brief chat with the girl while she served me and the women behind me called her incompetent and said she was there to dispense coffee, not to talk to customers...

    I was in A&F last week and a man thought I worked there and when I didn't pay attention to what he was asking me, because it didn't register that he was talking to me came over and called me a stupid f**king idiot and then apologized like that he mistook me for the sales people, as if that would be acceptable if I was.

    I was in Subway yesterday at lunch and after the customer had the poor girl make her sandwhich again because she "drowned it in dressing" she declared "You touched my sandwich I'm not eating that make it again!" She apologized I had to wait, I apologized that the woman in front of me was a bitch.

    I was in the market friday and a girl in front of me had her two clone like friends cut the line the cashier said very politely "I'm sorry but you'll have to join the Q" She hissed how dare you speak to me like that and walked out leaving her soda on the counter.

    Those are just the major ones that stick out in my mind over all I seem to constantly hear impolite demands, patronizing tones and rude gestures made to the sales people.

    I've apologized for the strangers in front of me at about 8 or 9 times in less than two weeks.

    I feel really sorry for anyone who has to be in these jobs in the United States, I really do.
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    Sep 29, 2008 7:42 AM GMT
    On the flip side: the customer is usually fed a bunch of "customer service" bullshit. I've gotten a lot of "oh well it will take three months to go through the computer" and then I reply "but it only took you a minute to put it in the computer right?" These sort of things happen too often.

    Having said that, yeah I feel bad for the ponds working that are pretty much helpless. This is why when I call some company to rant I usually give out a huge disclaimer, "Now what I'm about to say isn't directed at you and I know your job totally sucks, but..."

    In LA, a lot of people have this attitude where they think they are always right and it's just fucking annoying. Example:

    This Lesbian was nearly yelling at a teller at a bank. She said "why am I always angry at you guys?!?" and I almost (and should have) said "because you're a fucking angry Lesbian that's why."

    Next time you see a rude customer call them out. There's nothing more entertaining, especially for the poor employee suffering, than to watch an ethics-war going on between two customers. It's hell-ar-ious!

    [edit] I see you live in San Diego. It's got a LOT of pompous conservative rich white bitches. So there you go.
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    Sep 29, 2008 7:53 AM GMT
    Well the guy at GNC had a foot and a half on me and at least 40lbs so I wasn't going near that. I did wait around 10 mins with the sales guys laughing at the asshole though if that counts.

    I rest easier knowing that that the women who had the girl in Subway's wrist barley brush up aggainst her sandwich will have probably been served a sneeze muffin already this week and due another one before the weekends out.

    I thinking it might just be here and that this is not only SD but a particularly upper middle class suburb of SD...
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    Sep 29, 2008 7:56 AM GMT
    AMT87 saidWell the guy at GNC had a foot and a half on me and at least 40lbs so I wasn't going near that. I did wait around 10 mins with the sales guys laughing at the asshole though if that counts.


    Oh common don't be such a pussy. Just say "shut the fuck up wut you gonna beat me there's a camera" and if he lunches towards you grab the nearest protein tub, chuck it at him, and then run like hell.
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    Sep 29, 2008 2:10 PM GMT
    people are pricks. anyone who works in service related knows this. often people think they're the only customers in a restaurant, and don't understand that you have other people to serve.

    i cut my self on a knife a couple weeks ago and it took me a couple minutes to gert th ebleeding under control and cover it up as to not give people extra iron in their meals. i went back to a table and the guy asked "what took so long? did you get sick or something?" i apologized and exlpained i had cut myself and showed him a bandaged thumb, and he just shrugged it off.

    when i worked at starbucks, a woman bitched me out for "my staff" (i wasn't the manager or shift lead) being too slow. when i reminded her that she used to carpool me to races as a kid she got a really great expression on her face, something close to panic and surprise with a little bit of astonishment. and i then proceeded to remind her that with a line-up of about 30-40 people drinks take a little bit longer to make and she's more than welcome to go to any of our less busy locations within a 5 minute walk from there. pwnd.

    so people are pricks. they expect that because they aren't friends with or don't know the person serving them that they can get away with it. it's like swearing at someone from your car. you never expect to see them again... but then sometimes they catch you at the next light.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Sep 29, 2008 2:55 PM GMT
    I'm always polite when I am dealing with anyone in retail, especially if I am trying to address a problem. I find that even the surliest employee ends up treating you better if you take the high road and are polite.
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    Sep 29, 2008 3:06 PM GMT
    P's and Q's..... are a must.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Sep 29, 2008 3:07 PM GMT
    I am especially nice to the wait staff in restaurants -- we don't like SPIT in our food icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Puppy80

    Posts: 451

    Sep 29, 2008 3:16 PM GMT
    I work customer service in a grocery store where I live and the stories I know, I could write a book. I guess people think that their high and mighty when they make others feel bad.

    I would love one day to say to some ass, "Would you like it if I came into you office to your desk in front of your co-workers and called you an idiot that didn't know how to do your job!"

    Sometimes being patient and more understanding will pay off. I went out to a new restaurant a few weeks ago with some friends. The wait to be seated was crazy, but we where all patient as others kept going up to the hostess complaining how long they had waited and being rude. Finally when we got seated she had said how wonderful we had been only asking once and being nice about it and just smiling. She ended up having some free appetizers and drinks sent to our table as a huge thank you.
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    Sep 29, 2008 3:17 PM GMT
    Being rude to sales staff is never ok unless there rude to you.

    I've been mistaken for working at A&F too many times lol but I just always go red in the face and sware next time to never where the brand while shopping there.

    I would never get rude with the A&F staff anyways there that rude to begin with, half of them I wouldn't be surprised they'd kick you out. I was once asked by a girl in Abercrombie to go get my own size while I was half dressed in a change room. That disgusted me. Another time I reported a guy for shop lifting a bottle of collogne and the store model told him I had seen him take it... When you can't even accuse people of theft unless you see it with your own eyes. Just a few examples I guess of people who could use a little sales staff abuse or at least a reality check.
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    Sep 29, 2008 3:19 PM GMT
    Timberoo saidI'm always polite when I am dealing with anyone in retail, especially if I am trying to address a problem. I find that even the surliest employee ends up treating you better if you take the high road and are polite.


    That's so true. Unless dealing with cell phone companies.
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    Sep 29, 2008 3:20 PM GMT
    I guess certain low-life individuals think it somehow elevates them if they talk down to a clerk or anyone who is in service positions. These louts imagine they look and sound "smart" by lording it over someone they think is beneath them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    The mark of a true quality lady or gentleman - one who is thought to be well bred, well educated, admired - is in how we treat those who serve us. Think about people you know and respect - notice how beautifully they treat every waiter, clerk, porter, valet. Those jobs all have dignity when done well, and each person deserves to be treated with respect and kindness.
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    Sep 29, 2008 3:35 PM GMT
    Here in NY, the employees are usually much ruder than the customers.
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    Sep 29, 2008 3:35 PM GMT
    Anyone who is high and mighty and abuses sales staff, waiters or any other person in the service industry is an idiot.

    That's a big red flag for me.....in terms of freinds or dates or anyone in my life.
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    Sep 29, 2008 3:37 PM GMT
    lissenup saidHere in NY, the employees are usually much ruder than the customers.


    Sorry.......TOTALLY DISAGREE.
  • helium

    Posts: 378

    Sep 29, 2008 3:37 PM GMT
    I can agree to that. I have experienced it myself. I recall one time about 2 years ago during the holiday season. It was around the time that Elmo TMX came out. This one lady had a reserve for the toy. The problem was that my store did not receive any yet. So one day she called and I told her that we didn't have any. She got all pissed off and decided that I wasn't helping her out. So I passed her on to the Senior Assistant Manager there who tried to help her out. After a few minutes, the phone went our Store Manager. She just kept chewing out both of them calling us all idiots and what not. Well, the store manager gave her the number to our district manager who helped her out by finding an Elmo for her.

    She got her Elmo and left us alone for awhile. It was about 2 weeks later that she decided to drop off an application to join our seasonal staff. The 3 of us said hell no since she made such a fuss on the phone that we don't need her on our staff to bitch about something else.

    Sometimes retail can be fun but at other times, it's a pain in the ass to deal with people who are assholes. While I am sympathetic to most people on sales floor and registers, I do expect some warm kindness since I give that to people even though sometimes they are not deserving of it.
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    Sep 29, 2008 3:46 PM GMT
    JHargraves saidSounds like classy men in Cali...I think I'll stick with the east coast and midwest icon_twisted.gif


    People who abuse sales staff are everywhere and it's not specific to any geogrphical area.
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    Sep 29, 2008 3:52 PM GMT
    Ahhh the "joys" of customer service. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Having worked most of my jobs in the field of customer service, I can tell you with 100% certainty that the rudness and the whole "I'm better then you cuz you're sreving me" attitude is not limited to SD lol.

    At my current job, a convieance store/gas station, we have ALWAYS taken the brunt of peoples anger over rising gas prices, as if WE (the associates) had anything to do with it. We are also told how we should make this or that better and that we obviously have no clue how to do our jobs. Usually when the customer can't follow the simple instructions on the gas pump or expect us to change our operating procedures just for them.

    They don't care that most of our regulations have been enforced on us by the STATE and our company, or that most of the rules for the gas pumps are there to prevent spillage(which creats an environmental hazzard) and the very rare but very possible chance of fumes from a car or a active pump from catching fire.

    I have definatly had my share of customers who decide that the only way they will get their way is to yell or use profanities. These people usually get my business side and in no uncertain terms are told to leave my store or I can have the police escort them off the property. These people I usually will not allow to shop there again....ever. I have told my manager of my policies and (for once) he backs me up on them completely.

    Unfortunatly, their is an heir of superiority many people wrongly assume when they are being served by other people. They consider someone that is waiting on them benieth them and thus believe that they may treat that person as crap.

    That's not to say that the service people are 100% without blame now lol. I know of at least 2 former co-workers that were ruder to the customer then many customers were to them. They didn't care if the customer was polite or not, they viewed all of the customers as people to ridicule. This would be a case of the worker either feeling that the customer is inferior cuz they don't know the policies of the company or the worker having an inferiority complex and taking it out on pretty much everyone.

    For some rather horrifying/funny/stupid examples of what a Customer service representitive has to deal with, check out http://www.customerssuck.com/. Some of the stories there will make you laugh, some cringe, some will make you just stare dumbfounded to your screen trying to comprehend what the person was thinking.
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    Sep 29, 2008 4:04 PM GMT
    KissingPro said
    lissenup saidHere in NY, the employees are usually much ruder than the customers.


    Sorry.......TOTALLY DISAGREE.


    We must shop at different places.
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    Sep 29, 2008 4:11 PM GMT
    It's that way every where,I'm a night manager in grocery store.This actually happened last night,I caught a girl shop lifting sominex and stopped her at the door,so I questioned her, first she denied having it so I told her she could give it to me or I can call the police so she pulls it out of her purse and hands it to me saying That I was rude for stopping her,I told her not half as rude as she was for stealing,.With so many people it's an attitude of Me,Me,Me and I want,I want,I want.Go figure
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    Sep 29, 2008 4:15 PM GMT
    and a quick PS after something that happenned last week.

    DO NOT TIP YOUR WAITER WITH A $3 COUPON FOR MOVIE THEATER POPCORN.
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    Sep 29, 2008 4:21 PM GMT
    ruck_us said
    KissingPro said
    JHargraves saidSounds like classy men in Cali...I think I'll stick with the east coast and midwest icon_twisted.gif


    People who abuse sales staff are everywhere and it's not specific to any geogrphical area.


    The golden rule of customer service, "the customer is always right," is lost upon many a customer service agent or store clerk. I will not hesitate to hold such individuals accountable. I will tactfully, but assertively, demand that they resolve my issue to my satisfaction. When they balk, I will immediately insist that they route me to a manager. More often than not, the manager can calmly resolve the matter to my satisfaction. I don't think it's ever appropriate to curse out a clerk, but if we don't tactfully hold businesses accountable, service levels will continue to plummet.


    edit: PS: Comcast is the exception to the rule. Even the managers are jerks.
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    Sep 29, 2008 4:21 PM GMT
    Mike you kno that $3 coupon is soooooo worth waiting on them, and DEFINITELY worth it drive. nuff said.
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    Sep 29, 2008 4:56 PM GMT
    Here's the thing:

    The nicer you are to the sales staff, the nicer they are to you. This is almost always true. A smile, a thank you, a please can make a transaction even faster and more pleasant.

    It's amazing what a few kind words can do to people who probably listened to other people talk shit to them the whole day. It's embarrassing even how they fawn over you afterwards, LOL. Suggesting bargains, the good and the bad of the product, etc.

    So yeah. Simple courtesy takes you a long way.
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    Sep 29, 2008 7:28 PM GMT
    I think it's a result of lack of civility in society, alienation from each other, and this (false) belief that efficiency is the be all end all of affairs (there's a great chapter on this called "The Bureaucrtic Personality Type" in Eric Fromm's Anatomy of Destruction for those interested). Everyone feels they deserve to be served "right now" whic results in impatience and rude behavior, unbecoming of a gentleman or a lady (sadly, many wouldn't know what to do if they encountered one).

    Also, maybe its a result of customers becoming interchangeable "transactons", a depersonalized series of autonomous encounters where we are close up but utterly hostile to one another. Then again, maybe I'm reading too much and people just suck.