Oh, retail. What can I say about working in retail? For three summers, I spent my days folding piles of clothes, waiting on customers in fittings rooms, and helping them find the best fitting jeans for their body. Those of us who slaved our souls away under those fluorescent mall lights know exactly what it’s like. Sure — the employee discount was a perk — but it came with the price of needy customers. Very needy customers.
Let me start off by saying that by working in retail, I got to help out some pretty great customers. There’s nothing better than helping a woman find the perfect dress for an upcoming wedding. I should also mention that I probably haven’t been a model customer at all of the stores I’ve shopped at, either. Hey, nobody's perfect.
However, most of us sales associates know that we have to put up with quite a handful on a daily basis. Why? Because the customer is always right. Ha.
From the “bored out of his mind husband” to the “hey, let’s mess up this perfectly neat pile” guy, here are twelve types of shoppers every retail employee has put up with. Now go to the back room and have a good cry.
1. The "Five Minutes Before Closing" Shopper
It’s 8:53, you’re tidying up the jewelry display, and are about to close the door. But wait. They walk in.
Completely ignoring the fact that the mall is literally about to close, they start asking you about that 30 percent off sale or what they should wear to an upcoming graduation. SIGH. You half-heartedly help them while refolding the pile of tee shirts they just messed up.
They’ll leave 20 minutes later — empty handed, of course.
2. The Emotional Shopper
She. Is. Just. REALLY. Emotional. Right. Now. *Sniffle*
As you find her a new size of jeans, she can’t help but vent about that fight with her husband or how she’s just not doing well in school. You awkwardly nod, apologize, hand her those jeans — then run.
3. The Chatty Cathy
She’s attending her cousin’s friend’s husband’s wedding as is SO excited about it. So excited that she’s letting you know about the flower arrangements. The reception site. The ring bearer’s TIE!!
Again, your “nod-and-smile” game is on point.
4. The "Try On And Leave" Shopper
Every retail worker is familiar with her. She picks out ten pairs of jeans, asks you for your opinion of all of them, and leaves.
She’ll exit one of two ways. She either sneaks out of the store by pretending to send a text while peaking over her shoulder to make sure you didn’t see her leave. Or, she’ll thank you “SO much you all of your help, but nothing really worked out.” I get it! Not everyone can buy everything all the time! But still, even if you try to think rationally, you’ll have to stop yourself from screaming about all that lost commission.
5. The "Not-So Name Dropper" Shopper
The distant cousin of “Thanks But No Thanks.” She will also demand that you give your opinion on every outfit and find that blouse in three other colors — and will actually buy some of the clothes!
But when the cashier asks who was helping her, she’ll shrug and look around. “Eh, I don’t think anyone really was.” Wait. Are you SERIOUS right now?
Cool. I didn’t want to pay rent anyways.
6. The Dressing Room Slob
She wants to try on EVERYTHING in three different sizes. You know — just to make sure it fits. That's all fine and good.
But will she be a decent human and hang it back up? NOPE. Instead, everything is in one giant pile on her dressing room floor. Your job just went from sales associate to personal maid.
7. The Pile Ruiner
As you’re on floor, you start to notice a woman race through a pile you spent 20 minutes folding to perfection. You sigh, but approach her and ask if she needs help finding a size. “Nope, I should be fine,” she responds, still messing up your pile.
FINE? Fine messing up my beautiful, crisp, neatly stacked cardigans?
8. The Store EXPERT
She’s a damn loyal shopper and just LOVES your store. In fact, she loves it so much that she’s not afraid to correct you on every little detail about your place of employment!
“Wait, I think the BOGO sale is supposed to last until Thursday!” “Aren’t the spring items supposed to be in right now?” “These ballet flats are supposed to come in navy. I don’t know why they’re not here.” “I sure love giving you a headache!”
9. The Anti-Social Shopper
“Hey guys, how are we doing to…” You can’t finish your sentence without her running to the back of the store.
She’ll do anything to make sure NO dirty sales associate gives her the time of day. Stares at her phone. Sprints in the other direction. Hey — at least she won’t ask you to find something in the back room.
10. The Avid Couponer
She loves coupons. LOVES them. Only problem? She insists on using a 20 percent off coupon that expired four months ago. Yikes.
No, I can’t accept this. No, I won’t make an exception. No, I can’t get my manager.
11. The Helicopter Mom
Let’s all admit that shopping with you mom is the best thing in the world. Dealing with other daughters with their mom? Not so great.
For whatever reason, this stubborn mom refuses to let her daughter ask you for anything. “My daughter wants this skirt in a smaller size.” “She’s looking for something to wear to a baby shower!” “Do you think my daughter should be wearing that short of a dress? I sure don’t!”
At least mom’s buying, I guess.
12. The Bored Husband
On the opposite side of things, every retail worker has dealt with the bored husband. You’ll know him when you see him: pacing in and out of the store, trying not to fall asleep on the couch by the dressing room, and basically hating everything about his life.
“Do you need help with anything, sir?” you ask. “Nope — just waiting for my wife,” he sighs.
Images: Getty Images, Giphy (12)