Fashion Problems: Top 10 Clothing Retail Pet Peeves

You’re annoying me. Please stop.

For someone who has been in the (part time) retail industry since I was 15 years old, I’ve come across several very, very sweet, kind, polite people. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. I have stories that you would have to witness to believe I telling you the truth. My least favorite part of retail are those people, especially ones who just think they’re better than you. That’s always fun. ANYWAY, here are some of the greatest and most common annoyances that I (and my coworkers) witness during most shifts.

1. When I say, “Hello! Welcome to the store!”…

… please do not respond with, “I’m just looking.” One, that’s not the proper response, and two, it’s quite rude. I was simply welcoming you to the retail store. I was not asking if I could help you. This is probably my biggest pet peeve of all time. Please do not assume I’m about to hassle you. I’m simply greeting you. If you’re rude in this manner, then it’s quite possible I will be your new best friend while you shop in the store. You’re never going to come back? Good. Most retail workers are not fond of ostensibly rude people.

2. If you think I’m trying to sell you something…

… then you would be correct; however, I want to sell you something that looks good on you and that you feel good wearing. Give us the benefit of the doubt. Deal? Wonderful. I’m a salesperson. It’s my job to sell you what’s in our store, but I’m not going to send you out those doors wearing something ill-fitting or unflattering. Why? I want you to return and spend more money in my store. I will tell you that an item doesn’t look good on you in the most tactful way. I will ask you to turn around, so I can see how the item fits you everywhere. I will give you my honest opinion. I will make sure you walk out of my store looking as fabulous as possible, even if that means you leave with nothing this time. Most retail workers feel the same way, so please don’t jump to the conclusion that we’ll sell you anything just to make a sale.

3. When I offer to put an item back for you…

… please just let me. Don’t be all, “Oh! That’s fine! I’ll just do it!” I know you think you’re being a helpful customer, but read my words – You. Are. NOT. I’m not asking you to be nice. I’m not even asking you because it’s *technically* my job. I’m asking you because you are going to put it back incorrectly, and I’m going to have to wait until you’re out of eyesight or leave the store – so as not to offend you – to fix what you just messed up. Are you going to grab a folding board and fold it perfectly and put it back in the stack where that particular size goes, not messing up the stack in the process? Or are you going to use those well-developed cognitive thinking skills to figure out the correct way to hang it? I didn’t think so. You’re going to fold the piece of apparel up like you do at home and place it on top. Thus, next time I offer to place an item back up for you, please just let me. I will actually like you, and I will not give you the meanest resting bitch face you’ll never see behind your back.

4. Along that line…

… if I ask to grab your size from a stack of clothes, then I’m doing it for my sake. If you are larger than the smallest size we carry (which should be on top) then there’s a 99.9-percent chance you’re going to mess up the pile. I’m going to insist until you let me. The more adamantly I insist, the more likely I just spent the last 5 or 10 minutes refolding that pile that you are about to completely destroy. Again, just let me do what is my job.

5. Awe!! You left a bunch of clothes on the floor of the dressing room…

… that is so sweet! Thank you bunches! Okay. Actually, that is kind of sweet of you. Now, let me explain why. I don’t appreciate your lack of human decency, especially since it would take 10 seconds for you to turn that clothing item you just tried on and aren’t going to buy right side out; however, I’m going to focus on the positive here. Unless, you work at another location of my store and know exactly how to fold or hang and place items exactly where they go in the store, then you have saved me the trouble of correcting your mistake. I can just simply pick it off the floor and replace the item(s) myself.

6. You tried on every single item in the store…

… but you bought nothing. Listen, I realize that clothing doesn’t fit or we might not have your size, but please don’t accumulate a dressing room full of clothing without any intent to buy even a single piece. Unless you’re planning to come back and buy some of it on payday, then you are a waste of everyone’s time that day, #sorrynotsorry to be so tactless. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. I’m still going to be as kind and helpful as possible (we’re all equals and all that jazz), but be assured that we will remember you – and that’s not a good thing.

Oh, but you might be a returning customer, so you’re not a waste of time? Well, that’s why I’m as customer servicey as possible. I want you to come back because it’s always possible anyone will buy something. But that doesn’t mean you weren’t a waste of my time that day. I grabbed you different sizes and picked out outfits for you and checked on you multiple times and received absolutely nothing for it. Not only did I spend a significant amount of time with you, but I then spent a significant amount of time putting your copious amount of clothes back on the sales floor when I could’ve been helping someone else who will help the store’s sales for that day. Thus, that time I spent on you was a waste.

I know I sound bitter. I’m quite aware of that, but I’m just putting into the bluntest terms what every retail worker feels – disappointment and hard work that didn’t pay off. It’s like you have a desk job and spent all day working on a project (or whatever), then at the end of the day your boss tells you to scrap it.

7. ::customer walks in door and walks directly toward me::…

… and asks, “What’s on sale?” ::immediately dislikes said customer:: I know everyone is looking for a good deal. I get it. I want the best quality for the most reasonable price, as well. But please, please, please do not walk in, bee-line for me and ask specifically about clearance items. You are not looking for a deal; you are cheap. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true. ANYWAY, that’s not the same as asking if an markdown item online is the same price in store or asking me details about a promo sign you see. That won’t annoy me or any other retail worker. I’m strictly talking about a specific scenario. Don’t get me wrong. Again, I will treat you with the exact same respect and smile and be just as nice to you as the person who waltzes in and buys ten full-priced items without looking at the price tags. I just know there’s a 90-something-percent chance you’ll buy that $19.99 item that’s an extra 50-percent off, if you buy anything.

8. Speaking of that extra 50 percent off…

… 20 / 2 = 10. Did your mother ever tell you “people are stupid” or “you can’t fix stupid?” Well, mine did, and it has never been more prevalent than when I’ve worked in retail stores. If an $89.32 item is 42.73 percent off, then, yes, I understand how those elementary division skills might fail you, but do not ask me the price of a half-off item. I will immediately think you are unintelligent. If you think people don’t ask this, I can tell you they do, and at a rate that would make you fear for the future of the world.

9. Just because I’m staying later…

… doesn’t mean you can stay later. I’ve heard the following multiple times. During small talk with a seemingly socially mindful customer who has entered the store close to the closing time, I might casually mention that I don’t have any plans tonight (if that person asks) since I have to stay much later than normal for one #retailproblems reason or another. Then that person says, “Oh, good! That means I can stay later!” While I may still be smiling on the outside (ONLY because I’ll get fired if I don’t), I have already begun screaming at the top of my lungs internally and plotting ways I can strangle you with the nearby denim and make it look like an accident. If you stay later, then I have to stay later than the later I’m already staying. Get it? Let’s look at it from your office job perspective, shall we? If your office closes at 5 p.m., but you need to stay later to finish some paperwork, and a client comes in at 4:55 p.m. and stays until 5:15 p.m., then you have to stay later than the later you originally intended to stay. Get it now? Good! Gold star for you!

10. You tell me that I don’t need to get an early hysterectomy by choice…

… because yours didn’t go well and you’ve had trouble keeping your still-size 2 bum in shape and your appetite has changed and you and your husband are having issues in the bedroom because of your lowered sex drive and your kids are having trouble with the other kids at school and your car broke down last week so you’re driving this crappy rental and, well, you get it. I’m here for one purpose and one purpose only – to make you look good. I am not your therapist. I do not care about what’s going on in your life. In this social media-possessed age where everyone feels the need to share just about everything that’s going on in their lives, the dressing room is not that place.

Do you have any retail horror stories? Post them in the comments section up there! Think I’m exaggerating? Tell me why!

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