The Perks of the Job

One of my biggest pet hates in life is rude people with no manners. I do not understand why people choose to act like that and worse still get away with it. I have worked in the service sector in Ireland for seven years, between retail and working as a waitress, I feel I have gained quite a bit of experience in this area. I do not mean experience as in work experience, no I mean experience of dealing with rude, obnoxious people who feel they can speak down to you because of your position. Now obviously it goes without saying that this does not account for all customers. We are fortunate enough to find some lovely people out there and chances are these people have at one time worked in a service discipline themselves or just have good manners.

What I don’t understand though is why be rude to those providing the service to you? Do you think you are going to get the best possible service available? Do you think they in return will do you any favours in order to help you out? In a nutshell if you’re being an asshole, then no!

It’s like annoying your hairdresser, why would you bother if you are then entrusting them with your hair and a scissors? The same can be said for your waiter or barman. Do you think being rude and condescending will get your food or drink any quicker? God knows what you will even get in return if you’re being unreasonable! I just cannot comprehend what these people are thinking when they choose to be obnoxious to those they want excellent service from.

Having worked as waitress and in retail, I was shocked at the level of rudeness you have to put up with, particularly in retail (when I first started, now I’m used to it!) I have worked on both sides of retail; designer and non-designer. The area I have encountered the most demanding and rude customers is surprisingly the lower priced, non-designer, high street stores.

It seems that some people automatically think they can talk to you like your an idiot when you work in retail. I often feel like telling these people that I have just graduated and worked part time to put myself through college. Then I realize it probably would make no difference and to be fair they don’t actually care. Even if I had never attended college and working in a service industry was my career, so what? A job is a job especially these days, so show people a little respect who get up every day to go to work regardless of what that work is.

From a retail perspective, here a few things I encounter on a daily basis:

1. No you cannot get a discount on that item because one little thread is pulled. Why? because its €5, take it or leave it.

2. No that is not 100% cotton (surprised at how much I get asked this!) Why? again because its €5!

3. No you cannot try on those 305 items you have just brought into the changing rooms. Why? because you’re going to do one of two things: rob them or leave them all on the ground for me to pick up. No.

4. No we do not offer gift wrapping. Why? because the total cost of your transaction was €13.

5. No I cannot get you the size that we do not have on the floor or in the stock room OR in any of the other stores you have made me ring to find out. Why? because unfortunately I do not own the little elves who magically produce the items out the back.

6. The ever so cliched argument of ‘I know my rights’ Super, so do I!

7. The argument over store policies and how they are ‘ridiculous’ ‘discriminatory’ ‘unprofessional’ etc, yes because I decide what policies are implemented across this chain of retail outlets. Of course I have a huge say on them. That’s why I am here at the weekend working.

8. The innocent ‘oh are you closing? I just wanted to grab one thing’ Yes what gave it away, the fact we are closing the doors, have turned off the music and that every other retail store in Ireland closes at this time too?!

Think these pics kind of sum up working weekends in a retail store, particularly during sale periods:


1 thought on “The Perks of the Job

  1. I worked in retail for a year part-time with a full time teaching job and customers treated me with such distain, I wanted to inform them that I had a master’s degree and was simply trying to pay for it. There were some nice customers, too, but the mean ones ruined it for me. I’d rather stick to a tighter budget and sit at home rather than deal with their condescending foolishness!

    Anyway, I could relate to just about everything on your list. Great post; you really hit the nail on the head.

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