18 Things That Make Retail Workers Secretly Despise Shoppers

Krystal Smith

The retail industry keeps the world stocked with everything from snacks and groceries to furniture and clothing. While the shopping experience is generally rewarding for customers, retail workers experience many frustrations that make their working day much harder. We take a look at 18 things that we do that annoy retail workers.

Entering Right Before Closing Time

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Like everyone else, retail workers want to go home at a decent hour. When a customer arrives right before closing time, the retail worker is often late locking up and leaving the store. The worst thing is that most workers will not get overtime when they are running late. Next time you make a last-minute dash to the store for candy, think about the person waiting to get home after a long day. 

Asking “Do You Work Here?” to Someone in a Uniform

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While it might seem harmless, asking “Do you work here?” to someone in a uniform can be a source of annoyance for retail workers as it can come across as insulting or condescending. Workers often assist other customers, stock shelves, or complete tasks. Being interrupted by this question can slow them down and hinder their efficiency.

Abusing the Name Tag

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Addressing someone solely by their name on a tag creates an overly casual and potentially disrespectful tone. While some people will genuinely just be being friendly, some customers will try to sweeten the retail worker for preferential treatment, something workers are aware of. 

Leaving a Mess in the Fitting Room

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Scattered clothes, discarded hangers, and general disarray force staff to clean up after customers, taking away time they could spend directly assisting other shoppers or completing other tasks. When clothes are thrown on the floor, they can wrinkle or get stained, leading to lost inventory or extra work for staff who need to address the damaged items.

Complaining About Long Lines but Not Using Self-Checkout

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Stores often implement self-checkout to alleviate congestion at traditional cashier lanes, particularly during peak hours. Choosing not to use this available option can contribute to the very problem the customer is complaining about.

Expecting Mind-Reading

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When customers expect workers to guess their needs, it can lead to unnecessary conversations and delays in finding the desired product or service. Clearly stating what you need or are looking for helps retail workers serve you quicker and, in turn, helps other customers. 

Being Rude or Condescending

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A rude or condescending attitude can create a stressful and unpleasant work environment for retail workers. Like any other worker, retail workers deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect and should not have to worry about how they are spoken to while trying to earn a living. 

Haggling Over Minor Price Differences

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Haggling over price differences can be a cultural norm in certain situations, but it is not always appropriate. Most stores have set prices, and cashiers need the authority to offer discounts beyond what’s already offered. Additionally, retailers find it frustrating when people try to haggle a slight price difference as it takes a lot of time away from their work when there is no real benefit to the customer or the store. 

Bringing in Damaged Items for a Full Refund

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Significantly damaged items cannot be resold at full price or even at a discounted rate. This reduces the retailer’s profit margin and creates additional work in disposing of the damaged merchandise

Asking for Items in the Stockroom Without Checking the Shelves First

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We have all been in a store when we are in a rush and need to grab the items we need as quickly as possible, but there are better ideas than skipping looking on the shelves and going straight to a staff member. Retail workers often restock shelves and may need the most up-to-date knowledge of what’s available in the back. Many have reported taking the time to head to the stockroom only to return, and the customers have found the item themselves and left. 

Using Coupons That Are Expired or Damaged

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It’s the customer’s responsibility to ensure coupons are valid and meet store requirements to avoid causing delays at checkout. Dealing with invalid coupons adds unnecessary steps to the cashier’s already busy tasks, and it can lead to arguments or disappointment from the customer, creating an unpleasant situation for both parties.

Wasting Their Time With Excessive Small Talk

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Retail workers often have specific tasks and quotas to fulfill within a timeframe. Engaging in prolonged small talk can hinder their ability to complete their work efficiently, potentially causing delays for other customers.

Changing Your Mind at the Register

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We all change our minds occasionally, but the next time you are unsure about an item, think about it before heading to the checkout. Holding up the line to change your mind about an item or payment method can frustrate the cashier and other customers.

Asking for Products, They Know the Store Doesn’t Sell

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Customers asking for products a store doesn’t sell can frustrate retail workers. A glance around the store or a polite inquiry before asking a staff member can save everyone time

Leaving Your Unattended Child to Wander Around the Store

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Young children are vulnerable and can easily get lost or injured or cause accidental damage to themselves or merchandise. Employees might need to intervene if they observe an unsupervised child, diverting their attention from assisting customers or maintaining store operations. 

Arguing About Store Policies With Cashiers

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Cashiers often enforce predetermined store policies and might not have the direct power to alter them individually. Engaging in a heated argument with them is unlikely to yield the desired outcome and can upset the cashier who is trying to work.

Treating the Store Like a Personal Trash Can

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Discarded waste creates an unpleasant shopping environment for other customers and additional work for store staff who must clean it up. It is also frustrating for workers because it shows a general lack of respect for other people and the places in your community. 

Trying to Use Fake IDs or Return Stolen Merchandise

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Retail workers are trained to spot suspicious activity and will report any attempts at fraud to the appropriate authorities. Retailers can be liable if they unknowingly accept stolen goods or facilitate illegal activity through fake ID usage. 

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