Spongebob and other cartoons have made it look easy, but most customer service jobs can be really tough! Sure, there might not be much to flipping burgers, counting cash, and pushing buttons on a machine. It’s not so much what is done, but who it’s done for in a way. If I may be so bold to say, there seems to be something about food service and customer service that makes some people think they are above all else; that they can have what they want, how they want, when they want, and they have to storm on everyone’s parade if it can’t be that way. It’s appalling to think about how ignorant, arrogant, and inconsiderate some people can be in stores and restaurants. I know this for a fact because I have experience working retail and restaurant jobs. Many other people know it for a fact as well, as some in these lines of employment have taken to Retail Robin memes. If you’re unfamiliar with this type of meme, they satirically highlight the best and worst (but usually the worst) experiences on the job. Some might follow Retail Robin memes for the ridiculous humor and how they can relate to the situations, others might submit as a way of venting over a tough situation, but for me, it’s kind of a sad truth about certain people in society today.
Cashiers and fry cooks are people too. They’re men and women, young people and maybe not-so-young people, working to support their education, families, themselves—their own lives. I doubt it’s anybody’s dream job, but it may be one’s first job, or the only job they can find at the time. If it wasn’t for these hard-working people, food service and shopping wouldn’t be possible. Fast food grill teams cook and prepare each part of your meal, and they do their best to make sure it’s fresh, hot, and just right. Cashiers everywhere work to make you feel welcome and help you find what you want. While you depend on them for all these things, they depend on you just for something to do. I’m sure many really are pleased to assist you any way they can, but it would please them even more if you were a little more respectful and appreciative of their efforts. Here are some things you can do to not take their work for granted:
Be considerate. Dictionary.com gives this definition of the word: “Showing kindly awareness or regard for another’s feelings, circumstances, ect.” This point really can sum up the whole of this article, but I mention it because there is nothing worse than a rude, irate customer! Such people can ruin anyone’s day. If a mistake is made, if you cannot be immediately assisted, or if you’re not happy with something, please don’t be rude, demeaning, and demanding to the employees (or the management). They are doing their best to tend to hundreds of other customers and responsibilities. It can be overwhelming enough as it is, so if you must confront somebody about an error, do it with a cool, level head and minimal (or no) derogatory language. Also, make an effort to point it out right away if you can. You might keep future mistakes from being made.
Be ready. Cashiers aren’t mind readers. Know what you want when they are ready to serve you, and tell them exactly what you want. If you want the combo meal, speak up and mention you want the combo meal. If you’re looking for something at a store, describing exact and defining details like style, brand, and type can be very helpful to associates who are lending you a hand. Make sure your cash, your payment card, and any coupons you might have are on hand and valid when you are ready to pay as well.
Clean up when you’re done. Just because somebody else is paid to clean up the messes in the store, doesn’t mean such a courtesy should be ignored. It takes only a few seconds out of your life to walk your trash to the trash can. Don’t waste liquids either. If someone is dealing with a trash bag full of unfinished drinks, it can be very messy and time consuming to clean up. I’ve had personal experience; it’s not fun. Don’t trash a store either. Try to keep the displays neat. Have you ever picked up something you thought was on sale, but found out at check out that it wasn’t? It was probably because it wasn’t in the right place. Help avoid this misunderstanding with others by returning any unwanted merchandise to the area where you first found it, or at least take it to a fitting room and an associate will put it back.
Regard hours of service. Understand that, near the beginning or end of shift or business hours, some preparation needs to be done for the next time or day of service. So, try not to be a last minute customer. Most people may not have a huge problem with late customers, but some closing shift employees can’t finish their jobs and leave while patrons are still in the store. It’s not openly admitted, but it’s especially annoying in retail if you don’t mind me saying. If you do happen to find yourself still around near closing time, try not to be long for the sake of the people still working.
Follow store policies. Most stores would like receipts and tags when doing returns. Only one coupon can be used per transaction. Clearance items cannot be returned. Become aware of how transactions like exchanges, returns, and discounts work at your store, and do your best to comply with them. I wouldn’t think store policies are too strict or too difficult to follow anyways. Business policies are usually set forth by corporate management to ensure the well-being and production of their profits. Anything going against them would affect the way and how much money is made. There also isn’t much employees can do to change or override the policies. And management shouldn’t try to work against them either. Your best bet is just to follow to the procedures or practices of the store, because you probably won’t get what you want any other way.
Watch your children. I’ve seen a few interesting Retail Robin memes involving experiences with parents and families. If you bring small children to the store with you, keep them close to you. Employees (and probably even other customers) don’t find it cute or adorable when rambunctious children are all over the store and making a mess of it. They also might get hurt if they are on or around some of the work equipment.
It may be hard to believe, but the lack of civil and courteous regard in customer service establishments is one of the the hardest things its workforce has to face. They’re paid to help you, and some even genuinely want to, but it isn’t really worth the work if you’re insensitive. They’re working hard to pay bills and provide for themselves and their families, much like you do I’m sure. So, be kind and try to make their day instead of spoiling it. Keep your children and yourself under control. Help them help you. Respect the property and the policies. Call them by name, compliment their hard work, give them a tip if you feel generous. It doesn’t matter who it is or what they do, everyone wants to be accepted and appreciated. Just a little bit of kindness towards your fellow cashier or fry cook the next time you go out shopping or out to eat is the best kind of paycheck they can get!