Friday, July 9, 2010

An Open Letter to Shoppers

Dear Consumers,

Where are your manners?  Does your mother know you treat people this way?  Or is she the one that taught you that it’s OK to be a pain-in-the-ass/self-entitled asshole?  What ever happened to saying ‘please’ or ‘thank you’?  Since it’s obvious that many of you have never had a position in retail, I’ll let you in on a little secret: saying please, thank you or even just smiling at customer service workers really means a lot to them.

I work two jobs in the summer time, and it just so happens that this year, both of them are in retail.  I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among many customers from all walks of life: People are effing rude!  Many people approach, completely ignore my friendly greeting, avoid eye contact with me, and start ordering me around as if I were their personal servant.  “Give me two of these.” Or, “I’ll take one of those.”

Well, Saskatoon: I am not your servant and your sense of fucked-up entitlement is exhausting to deal with.  Reality check: No one who rings through your Canadian Tire purchases or serves you meals at a restaurant is yours to order around and treat like dirt under your shoe.  Instead of passing judgement about why you THINK we work in what you seem to view as a “menial” job or unimportant job, first realize that you know nothing about us, and therefore you don’t have any idea why we work in these positions.  And the reasons we have are not any cause for you to look down your nose at us or disrespect us.

Some of us are students, working our way to becoming doctors, lawyers, writers or teachers.  Some of us are single moms, working hard to make ends meet and give our families what they need.  Some of us started in the job and realized we’re REALLY good at it, and we just plain love it.  Some of us are wives/mothers who need something to fill their day while their kids are in school.

Whatever the reasons, they are good ones for us, and should be of no consequence to you, the customer.  Ever person working for their living is equally worthy of respect and good treatment, whether they are your doctor or your grocery store teller. 

So please, next time you walk up to a cashier or into a restaurant, and are greeted with a smile and hello, return the greeting and maybe even use a few pleases when you ask for things, rather than giving orders.  It makes our day so much more pleasant, and you might even find it makes your own day better, too.

Jacquie (on behalf of all those in a customer service/retail job)

1 comment:

Lojo said...


I really can't think of another situation where strangers treat other strangers as shitty as they do in the customer service realm.

I'd like to know what reality some people live in where all people of value (regardless of their schedule, education, skills, financial or familial situation, deeper goals, the changing job market, etc.) are in the position where they can hand pick the caliber of job they want to work. During a recession, too. And of course, there is the stereotype that all retail jobs are horrible-- for losers. In my reality, my retail job pays me about $5 more an hour than any other social service oriented job (which is what I am educated in). Call me a loser, but I actually like to be able to pay my own bills and buy food. GO FIGURE. My favorite judgments come when I am being interviewed for others jobs. "You do what? For how long? Ewwww. Please get out of my office so I can fax your resume to all other businesses in the city and let them know you're just a retail loser."

All in all, people need to stop being such chachie, pretentious assholes and come back down to earth. And then possibly fuck themselves with a garden claw.