Sunday, December 04, 2005

Damn it Jim, I'm a Bookseller, Not a Miracle Worker!

...though if you are looking for a copy of that play we do carry it.

An open letter to the holiday shopping community,

Christmas time in retail always brings out the strangest people. I mean really if you want to study the sociological habits of our society you should get a job in retail this time of year. People are never more emotionally honest, needy, nice, greedy and desperate than in the last few weeks leading up to this holiday. It's the few nice ones that keep you going on long busy days when there's no break in the steady stream of customers.

Unfortunately the amount of nice customers gets smaller and smaller the closer you get to December 25th while the numbers of crazy/ mean people gets larger and larger, to use an old adage mean people suck.

To define mean people, well I guess that's easy, they are usually short tempered with you or pissed when you don't have what they're looking for. I guess I can relate, I mean there is a reason for everything like maybe they just waited too long to get that item on their gift list and now we are sold out, so they take their frustration out on you by throwing things or calling you names.

Still it's not my fault that you waited too long and now the store is out of what you wanted, so please don't take your anger out on me or my fellow co-workers. Oh and please believe me when I tell you we don't have something in the back room. If I thought for one minute we might have what you were looking for in the back room I would have gone back there to look for it. We are humans too, we aren't hoarding things in the back room and laughing after you leave.

(Cut to dream sequence as the sound of Wham's Last Christmas plays overhead)
Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! That fool he was looking for the Friends giftset and I told him we were out of it! Ah, ha, ha, ha, I am now in the back room sitting ontop of a whole box of it! That fool, oh to see the look on his face one more time when I said we were out of what he asked for, just priceless!

I mean come on doesn't it just make sense that we would want to hoard product in the back room where it won't sell. We couldn't stay in business if that were the case. Sometimes I wish logic were a mandatory topic in high school.

To define crazy, I mean, well mentally unstable. I don't want to spend a half an hour on the phone with you because you are too embarrassed to use the word sperm (it was in the title of the book) with a girl. I can't give you relationship advice, nor frankly do I really want to know all that much about your personal life. Please don't call from your hospital bed because you're lonely and need someone to chat with, I'm busy, I have a job to do. Please don't threaten to sue our distributors because the item you ordered has yet to arrive I promise we do our best to get what you've ordered as quickly as possible. Again we make money by selling stuff, we are not in business to keep you waiting and we feel bad when you have to.

Please don't give me a religious pamphlet or bible or a long political diatribe, it's not the right time or setting for religious or political recruitment. It's not funny if you let a box of white mice loose in the men's room. And speaking of the bathroom, please use the toilet, do not shit on the floor or for that matter behind the store where I have to clean up after you. Oh by the way, I'm not hitting on your 80 year old husband and we certainly aren't having an affair so please stop yelling at me.

That's what I mean by crazy.

I hope, based on this diatribe, that it doesn't seem like I don't like people and don't want to help them because that is honestly not the case. Nothing in the working world gives you greater satisfaction then helping a customer to leave happy and thankful having had a wonderful experience and wanting to return.

I live to please customers, it's the best part of my job, and the most important because without the customers we go out of business. I guess all I'm asking is for a little more courtesy and respect for what I do. I may not make as much as say your average McDonald's employee but that's no reason to think I'm stupid and don't know what I'm doing.

Thanks for reading and to all nice customers and my retail workin' brethren, props ya'll, props.
With love and respect,


Anonymous said...

Actually, I remember several times I succeeded in finding things in the back room, only to wish we had been out of it, just for spite.

It's this, and many other reasons, that I'm glad I got canned when I did.

battlemaiden said...

When I was home from college on break, years ago, I worked a retail job both summers and at Christmas. I empathize with you. When I go out shopping this year, I always try to be extra nice to retail workers because I remember how awful some people were to me when I was behind the counter. People can be terrible to each other!

Becca said...

Carl... yeah lucky you getting out of retail when you did. The really unfortunate thing about working so many retail Christmas seasons(going on 13 now)is that I am really beginning to hate Christmas. I dread this time off year and I'm turning into a real scrooge.

Battlemaiden... Thanks for that, it really makes me feel better that at least someone out there is trying to be nice to us retail slaves.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you still approach it with a great customer-serviced-based attitude. It just surprises me that the shmucks don't stay home and order on-line and help keep the sanity of everybody else.