1. The customer is almost never right.
Every customer is different. Some customers are impatient. Some are annoying. Some talk too much, while others don’t say anything. The one thing that allows us to lump them all into one category is the fact that they very rarely know what they are talking about.
For anyone who would like to argue that “the customer is always right,” here is a situation I dealt with this past week:
An African American couple came into the store and approached me at the register. They were probably in their 40s or 50s, and they wore business casual attire. An ordinary-looking couple, if you’d ask me. The words that came out of the husband’s mouth were: “Excuse me, uh, where are your computers and electronics?” I begged his pardon. “Are your computers downstairs?” After I confirmed with him that he was looking to buy a computer and came to JCPenney for this transaction, I had to do everything in my power to refrain from shouting, “N****, DOES THIS LOOK LIKE P.C. RICHARD & SON?!”
2. All of the words to “The Story of Us” by Taylor Swift.
I can measure how long I’ve been in the store by counting the number of times I’ve heard this song.
3. Theft is more common than you’d think.
People steal a lot of shit. Of course, there is a loss prevention team that combats this, but they choose their battles wisely. Most employees would hate to see shoplifters get away with it; however, sales associates are not allowed to take action and try to be heroes. If we notice anything suspicious, we are supposed to report it to loss prevention.
I rang a customer up for a single black towel, and he said nothing to me throughout the transaction. Instead of walking out of the store with his purchase, he walked back into the store and disappeared into the boys’ clothing section. I watched this same man walk out of the store about ten minutes later carrying the JCPenney bag containing a black towel that looked way heavier than it did when I bagged it.
4. There are four different kinds of old people.
1. The friendly
These are usually the old women or old couples that say, “Oh, what a nice young man,” and other things like that. They are surprisingly patient, given their situation, and they usually shop with/for their grandchildren.
2. The miserable
Pertaining to the aforementioned “situation” in which all elderly persons find themselves, these are the old men and women who acknowledge that they are short on time. The last thing they want is for their lives to clock-out in the middle of a JCPenney purchase. For this reason, they are extremely impatient and grumpy. But if all of my friends were dying, I would be, too.
3. The creepy
These are the old men who walk around the children’s shoes section by themselves, just browsing. These are also the old women who smile at me when I bag their lingerie.
4. The bat-shit crazy
These are the elderly people who curse out employees on a regular basis. They call basically anyone “stupid” if they don’t know something about the store, and they almost always ask to speak to a manager. When the manager comes out, he/she receives the same treatment as would any other employee. These disputes normally begin over the price of a blender or bath towel.
5. Latino people buy a lot of children’s socks.
I don’t know if there’s any specific reason for this. They just do.
6. People with kids are usually more patient.
A majority of people who work in retail speak unfavorably of customers with children, but I sometimes prefer these customers. They are instinctively more patient because they have to be. Kids are awful. Especially when they’re old enough to walk and throw a hissy fit and run away and hide in a sweatshirt rack and knock over expensive items that their parents obviously aren’t going to pay for because the whole family is already out of the store by the time an employee realizes something’s broken. Inhale. Exhale.
7. The less English the customer speaks, the more likely he/she is to pay with cash.
It’s never good to assume anything, but profiling people saves a lot of time. Stereotypes are fantastic shortcuts. Just ask anybody that works for the TSA.
8. There is a God.
Haha. Just kidding. No there isn’t.
I’d love to sit here and talk about how I’m so thankful for this opportunity to make easy money, and how I’m so appreciative of the fact that a company was willing to hire me, or that they actually responded to my application for that matter. But JCPenney will basically hire anyone, so that doesn’t make me feel any better.
And I know, the economy blows. I know people aren’t spending as much money as they used to. I know companies aren’t hiring. I feel for the people who lost their high-paying jobs and were forced to settle for jobs in retail, food services, etc. I really do.
But a college degree should be worth more than $8.50/hr, especially when it costs upwards of $80,000 to get it (from a New Jersey state school). And especially when it’s combined with a brain that’s full of ideas and stuff. A brain that’s always trying to figure something out – a brain that begs to be challenged with a problem to solve.
The only challenge I face involving this job is figuring out what to wear to work. The store has a very lenient dress code. And I mean, it’s not rocket science. It’s JCPenney.