Thursday, May 20, 2010

Retail Wednesdays!

Okay, so maybe it's not Wednesday, per se, but it is pretty close, and I HAD to post this up for you guys right away, and when you read on you'll understand:

Hello all! No, this is not AchingHope writing. You can call me Mountain Mouse (yay internet anonymity!). When AchingHope asked me to guest write this week's Retail Wednesday, I was quite thrilled and honored. You may wonder how I am qualified to write such a post. I happen to be a (now former :-( ) coworker of Aching Hope's, at the very same store that has entertained you all for the past several weeks.

Yes, I totally cheated and asked my friend to write my post for me. No, I've never done this in college with a paper, silly. But because I'm currently not in retail and not in my home state, Mountain Mouse graciously agreed to be my slave... I mean, agreed to be my guest. Any comments in brackets are mine, and I dug out the pictures from the web as well.

Clearly, then, I've seen my fair share of, erm, interesting customers. Seriously, I've considered writing a book. It would be a manual on how customers should behave, so as not to drive their friendly neighborhood sales associate insane.

Which is what I've decided to do with today's post. (It's easier than going back and making sure I'm not repeating anything Aching Hope has said!) So sit back, relax, and, if you recognize yourself in any of the following examples, I'm sorry. Please don't feel too judged. [Aw, see how nice she is. I go out of my way to try and offend people.]

Things a Good Retail Customer Should Know (or, How Not to Make Poor Low-Wage Teenagers and Young Adults Cry at the End of Their Shifts)

1. Know and Follow Store Hours.
Believe it or not, most stores are not open 24/7. We don't live here, and we don't sleep behind the register at night (okay, there have been times when I've wanted to lie down on the carpet, but I've never done it, I swear). [I came seriously close once. I was sitting on the floor and leaned over... And then my co-worker warned me that I would get fired if I started snoring on the floor. Ha! I never snore.] Most of us have to go home and do something better with our lives like catch up on sleep, finish homework, or stalk people on Facebook.

If I was a cat, this would've been me.

So, when you enter a store, especially at any time that can be considered "evening," take a look at the hours posted. They're usually right on the front door. The one you had to open to come into the store. Really, we're not hiding them. Even better, call us up before you come! And when we tell you what time we close, please take us seriously. The following actually happened to me last week:

(phone rings at 7:41)
Customer: Hi, what time do you close tonight?
Me: 8:00.
Customer: Oh, we live 15 miles away. If we get there at 7:55, will you stay open for us?
Me: We close at 8:00. (I say the most simple response possible because, otherwise, my response would be to cry.)
Customer: Are you sure? You can't just stay open?
Me: No ma'am, I have to close at 8:00 (So that I don't lose my mind).
Customer: Oh, so it's like that.

I later found out she came in a few days later and complained to my coworker that I had said that we "wouldn't even answer the phone past 8:00." Whoops. [Sadly, this happened to me as well. *sigh*]

And people thought our store hours were bad

2. Know what you're trying to buy.
No, I cannot tell you what CD you're looking for by listening to you hum one line of a song you heard on the radio. No, I can't point you in the direction of the book you want if the only piece of information you can give me is that it has a blue cover, [Why is it always a BLUE cover??] the author's first name is Steve, or that when translated from Spanish, the title has the word "Heavenly" somewhere in the middle. I'd tell you to go research it on the Internet, but then you'd probably buy it off Amazon or something, and I'd be out of a job.

And sometimes what they're looking for isn't even a book
But a CD only sold on websites.

3. Know the return policy.
And for Pete's sake, save your receipt. No matter what. The minute you throw the receipt out is the minute that the item will break, spontaneously combust, or somehow become the exact opposite of what is wanted by the person for whom it was purchased. Most stores either post the policy somewhere near the registers or will print it on the receipt. Which is another reason you should probably hold onto it. Because saying you didn't know the policy is really a poor excuse for trying to get us to bend the rules for you.
Luckily, the store where I work has a system where we can look up past transactions if you're on our mailing list. Sometimes, however, this actually works less in customers' favor.

Customer: I'd like to return this item.
Me: Okay, do you have a receipt?
Customer: No. It was a while ago. (This sets off Red Alert signals in my mind, but I still have to go through the steps.)
Me: Oh, okay, well, if you're on our mailing list, we can look it up.
Customer: Sure, my name is _________.
Me: Ma'am, the last record of a transaction we have from you is over a year ago. Our return policy is 30 days.
Customer: Oh, really? Are you sure you can't just let me exchange it?
Me: Well, seeing as we stopped selling it months ago... No.
Customer: (walks out as angrily as possible.)

4. Know how you will pay.
If all you have in your wallet is an Amex card, you should probably find out if the store takes them before you spend an hour walking around and picking out items that you absolutely can't live without. If you want to write a check, make sure you have your driver's license with you. And if you're planning on paying with cash, it' usually a good idea to have enough bills and coins.
American money is usually preferred. I'm serious. The following is really true.

(A woman picks out about $3 worth of merchandise, and I tell her the total when she brings it to the counter)
Customer: (places a Canadian $5 bill on the counter)
Me: Sorry ma'am, I can't accept that.
Customer: B
ut it's five dollars! (Note that at the time, the Canadian dollar was worth more than the American dollar. I was actually trying to save her money!)
Me: I'm sorry ma'am, but our store cannot accept that bill.
Customer: Why not?
Me: Because this is the United States?
Customer: But our stores take American money all the time!

Sorry, Canadians, but I can't do proper conversions at my register. Needless to say, she didn't complete the transaction. [Yes, I had a dude offer me South American money once, and I didn't know what to say, and we stared at each other blankly a moment before he said, "Oh, you don't want that." No. No I don't.]

As pretty as these are, I want the more boring American variety.
Unless it's American Express.

5. Know where your children are and what they are doing if you bring them into the store.
Someday, if I ever have a store of my own, it will have a nice big sign that says, "All customers who leave their children unattended will be charged a babysitting fee." [That is an AMAZING idea!! You could get rich!] If I had a dollar for every time a customer walked in, told their children, "Don't touch anything!" and then proceeded to ignore them for their entire time in the store, I wouldn't have to work retail anymore.
If you have children, and you decide to bring them in public with you, please please please do not allow them to run around like crazy people. End of story.

Yup... That's pretty much Mountain Mouse
The Mum is somewhere off camera pretending to be embarrassed

So, there's five things you should know if you ever find yourself needing to walk into a store to buy something. Oh, and it doesn't hurt to smile back at the sales associate. We like knowing that there are people out there that acknowledge us as fellow human beings!

There you have it! I hope y'all enjoyed, and Mountain Mouse is new to the blogosphere, (kinda') so here's a link to her blog that way she can be forced to write another blog post over there. Mwahahahahah >:)

We curtsy in your general direction

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This is So Rambly, You'll Want to Bite Your Head off (Or Something Equally Violent)

I started writing this blog post like, AGES, ago and even though it's outdated it has some important info so I wanted to copy and paste it in here:

"Yes, you may have noticed that it isn't Wednesday. That's because there was a time vortex swirling outside of my window, and it caused some time fluctuations. You may be thinking, "but hey, Rebecca-Sunshine posted as usual." That's because Rebecca is so cool, and so non-flustered, that the time vortex bowed to her responsible nature and left her alone.

Okay. Myabe not. But I kinda' wish that all was true.

Anyway, I still wanted to post this, because it is a very important post. I'm gittin' outta' Retail. Yes. I'm quitting. *angelic singing* This means that I won't be doing Retail Wednesdays. I'll probably post about my new job, and there's some posts about Driving that I want to do.

What I wanted to do was post a letter that I wrote to my boss (I didn't give it to him), but I realized I really couldn't post it without serious ramifications. Or something like that. So instead..."

And that's when who knows what happened and I never finished, which is all sadness. I truly despise when such things happen, because you know something could have happened, and then it didn't. Like, I found the beginning of a story the other day, and I could tell it was going somewhere, but because I had started when I was like, 13, I knew I would never be able to write that story.

Anyway, this is SlumpvisMusings, NOT my writing blog so let me switch back over to Random Mode.

Because I quit a couple of weeks ago I have no retail stories. I don't even have any stories from my new job, except for the prank phone call. Hey! I could tell you that!

Wait, wait, focus.

Instead I'm going to tell you a long-winded tale that will eventually get to a point where I explain an experience I had where I was the customer instead of being the Crazy Retail Lady.

Let me preface this with a most oft' repeated quote: "Never meet people from the internet." You know, your mum tells you that, your dad tells you that, the mailman tells you that, and the crazy lady down the road with the dog from Hades tells you that.

Continuing on:

Last Friday the sis and I went to NYC! Yup.

I love this. It may have been in the middle of the city, but the Green was still alive and thriving. If I were a Greeny Enviro Person I would've just died from rapture. As it was, I snapped as many pictures as I could and tried not to think of too many stories.

This was an important place? Like, the Empire State Building or something? I don't know, I was distracted by something shiny.

And this was just another cool building thingy.

Anyway, we also went to the Strand (which was amazing!! I bought Shakespeare!!) and then we went to Borders. As some of you know my sister works for Borders instead of that other one. We looked around and there were NO seats, except the ones around the special events section, and we knew there was going to be a special event so we stayed away, found a quiet corner in the IR section and sat on the floor.

Nary a customer came by. There was the worker lady trying to put something away, and she couldn't find where it went so I tried to be helpful and point it out to her, but she ignored me so I shut up.

Yeah, whatever. I know as a Retail Worker that it's humiliating to admit that sometimes Customers see things you don't. All right. So I was trying to at least think nice thoughts toward the lady. Even though Customers see things I don't sometimes, and it saves time and energy to accept help instead of putting things in the wrong spot (cue OCD spazz out!!)

I was looking through the books while my sis went to the Special Room Where all the Poop Goes and I was browsing and started reading a book because it was way more interesting than I thought it would be. Suddenly I hear a grating noise. What is that grating noise? Why won't that grating noise stop?

I look up.

There is a Worker Person glaring at me. "Excuse me, excuse me." She kept repeating in an annoying kinda' nasally coughy voice that made me want to slap the nearest breathing human being.

She wasn't human, so I didn't slap her. Instead I said, "Yes?"

"We don't like customers to sit on the floor and read. If you must read there are chairs in the special events section?"

"Okay," trying to be demure and not stare at her overly rudely. She stomps away. She stomps back.

"Excuse me, ex-"


"I'm just waiting for my sister."

"Well, the chairs are right over there."

Well, Miss Snooty-pa-Tooty, I don't care. I ignore her and wait until the sis comes back. Fortunately, instead of sitting in the Special Events corner (with the uncomfortable plastic seats [I don't want to sit on no plastic seats, I was mad tired. Give me a floor over plastic any day. Unless it's a cup. I'd rather drink from a plastic cup than a cup made...of...floor?]) there were comfy seats open. So we sit and read.

It's quiet.

For two seconds.

Until the three immature teenagers in the aisle over start hackling like hyenas reading really bad puns. Se-ri-ous-ly. The one girl is lounging her head in the guys lap and the other girl keeps standing up-sitting down-standing up-sitting down. I'm waiting for the "Excuse Me" lady to come stalking over, but she doesn't, so I figure she only does that to the IR people.

Oh-ho, no!

My sis and I are about to leave and so I return the book to the IR section and what do I see? Five pre-teens sitting on the floor reading a book!!!! I thought they didn't like customers to do that? Hm? But apparently the "Excuse Me" lady just didn't like me. Maybe she was the same Worker that wouldn't listen to me try and help her and she was ANGRY!!!! or something.

I don't know.

But my annoyance didn't stay around for long because my sis and I went to the Jekyll and Hyde Club to meet up with people from the Internet.

But wait! I thought your mailman told you not to meet up with people from the internet?

It's okay, kids. I got permission from my folks.

No, seriously. My sis and I were standing outside of the Club waiting for Nikki Stafford and other Losties and I thought I was going to DIE. This was breaking Rules! I am not a Rule Breaker! However, the sis wasn't about to leave, and it was a good thing to, or else I would've missed out on a pretty sweet napkin diagram.

Okay, now that I've probably confused just about everyone, here are some links to other posts about the Lost Meet-Up I went to, which probably most of you don't know that's kinda' what this post was about.

Those are all the ones I know about.

Oh, and I may have forgotten to tell you that I'm kinda' sick and that Ibuprofen stuff kicks in just about now, and I like, never take drugs so when I do my brain goes loopier than... Something realy loopy. Like, um, earrings?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Scary Things

There were quite a few books and movies that truly freaked me out when I was younger. I still can't figure out why. Especially when they are other NORMAL people's faves. Yes. Normal people are scary, aren't they?

I was totally inspired to write this post by Hannah/Palindrome.

They are not in any order at all, just by memory alone. I'm sure I'll forget one or two things that creeped me out too much, but my brain shut them away.

Fern Gully.

My sis just bought this for my other sis, Rae, for her birthday and I still got shivers thinking of watching it. Can't you feel yourself just beginning to tremble in fear? No? Huh. That's weird.


Man, those donkey's were SCARY! I was terrified of turning into a donkey and then being swallowed by a whale for years! In fact, I'm at the beach right now, and looking out at the ocean *shudders* I'm not growing a tail yet, so that's a good sign.


I didn't even see all of this movie (just part of it on TV once) and it gave me nightmares for years.

Where the Wild Things Are

I was so scared of this I refused to read it. Only recently my friend read it to me when we stopped in a Barnes and Noble. It wasn't really scary anymore, I just found it stupid instead. It was weird. Just weird.

There is another book that I was completely TERRIFIED of. It had a little bear, or something, that went out into the woods late at night and there were creepy creatures with lanterns. I thought it was Little Bear, but it wasn't. If I ever remember I'll post it up here, but for now that's all I can remember.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wait... Wait... Yes! Yes, it Truly is Retail Wednesday!

Oh my goodness. I haven't been here for so long. I feel like I need to reintroduce myself to my blog.

Me: Hello, SlumpvisMusings

SM: Get on with it, you non-denominational pastor's kid!! [said in the voice of someone else I know with the initials SM. You know who you are ;)]

Ahem. Anyway. Getting on with the story. Today I will be focusing solely on the lady, whom I will call IdiotWithScreamingDemonChildren, or Iwsdc, for short.

Imagine Iwsdc as this Chicken.

It was a couple of weeks ago and I was working with my co-worker who will be called Kay. Kay and I were standing there on a quiet morning (well, we weren't standing on the morning, I'm not sure how that would be managed, but we were standing and it was morning. Anyway.)

This cow is trying to stand on the morning.
Either that or he is spazzing out from Demon Children.

The lady entered. With the Demon Children. We were in no way prepared for what would happen in the next hour. Okay, I take that back. That week had been Bring Your Idiot Children Shopping With You week, so we had slowly been exposed to worse and worse behaved children. Like with poison. Or ducks!


Nevermind. Ducks are better than children. Ducks are fuzzy.

The lady laughed as her children screamed and ran around her, leaving a trail of bagel crumbs along the floor (must've been practicing for playing Hansel and Gretel. I no longer hate the mother that sent of those two children like I used to.) "It's so hard to bring the children around with me."

Under my breath I mumble, "It wouldn't be if you disciplined them." Fortunately the Demon Children had permanently damaged her children and she didn't hear me. I left her to look at the books while her children played in the back in our children's section. Our children's section is basically a corner of the store that holds a Duplo table.

Imagine the girl screaming.
With a bagel.
Or holding a screaming bagel.

Or screaming toast!!

This is amazing.

I stayed at the front, too afraid to move. Kay, fearless and brave kept going to the back to check on the kiddies. Then she came back, her eyes wide. Iwsdc had given her an Evil Look of Doom. We heard gleeful cheering, as if the gates of Hell were being opened in the very back of our store (okay, maybe I'm exagerating a little bit, but have you heard children lately? And not the sweet kind of children that I adore, but the EVIL children that don't know what polite means?)

Taking a deep breath I made my way to the back of the store on the pretense of "organizing." I can't see the Demon Children, but I hear a weird noise, so I stop "organizing" (Read: cowering behind the shelf) and look over at the children. They are opening a box and pulling out plastic wrapped toys while the Iwsdc stands nearby watching them while glancing at a book.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! What is wrong with you???!!!

This is how shocked I was

I kneel down, grab the plastic wrapped toys right from the Demon Children's hands. The mother is all concerned and kneels down next to me (thinking back to it, she was awkwardly close to me.)

Does it LOOK like you can place with this?
No. It is a box. You're children cannot play with this box.

Iwsdc: "Are they not allowed to play with this?"
Me: (in my head: NOOOOO!! It's closed and plastic wrapped, you idiot!) outloud: "We have to sell this." (and yes, I said this in my "I'm-trying-not-to-bite-your-head-off" voice.")
Iwsdc: "Oh, I didn't know that."
Me: (in my head) "That's because instead of a brain you have a fish swimming around in your head! No, I take that back, you have a dead fish floating in your brain that is filled with dense water!) Outloud: "..." (while not glaring at her.)

Haha... Can you imagine if her head really did look like this?

She herds her children to the front. I stay in the back because, lo and behold, there is a nasty half-eaten bagel in the basket where the extra blocks are supposed to do. Yeck!! Blek!! Apparently, The Demon Girl Child gave up on being Gretel. At this point, she would be dead in the forest. As it was, she was still making noises in the front with Demon Boy Child.

I can overhear Iwsdc, partly because it is a small store, but mostly because she has a LOUD voice (remember the screaming children? You don't? Poke the nearest person next to you with a chainsaw, listen to them scream, all while listening to heavy metal music. That's about what the Demon Children sounded like. You'd scream eternally after that if you were the mother of those Demon Children too.)

On second thought,
set the chainsaw down
And back away slowly

She decides to buy the product that her children were unpacking.

I am surprised and say to myself, "Maybe she's not that bad."

But wait, I didn't hear the rest of the conversation.

When Iwsdc and her Demon Children have left the store I feel comfortable enough to return to the front.

Yes, I was hiding. You would've been too, trust me.

Dude! I want one of these!!

That's when Kay told me the rest of the story. Kay brought up the damaged product and Iwsdc points to the ripped up (probably sucked on) box.

Iwsdc: (whispering) "I don't think my children did that."

Right, because you weren't staring at them while they opened it. It's a good thing I wasn't standing there when she said that because I would've gone Evil Potato Chip on her.

Me, plotting.
Mwahahahaha >:)