Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Shopper's Commandments

I’ve worked retail jobs on and off since the tender age of 17, so needless to say, I’ve seen my fair share of tranny behavior. (Yes, Just Jack, I’m stealing your word. But I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to describe these people.)

So, with the help of Lo, who also works a part-time retail job, I’ve composed The Shopper’s Commandments. Read them. Live them. Love them. Together, we can make the retail world a more pleasant place.

1) Thou shalt not assume that everything is on sale.
I’m acutely aware of the schemes and gimmicks stores use to get you to walk into their boutique. They’ll plaster huge SALE signs in the windows with 10 point font on the bottom spouting stipulations such as: 'Select Styles Only' or 'With the Purchase of Two Pairs of Jeans.' Marketing departments are sneaky bastards. However, if there is no SALE sign in sight, don’t think that you’re the lucky person to get a hidden bargain. This isn’t the black market or Let’s Make a Deal! If you want something cheap, go to Goodwill or Chinatown.

2) Thou shalt not treat salespeople like slaves.
Most two-year-olds can say “please” and “thank-you.” It’s not a hard concept. So, when you ask a salesperson to run to the back and grab you another size, color, style, etc., make sure you add a “please” to the end of your request and a “thank-you” when said item is brought out. You wouldn’t appreciate being ordered around at your thankless job anymore than we like being talked to like an ill-educated reject of society.

3) Thou shalt not enter businesses thirty seconds before closing time.
When your shift is over, you get to turn off your computer screen, grab your bag and coat, and head home. When a sales associate’s shift is over, we still have to straighten the store, sweep/vacuum the floor, windex the glass and mirrors, count the cash register, fill out the appropriate paperwork and run to the bank. This takes at least thirty minutes. So, when you enter the store right at closing time, take your sweet time perusing and inevitably not buying anything (which is the case a good 95% of the time), you cause us to stay even longer. We’ve already been on our feet for eight hours-we’re exhausted. All we want to do is go home, prop up our legs and down a few cold ones before we have to wake up and do it all over again the next day.

4) Do unto the merchandise as you would do unto your own.
When you try on merchandise, PLEASE, do not leave it thrown all over the floor of the fitting room. Not only does this force us to clean up YOUR mess-we are not your maid or your mother and shouldn’t have to act like it-but it damages the merchandise, which in turn, causes the prices to increase, which in turn, means you’ll be paying more and bitching to us about it. Instead, either hand it to us when you're done, or hang it up yourself. (PS-I know some people don’t take care of their things. These people are either filthy rich and can afford to continuously buy new clothing or are just plain lazy. If you’re filthy rich, you probably don’t shop in the stores I’ve worked at, and if you’re a lazy idiot, well, I’ve got no time for you.)

5) Thou shalt not rush employees when purchasing merchandise.
There are certain procedures the corporate office requires us to follow when ringing up customers. Please do not get exasperated, rude or impatient when we are simply following procedure. If we don’t do these things, we get reprimanded. In the time it takes you to express your disgust, you could have been out the door with your purchase. So take a deep breath, relax and let us do our job. If you’re in that big of a hurry, it’s probably your own fault. So if you want to be pissed off at someone, be pissed off at yourself. (Note: this commandment is null and void if Bubba is behind the counter and is slow in speed and intelligence.)

6) Thou shalt not allow thy children to treat stores like their own personal playground.
Just like we are not mothers and maids, we are also not babysitters. You made the decision to pop out these bundles of joy, so take accountability for them. If you can’t shop and keep your kids under control, hire a babysitter, hound your husband or bribe an unsuspecting friend/family member. Don’t let your little angels run around the store, slobber all over mirrors, throw merchandise all over the place…and worst of all, play dress-up and ruin countless items of clothing.

7) Thou shalt not treat dressing rooms as a garbage can (or for baby making).
This may be a hard concept to grasp, but dressing rooms are not black holes that swallow anything you throw on the ground. Someone has to pick up the gum, tissues, tampons and miscellaneous trash you decide to throw on the ground and that someone is us sales associates. (Shockingly enough, we don’t have janitors working at each of our stores.) So next time you think the two-second walk to the nearest trashcan is just too strenuous for you, consider how you’d feel cleaning up someone else's bodily fluids after a long day’s work. Same goes for bumping uglies. We don’t want to see it, hear it or clean it up. Save it for the parking lot. I’m sure Junior would love to learn he was conceived in Macy’s Lot 5.

8) Thou shalt not steal.
Given this is an actual commandment, this should be a no-brainer. Stolen merchandise means higher prices for the rest of us. So don’t be a selfish prick and either save up until you have enough money to pay for it or wait until your birthday when someone else can buy it for you.

9) Thou shalt not attempt to return worn merchandise.
Listen, folks. If you’ve worn something you just bought, it can’t be returned. End of story. No one wants the sweat-stained, beer-soaked, covered-in-dog-hair top you are now claiming “doesn’t fit” or “wasn’t what you were looking for.” If you liked it enough to wear out to show off to your girlfriends and impress your man, then it was clearly the right size and style for you. Don’t whine, don’t bitch. It’s not our fault that the purchase caused you to overdraft your account and now you don’t have enough rent money. We cannot, and will not, make exceptions for you.

10) Love thy salesperson as thy self.
While this coincides with commandment #2, it goes so much deeper than not acting like a demanding diva. When you enter a store and we say hello, say hi back. Let us know if we can help you. That’s our job, after all. Don’t be rude, don’t be condescending and most importantly, don’t act like you're better than us. We are people too and deserve to be treated with R-E-S-P-E-C-T. (Sing it, Aretha.) Who knows? You may just get that sale you're so desperately seeking…

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