Retail Monster

Dear Retail Employee,
Hi. I’m your customer. I am, in fact, human. I swear I am not trying to make your life miserable, (you seem to be doing a great job on your own). I am not out to get you. Really. I don’t mean to sound stupid, but could you help me?

Please?

Oh…guess not.

Looks like you are busy making passive-aggressive comments at the cash-wrap, so I’ll be brief.

I came in here because I wanted to buy something. I could’ve used that cool app on my phone and I could’ve had it delivered later tonight or at the latest, tomorrow. Instead, I loaded my kids into my ego-killing minivan and rolled over here, which means they’ll probably end up buying something too. Which means, point in fact, that I will be paying for their purchase as well.

Now that you’ve expressed how you really feel about me and all the rest of us who patronize this place, I guess I’m sort of wondering what I was thinking. I mean, I’ve got some nerve barging into this place and combing through your merchandise and then waiting patiently to give you my money, (which is in limited supply, mind you!), and then doing something carelessly insensitive, like standing in the wrong place, so that it appeared as though I was not minding the Ps & Qs of your establishment’s queue procedures. I totally deserve your derisive comments. I am, to read into your tone, a totally worthless waste of time. I am beneath you, I agree. I’m sorry to have troubled you. I should’ve known better.

I know how you feel.

Believe it or not, I was once a member of the tribe. I’ve been behind the counter. And, I might add, it was at a cool establishment just like yours. And I too fell victim to the mentality that it’s us vs. them. The customer is always wrong! Customers don’t really know what they want. They’re suckers!! They piss me off and bother me when I am trying to get something done.

I get it. Who do customers think they are?

Have I made my point?

It’s easy to feel under attack. Every day, every hour, is filled with some jack-weed who thinks he’s entitled to all of your time and devotion and woe be unto the poor clerk who disagrees. Customers can be unscrupulous. They can be disgusting and irritating and frustrating beyond belief! They can also choose to walk away. They can decide to vote with their feet and pocketbooks and you know what that means?

It means you can’t afford to be rude and grouchy.

You are the face of this place right now. Suck it up, Buttercup! We’ll all be gone soon and you can go back to what you were doing. Just smile and bide your time and then you can demolish us with your witty observations after we’ve left the building. Go ahead. I don’t mind. I did it too. It’s one of the benefits of being a retail monster.

Just don’t do it while I’m standing here or I might not comeback.

Of course, this time, with kids standing, expectantly, next to me and a human pile up in the line behind us, I demure and I make my purchase. I should’ve said nevermind. I should’ve walked. I should’ve protested. After all, those two new books I was eyeing are nine dollars cheaper online.

Nine. Dollars. Cheaper!

But I didn’t do any of that, because as crappy as your day is going, I don’t want to make it worse. And it’s not worth my energy. I really wasn’t trying to bother you. I was just trying to buy a few things. I’m truly sorry for coming in and adding more money to your boss’s bottom line.

But fair warning, you better take a deep breath. The holiday season is just starting. More suckers like me will be walking through that door in the next few weeks. They’ll be just as stupid and annoying as me; maybe even more so! But they might not be dumb enough to go through with their purchase, like I did. Maybe they’ll just sit home and order online so they never have to experience what it’s like to have an actual transaction with another human. Or, God forbid, maybe they’ll decide that today’s the day that you no longer have a job. They’ll ask for your manager and they will demand justice. It’s going to be like an epic day in Paris during the French Revolution. Someone’s head is gonna roll! Guess who?

All I’m saying is be careful. Not all of us are suckers and not all of us are morons.

May Black Friday bring you glad tidings and another year of employment,
That Customer

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