Blogs » Here I Go Again » Dealing With Customers


The holiday season is coming up close, and I know retail stores are getting their stores and employees ready for a hectic few months. That means blackout dates starting, larger shipments of product to keep consumers happy, longer and later workdays, and the dreaded Black Friday, in November.

One other thing that retail workers face that few people acknowledge is the customer attitude toward the holiday season. I can remember when I worked in the mall, my least favorite part of working holidays were the customers. The rest of the work was cake compared to them.

I know very well how irritating it is when a store is out of stock of something I really wanted or wanted to get for someone else, but it isn't the employees fault that they sold out completely.

When stores get shipment, sometimes the company didn't see the need to send more than a few of a certain item because they saw it selling better in a bigger or different store, and the employees didn't have any say in what was shipped or what quantity was given to the store. Sometimes, the store is able to order the item, which is inconvenient, but the item is still available.

I can comprehend this information because of working in a small store in Victoria with the nearest store of the same company being 2 hours away in any direction, and I had my fair share of explaining as to why we didn't have certain items. I had some people that were more than okay with waiting and understanding, but the majority of people I dealt with were the complete opposite. I have been called every name in the book because we ran out of something, as if that was going to magically make the item appear if I was yelled at enough, I've even been assaulted by a customer because the store was out of stock of something they wanted.

This type of attitude is not only ineffective, but it makes the employees less willing to help others simply because they don't want a repeat performance, and from personal experience, management doesn't do much to help. I've been told to just keep a smile no matter what, just take a 2 minute break and regroup, or simply just get over it. That type of advice may work 10% of the time, and the other 90% it just adds on to the stress and irritation.

I'm not the only person that can tell horror stories of customers during the holiday season.

I want to hear from others working in any retail store. What has been your worst experience? What's your least favorite part of the upcoming season? How do you plan on dealing with unruly customers?