dealing with irritating customers

Between us, the team here at Loyalzoo has decades of experience working in retail; we have had our fair share of dealing with irritating, funny, weird, happy, patient, impatient, grumpy or simply wonderful customers. I, Sol that is, recently overheard the shop assistant in the local supermarket; ‘Customers are a strange breed..’ and as funny as the statement is, it is also 100% true. Here is an unofficial list of 9 things customers tend to do, which the staff may not find so amusing – based on our own experiences.

  1. Customers not acknowledging the staff when they walk in. You’ll be greeting them, all smiles and cheerfulness, and in return you get evasive glances and firmly pursed lips. Frankly – this is just rude! (It is equally bad the other way around, mind you, so shop assistants take note)
  2. Moving things around. So often, customers pick up items, carry them around, nursing them like they were newborn puppies, only to put them down at a random place before exiting the shop. Indecisive ourselves – we get it. But please put it back where you found it. Juices in the bookshelf, books in the fridge, mugs in the crisp shelves, lacey pants amongst the mens underwear – between us we have seen it all.
  3. Answering the phone whilst you’re standing at the till to pay. It is rude, not only to the person at the till, but also to the people queuing behind you as you invariably slow down the process. Either wait until the transaction is finished, or let someone else in front if you have to answer.
  4. Not listening out for your order in a coffee shop. You would be amazed at the lack of brainpower present in the pick-up spot in your average coffee shop. Calling out ‘Double Latte’ three times before a confused looking gentleman grabs it and walks out, only to come back in raging, ‘but I ordered a hot chocolate!’. Just. Listen. Please.
  5. Making a mess with sugar, salt, pepper.. The condiment bar is sweet enough, put your sugar in your drink. And use the bins provided – they’re there for a reason.
  6. Tearing up napkins/receipts/stirring sticks/lids – just leave them be. Disclaimer – I too, admit to being culpable of this when visiting my mum. But boy is it annoying when you’re the person who has to tidy up. Those little bits go Everywhere!
  7. Sneaking past you to use the toilet. Newsflash, toilet-sneakers, the vast majority of staff are nice people – if you ask nicely of course they’ll let you use the toilet. If you sneak in trying not to attract attention, you’ll get little more than poorly concealed nasty looks.
  8. Thoughtless buggy brigades – most of us like children and babies. They are cute and entertaining, but mums and dads – listen up. Control your buggies! Back in the day when I worked in a café, I’d regularly have customers walking into the café, promptly parking the buggy in the most inconvenient place ever; ie where it blocks every other customer. Ask the staff if they can help you find a place for it, they will know the best place.
  9. Crazy kids – the aforementioned warmth towards children and babies is quickly withdrawn when those chubby little fingers are prodding the sandwiches on display, or smeering babyccinos across the seats and the floor. Keep in mind that you can’t just take time off parenting when you’re in a café – the romantic idea of spending your days in cafés with a good book or a friend when you have the kids? Forget it. They need supervision.


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