I am of the assertion that anybody has worked in retail for any amount of time can quickly and easily reel off multiple anecdotes of the most worryingly stupid kind. A personal favourite of mine was when a woman asked a colleague of mine if we sold fresh air. (Only to then say she meant air freshener and continue to look slightly angry at the initial reaction to her question.)
Although I’m unsure as to whether its purely the ridiculousness of some questions or being at work for eight straight hours that makes these people and their behaviour so damn annoying, the fact still remains: the customer is almost NEVER right.
In no particular order:
1. Stingy Sally
Stingy Sally is one to watch. Sally will be really sweet and lovely, an act she will continue throughout all of your future conversations with her. She will be polite and you will always have pleasant enough small talk when she reaches your till.
However, Sally will always bring two brands of the same item to the till and then nonchalantly ask for you to check which one the cheapest is. She will then, just as casually as she asked, lean over the counter and then you, in order to find out the answer first. If she’s happy with the result, she will slide back to her previous position and either smile, or claim she only really asked because she is shopping for someone else. If she’s unhappy, she will lead to the scene of the crime and point out the offending sticker.
Meanwhile, the smiling does not leave. She is seething, and yet knows deep down that starting a riot over 2p is not socially acceptable.
And god help you when Stingy Sally goes all out and hands you thirty-two vouchers cut out from various magazines and newspapers.
She will probably giggle whilst doing it.
2. Empowered Edna
You can spot the Empowered Edna as soon as she walks into the shop — although she is not empowered as soon as she walks in, so at this point you can just call her Edna I suppose. She is likely to have her nose in the air and appears to be picking up a lot of items to just put them down again. She breezes around the shelves, clearly knowing exactly what she wants to buy, but is taking too much pleasure in picking things up and scoffing at them to actually commit to her shopping list.
Finally, the moment has arrived. Edna is at the checkout. She will watch your every movement and correct your back packing skills. Then, the bags are passed over, the money has changed hands and you, poor little naïve child, think that Edna was just an Edna.
But, she returns. And there is no mistaking it. She’s empowered. Her hair is now on end, her eyes swimming in fire; she’s clutching and waving around her receipt in a joyous rage.
You failed. Edna knows it and now you know it.
The cereal is £2.99 not £3.09.
3. No Manners Nige
No Manners Nige can also be referred to as iPhone Ian. Nige is the type of guy who doesn’t give one tiny little shit as to what he does. He will knock over displays, bump into little children and get annoyed when walking behind a slow old lady, because the whole world doesn’t want Nige to get to work.
He will reach the till and ignore your greeting, instead choosing to either count his money, or play on his phone. Of all of the seven customers, Nige is the easiest to ignore and yet for this reason he is the most infuriating.
There are also levels to the No Manners Nige. Level one will grunt a greeting. Level two will just ignore everything you have to say and leave. Fabulous. Level three will grunt out something he wishes to buy that is behind you. Level four will just point at it. And a level five will answer a call and shush you when you ask him if he requires cash back.
Right, okay then. Good one, Nige.
4. Hurried Helen
The Hurried Helen is not the most annoying of the seven customers, but she is definitely the most stress-inducing. Normally the Hurried Helen is actually a really nice person who doesn’t mean to be annoying in the slightest. Oh, but she is.
Helen will begin by darting around the shop, picking up items before running back to the baskets as she has too much. She may also do this a second time round with a trolley. She will get into the queue and realise she has forgotten something, leaving a pile of her shopping in the middle of the floor where she once stood.
She will arrive back, apologise and chat to you while you bag everything up. It’s then when Helen does her worst. As you open your mouth to utter her total amount, she’s off to do some more shopping. She will then return, presumably with another basket full of items, apologising to the six people in the queue she has just held up for the last ten minutes.
What on earth is that fundamentally urgent that you have to run around like a crazed fugitive every single damn day?
Get it together Helen, for the love of god.
And make a fucking list.
5. Five to Nine Fred
I struggle to find any excuse for the Five to Nine Fred.
The shop has been open since 7am. It is now five to nine in the evening and he apparently wants to stock up for Christmas. And Easter. And probably Halloween if the trolleys were big enough.
You’ve had thirteen hours and fifty five minutes to do this, Fred.
You, my friend, are the definition of an arsehole.
6. The Shattered Mum
Now, the Shattered Mum shares similar traits to the Hurried Helen. She knows what she wants to buy and yet she also knows that she should have written it down. The items are flying out of her mind like the children are flinging Mars bars from the shelves.
You feel for her, you really do. But the kids are begging for everything, and she saying no and it’s getting gruesome. There is crying, screaming, and more over-dramatics. As a last resort, Mum decides to let the kid’s role play as adults in an effort to make them stop crying, and pay for the shopping.
She gets the assistant involved. The child either throws the money at you, or gives you a hideously wrong amount, or gives up completely and tries to pocket it.
Mum, just don’t bring your kids shopping. It will be easier and more peaceful for the both us.
We might even end up getting on.
7. Chummy Charlie
Finally is the Chummy Charlie. Charlie is the lesser of the seven evils. Everyone knows that Charlie is a sweet guy, and yet all that does is make you feel guilty that you hate him with a burning passion.
The only reason for this is that Charlie normally comes in after all of the six customers above. He wants a chat but at this point, you just want your bed. He brings up multiple pointless conversations to which you smile but attempt to shut down immediately.
Charlie is persistent though, and will not leave until he has had a fifteen minute chat with you about the best butchers in the five mile radius.
Come in earlier, Charlie and there is a distinct possibility that we can have a two sided conversation.
Or at least whatever time you do decide to come in, be a proper mate and bring me a cyanide.