“Have you Hugged your Retail Workers Today??” (People Skills 101)

I work a retail job ๐Ÿ™‚ So does my boyfriend, and some of my best friends in New York ๐Ÿ™‚ We work at the Christian-owned craft store chain, Hobby Lobby ๐Ÿ™‚ We sell a variety of crafters things, like seasonal decorations, party supplies, scrapbooking/rubber stamps and paper, unfinished wood, clay, beads and jewelry making supplies, iron-ons, tie dye and t-shirts, paints, pastels, pencils and canvases and sketchbooks, we have our own custom framing shop, yarn, cotton thread, embroidery thread, sewing patterns and fabric, thread, synthetic flowers and flower arrangements (we do custom flower arrangements too) and two aisles of wedding supplies. ๐Ÿ™‚ oh, and the whole middle of the store is home decor stuff like chalkboards and wall hangings, picture frames, candles and furniture. It’s a pretty amazing retail store ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus we have tons of weekly sales and a coupon that takes 40% off any one item that isn’t already on sale. We’re pretty accommodating people.

Today, because one of our normal cashiers is out with a back injury, i was on the register all day instead of processing my freight in the Home Accents section. (basically, putting away all the stuff we got in delivery two days ago). I was kinda disappointed i wasn’t gonna get my stuff done, but it was whatever.
Everyone was absolutely wonderful. ๐Ÿ™‚ Honestly. Our customers are absolutely great, and i’m so thankful for them, and how understanding and friendly they are! But, there’s always a statistic. And when you get such wonderful people all day, you’re bound to get at least one truly awful person.

This middle-aged lady came up with four Thanksgiving decorations. Something about her attitude made me nervous; she just seemed very forceful and impatient. I was anxious to just get her out of the store, but she proceeded to start to pay by flinging change from her purse onto the counter. I patiently counted out $5.13 of her $36 in change, and keyed it in, because we have to do everything manually; no scanners at Hobby Lobby.
Instead, i accidentally typed $50.13, because i always get my zeros messed up. It said i owed her a bunch of change and printed a receipt.
Aww, crap.ย  Of all the people.
We both just sat frozen for a minute, and i wasn’t sure what to do.
Without saying a word, I quickly picked up the phone and paged El Little Mexican Manager, Pedro Martinez. (The lady is now telling me how she has her dog in the car and she doesn’t have time for this.)
Pedro and i have a rocky relationship, but he showed his true colors today. He came over and i explained it to him. He said what he had to do was “return” the four things, approve the return, and then ring them back in again. By now, there were 4-5 other people behind this lady who is still griping her black heart out.
She starts whining to the mom behind her, and said again that her dog was in the car and she came in for one thing and this is what happened. I explained to her what we were doing and she started telling me AGAIN about her stupid, frickin’ dog in the car, like i cared or like it would somehow make me go faster, and i politely said i understood and we were almost done. She rolls her eyes and says “oh, iย BETย you do!”
Finally, i handed her the return receipt and said i needed her to sign it and she flung the pen at me and said “no YOU sign it! Its your mistake, doll, and i’m not putting up with this-” and she kept going on and on about i made this mistake and she shouldn’t have to do anything, even sign a receipt, to fix it.
…And i just looked at her. I couldn’t believe a fully grown woman was giving me the same bullroar that my 8-year-old sister did when i lived at home.
I was like “Umm, excuse me-” And Pedro quickly interjected and just said “okay, please just approve the credit card transaction and then you’re all set-”
And she goes “UM, NO, I-” And he points out that all she needs to do is clickย okayย on the PINpad. She snatches the receipt out of my hand and walks out the door.
i just stared at Pedro. i couldn’t believe this had happened to me; that this fully grown woman made a complete and total idiot of herself in front of 4 other adults and at least one kid.

I wasn’t going to cry. Absolutely not.

The mom looked down at her daughter who was about 7 and said “Don’t you ever do that do someone, you understand? You don’t ever treat people like that.”
She came up to me and i cashed out all her craft stuff, and she said “Don’t you even worry about; some people are just so ignorant. That was awful, and she had no right to treat you like that.”
And Pedro just smiled at me “it’s okay…you’re okay…”

Then i started crying.

Like, real, lip trembling, hand shaking, tears-crying. Every person who observed the whole thing was so nice to me and said i did just fine and complimented me on not completely losing it, and that only made me cry harder.

Pedro gave me a 20-minute break instead of a 15, and i cleaned the coffee maker in the breakroom and talked to Kathie, from Fabric. She’s a mom, and it was helpful to tell the story and get it all out, and i cried a bit more. I was totally okay!!! ย I really was; i’m a big kid and i’ve been yelled at before, plenty of times…I just couldn’t understand that crazy woman…

One of the cashiers paged me to go to my register, and Pedro cancelled it. I looked at Kathie. “I think he thinks i’m broken… X’D ”

When i came back i told him “Just so you know, i appreciate the long break, but i’m a big kid, and i’ve been yelled at before. I just couldn’t believe a grown woman would make such a fool of herself; it was so dumb…”
Pedro nodded and smiled and said “Of course; i know!! i knew you were okay, but i know that when you get frustrated, or angry, it’ll make you cry. I know because i’m the same way. i just wanted you to know i understood and that if you wanted a minute to get it out, that was okay. And honestly,” (this was the best part) “If there weren’t so many other customers behind her, I would have gone off on her for you. Because that was just unacceptable.”
I just smiled.

So i got chewed up and spit out by my one rotten customer today, (the worst customer i’ve had in my 4 months of being there.) But, i got a better relationship with my manager, and i hope it will stay that way…I think our new assistant manager, Ron, is teaching him that you need to treat your people well, and they’ll die for you. Because i know Marth and i would follow Ron to the bitter end, and he’s only been here for a month or two. Because Ron knows if he wants good people, he has to treat them well. I think Pedro’s catching on too ๐Ÿ™‚

On the flip side, I got to talk to a sweet girl who’s birthday is September 2nd, (she just turned 9) and she’s having a sleepover party. She was getting canvas tote bags and puffy paint to do with her friends. ๐Ÿ™‚ I needed to ask Pedro a question, and she asked what he looked like so he could keep an eye out for when he came to my register. I told her he was the short guy with dark hair, and she spotted him right away and was super proud of herself!! X’D it was so cute ๐Ÿ™‚
There was also a sweet mom; she was so great…As a retail worker, you see lots and lots of parenting styles.
Some are like my mom who kinda let their kids be adventurous and they can look and touch but know better than to ask for or break anything, and the threat of “okay, fine, see ya later!” was a common thing when we didn’t come when we were called.
Some are more annoying then their kids, when they give the kids anything they want, at any cost, and those same people usually tend to have either horribly behaved kids, or normal kids with horribly behaved parents. I had one lady with a baby about 1 1/2 years old, and all she would do was yell “STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP! STOPPIT!!” For the entire 3 minutes of her transaction; way more annoying than her kid was.
But my favorite parents is what my mom always tried to be, and she’s actually gotten better at it. This lady had a 2-3 year old, and she squirmed and ran off at one point, and she just calmly and quickly chased her down and scooped her up…when she started to fight in line, she said “hey, hey…I need your help! Can you put these on the counter for me? Can you put the basket away?”
As the baby, of course, walked right past the basket holder and the mom sweetly redirected her, and showed her where it went…I couldn’t even deal; i just kept smiling!
It made me happy to see a parent who was bigger than her three-year-old, at least in public. It was super amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ i wish i could see her again and tell her how awesome she is ๐Ÿ™‚

But seriously. This is the life of a retail worker ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s work, its tiring. Its busy, it takes alot of energy. There’s strained relationships and best friends. There’s good people and there’s losers. You never know what has happened to the cashier 15 or 10 minutes ago, so please, make it your goal to be their favorite customer that day, no matter what happens. Especially if they make a mistake.
Tip your waitresses…and hug your retail workers, y’all. ๐Ÿ™‚ โค


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