• Is the Customer Always Right?

    IRATE shoppers often complain about inefficient, unhelpful and, at times, rude salesclerks. But since the adage ‘the

    customer is always right’ prevails, few of these shoppers are aware that salespeople also have reasons to complain.

    In an article in the Easton, Pennsylvania, newspaper The Express, Gay Pauley aired a few of them. One, for example, was about the folks who saunter into a store declaring that they are “just looking.” Such will try on clothing or have the working features of a product explained in detail, knowing full well that they have no intention of buying it. While such nonbuying browsers tie up a clerk’s time, the next customer who actually desires to make a purchase must wait. To add insult to injury, salespeople often need to reorganize their merchandise because of thoughtless customers “who seem to enjoy mussing up shelves and racks.” Observed one clerk about this problem, “Sometimes I wonder how they keep their homes. Neat as a pin? Or looking like a disaster area?”

    Another complaint registered by salespersons is about the patron who asks to try on items that are clearly too small or too large for him or her. And there are some who insist on trying on nearly everything they see.

    The various reactions to a clerk’s polite question, “May I help you?” are another bone of contention. Salespersons report that they are assaulted by replies that are rude and unkind or that they are withered by an icy stare of disdain. Perfectly qualified saleswomen are not amused to hear, “I’d rather have a man help me.” Is it any wonder if clerks avoid shoppers who are overbearing, demanding, discourteous or downright nagging?

    Perhaps the most exasperating of all are those who are already late for work or an appointment when they rush into a store. They will quickly find something, then ask the clerk to get them a dozen or more of the item. And while the clerk goes off to fill their order, these people often rush out of the store before the clerk returns. Equally unnerving are people who hurry in just before the store is due to close and start trying on clothing. Result? Clerks miss their regular transportation and arrive home late, leaving them less time with their families.

    And what do salespeople think about the Christmas season when customers are supposed to have the Yuletide spirit? “As for the Christmas spirit,” lamented one clerk, “it is practically non-existent in the majority of shoppers towards the clerks.” Bemoaned another, “Shoppers are worse at Christmas than at any other time of the year!”

    Whether you are a customer or a clerk, courtesy, kindness and sincere appreciation will usually produce favorable reactions in people and make for good relations. As for people who are seeking to please God, they will always endeavor to conduct themselves in such a way that both customer and salesperson can always be right!

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