How far?

Recent events at work have prompted me to question how far a sales clerk must go to avoid giving poor customer service?  Is a customer entitled to hours of a clerk’s time?  Should the clerk (who is probably not making much more than minimum wage) be forced to become a customer’s personal shopper?  How about their interior decorator?

Should the customer be entitled to know when the clerk is working again in case she (*ahem* or he… this is purely hypothetical, after all… sure…) has any more questions or needs any more help?  If so, is it okay for the clerk to… fudge… a little on the hours she (or he….) is working just so she can be guaranteed some alone time?

At any point is it acceptable to say, “I’m sorry, but my schedule just doesn’t allow me to devote so much time to one customer”?  Should the clerk just suck it up and help the customer the best she can?  Other customers and obligations be damned?  Even if this customer is maybe spending $50 after taking up hours of my her time?

Would this customer’s behavior be more acceptable if it weren’t the Christmas season?  What if it weren’t during the time of year when the store takes in twice as much freight as “normal” and is having to work twice as hard to even pretend to find room for it?  Would it be more acceptable if the one clerk that has been singled out is the only one who is truly responsible for making sure the stock gets out on the floor?  Even when there are dozens of other clerks to choose from?

I guess I don’t really have the answers, or I wouldn’t even be asking the questions.  I know what I want the answers to be, but I have a feeling the “right” answers are opposite that.  Maybe the clerk needs to set up a sort of blind date system where she, regretably, receives a very important call partway into the interaction.

Retail employees should be given tips.  At least in situations like these.  Mandatory 20% gratuity.  If I’m she’s going to get in trouble because the work isn’t getting done, she might as well get and extra $10 out of it.  A thank you should be enough, but frankly, it isn’t.  And being told God put me into her life isn’t enough either.


3 thoughts on “How far?

  1. So glad I am not the customer in question. Because while I may have monopolized your time previously, I know for a fact that I haven’t mentioned God to anyone at your work.

    And you should definately get a tip.


  2. DK says:

    No, no, definitely not you. I don’t mind people who have a lot of things to cut–that can’t be helped. It’s the people who need you to make their decisions for them. This week I had this lady (who told me God put me in her life…) tell me that I was stuck with her for the next hours, and I wasn’t allowed to go to dinner until I was done helping her (to which I replied, my shift is over in an hour, but she kept me an hour and a half…).


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