The Problem with People

I worked in retail for about 3 years in total, and as I worked my way up, and worked more hours, and served probably thousands and thousands of people, there is something I began to notice, and it is something that just baffles me.

Why are people so entitled?

Why do they immediately feel that they deserve everything we can possibly provide, and then a whole extra hundred yards? And even then they treat it as if we were still not working hard enough?

The customer is always right
Shutterstock Photo

Shops have encouraged this. Less rules on refunds, promises of ‘trying’ products and then getting your money back if you don’t absolutely love it. Websites and websites of ‘disposable’ clothing, encouraging disposable lives that mean people are becoming more and more picky, because they know there are a million more options.

I spent a lot of my life trying to please people, and my favourite people to help were always those who were actually grateful at the help I provided. The ones who thanked me sincerely, or apologised, and actually seemed to care about, if not me personally, at least the idea that they were a slight inconvenience to my day. I loved helping them. I loved making their day and going that extra step for them. Once in a while an extra mile (hey, my job was tiring). But 9 times out of 10 a person just looked at me with sheer contempt as I offered anything, seemingly exploding with the mindset of ‘well, why wouldn’t you do this for me? Why wouldn’t I be worth it?’

I once had someone once say to me ‘well, the customer’s always right anyway, so…’ and I’ve never quite forgotten it, or looked at anyone with that much shock. I know that’s the saying, but people I know tended to say it as a bit of a joke, knowing that they could never quite bring themselves to act that entitled. This person said it to me with complete belief, complete certainty, and completely and utterly straight faced. I never thought I’d have that thrown in my face so decisively, because, the stereotypical British person tends to be quite self-deprecating, quietly apologetic. Or maybe that’s just me. And to be honest, lets face it, *coughs* the customer is not always right.

I don’t know when everyone started believing that they were entitled to so much. Giving good service is important to me, but what’s the point when they react the same whether you’re polite or not? People seem to have the phrase ‘get me your manager,’ poised perfectly on their tongue as soon as they’re not satisfied, and are only willing to leave when they get the answer they want, muttering threats of ‘terrible service’ and ‘never coming here again.’ Our consumer lifestyle has created the customer a ridiculously high pedestal, and they now are completely aware of this.

I was always, and will always be, perfectly happy to give good service, I am a nice, friendly and happy person, I was willing to smile at you, have a chat and do what I could to fix things, but only if you extended the same common courtesy to me. Is that too much to ask? It’s not my fault that someone lost their receipt, that they have to pay 5p for a bag, that another customer put an item in the wrong place, or that you had to wait in a queue.

I just personally would like to think that even if I had never worked in retail, I would extend the same politeness to people who work in shops, or restaurants, that I do generally to people that I know, and it just baffles me why people feel that I am interchangeable with a piece of dirt on their shoe. I am happy to help you, but if you’re unreasonably rude to me, I am 99% more likely to tell you there is nothing I can do.

What would you like to rant about?


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