Things I Wish Customers Didn’t Say

Having worked almost exclusively in the retail industry since high school, I’ve worked in a lot of different stores all over at least 3 different metropolitan areas and feel comfortable saying that the annoying tendencies of certain customers knows no geographic bounds. The following is a list of things that customers say that range from overplayed jokes or just everyday rudeness; it is not a list of the craziest things I’ve heard customers say, but rather list of the most frequent things they say.


Say “Hello” or something, please give an indication that you think of me as a person. Even the people in those Google commercials don’t just ask their questions, they say, “Hello, Google.” It shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that people don’t really like having something called out to them apropos of nothing or having someone turn a corner and blurt out name of an item. It’s rude and it doesn’t save time. I’m still going to walk with you to the product, as is the customer service policy everywhere I’ve worked. Side note: this happens with a lot of different products, but probably most often with condiments.

I’m just going to mess up your display here.

It’s a bad joke. Similar to the “I’d like a winning lottery ticket, please,” or, “I’m Bob and I’ll be your customer!” everyone has a chuckle, except for the people who hear it every day.

Where do you hide the…

Nowhere. This is another joke that’s just old. I can show you where we keep whatever product and I can assure you that if you think about it for a second it will probably makes sense. We don’t hide things, since, you know, we’re trying to sell them.

I got it here last week.

No, you didn’t. Trust me–I spend 40+hrs/week here and am responsible for this department–it is literally my job to be familiar with the products in the store; you, on the other hand, shop at multiple stores and seemingly can’t tell the difference between them, which, admittedly isn’t entirely your fault, since most stores look pretty similar. But seriously, if I’m saying we definitely don’t have a product, we don’t. If I say that I’ve never seen it, I’m not lying, and we probably have never carried it. The biggest problem I have with this though is that customers will insist that they got it here, and I’m not actually allowed to tell them they’re wrong.

It’s a shame they make you work on Christmas…

Then don’t go shopping on Christmas. If it weren’t profitable to open the store on Christmas, companies wouldn’t do it.

Do you have any of this milk with a fresher date?

Yes and no. We do, but we don’t want to sell them to you. There are people who search for the milk dated with a lemniscate, and nothing is more frustrating that dealing with them. If everyone bought what was in front, then we would go through the dates in a reasonable amount of time and not get stuck with milks that will expire in 5 days, rather than 8-10. Expiration dates aren’t 100% accurate either, by the way. Don’t let them run your life.

This is cheaper at Target.

Ok. The pricing structure is nothing that anyone at store level can control; secondly, we are generally aware of how much things cost at our store vs other stores (we do go shopping too, and just like everyone else we look for deals); and lastly, what are you trying to gain from this, other than advice that you go to Target?

I used to buy it all the time.

This sounds similar to “I bought it here last week,” but the difference between the two is that in this example the product has been discontinued. Stores don’t generally try to stop people from buying the things they want. When a product is in high demand, it gets placed in multiple locations, not discontinued. But as with most products, there are at least a couple people who buy them and would be disappointed if they went away. The unfortunate flip-side to this is that if you’re in a smaller area of a large region, for example Milwaukee vs Chicago, and something is wildly successful in MKE but not at all in CHI, it is possible that the product will be discontinued and the store in MKE may not be able to do anything about it.




One thought on “Things I Wish Customers Didn’t Say

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  1. “Side note: this happens with a lot of different products, but probably most often with condiments.”
    I’m not defending these people, and hope I’m never one of these dicks in the store, but the condiment thing… I get it, man.


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