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Hey you... Yeah you... Wait your damn turn!

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posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:04 AM
Like anyone who has worked in any industry for a length of time, you pick up things. One of the many tricks I learned in almost twenty years of retail work and management, is when not to go shopping. There’s times of the day and night you are simply mad to go in and do a shop, times when there are no one around and times when you will simply be pulling your hair out dodging other shoppers and generally muttering profanities under your breath, trying your hardest not to throttle them.

One of the times that it is best to shop is right after the store opens. Most supermarkets in Australia, at least in country areas, open around 7am. For the first three hours or so the place is practically deserted, and you can pretty much do your shopping in peace. This tends to get a little busier up until around 11am, when you have the first ‘rush’ of the day. This usually coincides with the school drop-off, where parents drop their kids off at school, have the usual morning gossip with their friends, and then go shopping. By around 11, they all line up at the checkouts at once, and from there things go downhill. For anyone who has ever been on the other side of the checkout, the hostility is almost frightening.

For some unknown reason, people who are made to wait, even for a few minutes in a supermarket environment, turn into hideous raving monsters, or even worse, rabid dogs, snapping, barking and generally foaming at the mouth at the injustice of it all.

So this weekend just past, I made a terrible error in judgement, one that showed me just how far the attitude towards the humble retail employee has fallen since my departure from the industry.

I slept in.

Now mind you, this was only a 9am sleep in, but for someone who is used to rising around 530-6am, this was quite a feat. I blame all the recent events going on in my life just finally catching up, and a very rare empty house, as both of my girls were away at friends.

Sitting over my rather late morning Iced Coffee, I toyed with the idea of leaving the shopping until after lunch, the second ‘smart’ time to go shopping. After the 11am rush, it generally goes dead after lunch, once everyone has been and gone, got their lunch, their food, gone home and gone back to work. If you want peaceful shopping, get in now, because at around 4pm, the second rush begins, coinciding with the after school dinner rush. This is the rush you want to avoid unless you enjoy abuse and mosh pits, not to mention waiting.

Unfortunately for me, my kids were returning shortly before this time, and my fridge kind of resembled Mother Hubbard’s, and trust me, my kids come home to an empty fridge and I’d rather take my chances in the 4pm rush.

So I set about convincing myself that it couldn’t be that bad, and maybe, just maybe I’d be ok. So armed with a belly full of caffeine and a well-slept mind, off I went.

I swear the people who plan shopping malls make the car parks based on about a tenth of the population of the town. After parking on a lawn area about five miles from the actual supermarket (thank god for 4x4s), I walked into a rock concert of shopping trollies, screaming kids and mindless drones clearing the shelves at an alarming rate while complaining their favourite product wasn’t there, there were too many people, etc, etc. Taking a deep breath, while fighting down the urge to about face and just get the hell out of there, I pressed on and entered the supermarket.

This is where I realised people somehow drive trollies worse than they drive cars. They cut in front of you with no warning, stand with their trollies sticking out into the aisle while endlessly browsing, and walk three and four abreast down the aisle at a snail’s pace, stopping and turning without warning or even bothering to look, and generally giving you filthy looks for being in their way. Now this isn’t some inner city rat race supermarket, this is rural Queensland! Add to that the masses of screaming kids running up and down the aisle at full speed, and it makes you wonder how there isn’t just some pile up of twisted bodies and broken metal in the centre of each aisle.

After half an hour or so of ducking and running through shelves, dodging people left and right, I finally made it to the checkouts. Of course, there’s a mass line-up of people. Now I’ll give this to the supermarket, they had many checkouts open to handle the influx, and only had two out of sixteen that didn’t have someone manning them. Now, like anyone, I hate waiting. Call it impatience, call it just wanting get the hell away from this noise and chaos, but I’d come this far, and knew full well the consequences of my sleep in, so I parked in behind two others, and waited, trying to think of quiet and nice things while I did so.

It wasn’t long before you could start to pick out the idiotic comments from people standing in line waiting. After a few minutes I heard a customer call over the supervisor, asking for a replacement. The girl came over, to which this loud-mouthed moron stated;

“I need a replacement on this operator. He’s too slow!” Now this woman had been waiting all of five minutes to get served, and surely must have had some clue that coming here on the busiest part of day, on the busiest day of the week would lead.
This kid was all of 15-16, and frankly was doing his best to be polite and friendly towards the people he served. Granted, he wasn’t racing through the items at warp speed, but compared to some of the dullards I have been served by over the years, he was doing ok.

After this I noticed another shopper pacing up and down the line up, every time he passed me, he very loudly and rudely stated “I always come here and every time I have to wait. It’s ridiculous; they should look after their customers better.” After the fourth or so smart mouth comment he settled in the line next to me, and continued to basically bitch about having to wait. After a few minutes of this, I had had enough.

“Did it ever occur to you this is all they have that can serve on registers? That they’re doing the best they can?” Part of me wished I hadn’t opened my mouth so bluntly to a total stranger, but I’ve never been one to hold back, thoughts or otherwise. This guy, and several others within earshot stopped dead, turning their voracious eyes on me. Too late to back out now. He opened his mouth, no doubt to utter some smart mouth remark, I jumped in first.

“You people amaze me. Every week you come here in the busiest part of the day, on the busiest day of the week, and bitch and complain at the service. Yet you go into a bank, a post office, a government building, and you sit and wait, and never complain once. These people are doing their best to serve you. Maybe you should just shut up and wait your goddamned turn!”
(Cont below)

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:05 AM
I swear you could have heard a pin drop around me. I don’t think the guy I directed this at had the slightest idea the ferocity of the barrage he just copped. I have to admit it was funny watching his mouth open and shut as he tried to get a reply in. I even spotted the supervisor (someone I actually know) at the service desk with her mouth wide open.

“You want to do something smart?” I went on, “try coming here early or after lunch. There’s no lines.” With that I turned my back on him. I was sure I heard him mutter several choice words in my direction, but nothing I’ve never been called on a weekly basis.

Really, my outburst was the crux of it. People are happy to go into any public place, and sit patiently until they are served, even if there is one person serving and fifty people lined up, and never say a word otherwise. But for some reason, being made to wait a few extra minutes in the supermarket queue, and people are shouting “oh hell no,” like it’s some travesty against them.

As someone who has both been on the other side of the checkout, and has listened to the endless whining of people who think that the supermarket universe should revolve around them, I say this.

Stop for a second. Take a look at the person behind that checkout. Really look. Because that person is not some mindless drone that just loves putting up with your stupid insults and childish name calling, because you have to wait a few extra minutes to get your shopping done. That person goes home at night to their own family, hangs up their uniform the same as you, and has a life away from the endless drudgery of the checkout.

So next time you have to wait at the checkout because you picked the wrong time to go do your shopping, heed my advice. Be smart, and either change your shopping patterns, or be prepared to shut your mouth and wait your turn.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:16 AM
reply to post by 74Templar

I understand where you are coming from but not everyone can get to the shop early or after lunch hour, that's why its called lunch hour, that's when people have a little time off to eat and do what ever else they need to do. Shops should understand this and increase staff levels during busy periods to meet demands or expect frustrated customers.

People have every right to complain if they feel a level of service is not up to standard and this should be encouraged or else people can only expect poor service all round.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:18 AM
I hear your frustration, and your background in retail gives you a different perspective for sure. Witty rant! You're absolutely right we are not as patient in a retail situation. Maybe it is the money thing, I give you my money I expect service, but that gets blown when you throw in banks, although banks have that marble/library feel, while supermarkets and shops have that every man for himself feel,

Thanks for the shopping times tips, I had not known about the after lunch time period.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:23 AM
Customer service jobs are a bitch. Always has been, always will be.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:26 AM
reply to post by CrimsonMoon

I do understand that, and poor customer service is poor customer service regardless, something I won't tolerate having spent most of my working career providing that high level of service to the customer.

The rant was more aimed at the fact that people for some reason are content to wait in any other situation of customer service (take call centers for example), but turn into rabid monsters when made to wait at the checkout, even for just a few extra minutes.

I think supermarket hours are much more relaxed these days so people have a chance to shop around their own hours, and while I do understand not everyone has the luxury of shopping when they want to, most supermarkets (at least here in Aust) are open from 7am to 9pm. The third 'smart' time to go shopping is after 6pm. Guaranteed no waiting lines then, plus you get the added benefits of getting some ridiculously marked down items. I frequently get 99c packets of sausages by going in after 6pm.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:36 AM

Originally posted by Iamschist
I hear your frustration, and your background in retail gives you a different perspective for sure. Witty rant! You're absolutely right we are not as patient in a retail situation. Maybe it is the money thing, I give you my money I expect service, but that gets blown when you throw in banks, although banks have that marble/library feel, while supermarkets and shops have that every man for himself feel,

Thanks for the shopping times tips, I had not known about the after lunch time period.

See that I can understand too, the amount of times I had (mostly elderly) people complain their favourite product had gone up three cents and it was a crime against them to do so, I can see where people's frustration comes from. You pay top dollar for something, you expect a stellar level of service as your reward for parting with your cash. The amount of times you just feel like saying "you think they can afford that $1 bread and $2 milk without putting something else up to cover that loss?" Always gives me a little smile.
End of the day, businesses exist make money. It's what they do.

What most people don't realise is the average retail worker, or even manager, has no control over pricing and products, especially in larger retail corporations. They are usually handed a machete along with their pen to do wages with, all to suit some guy higher up the chain who wants his 12million dollar bonus, and wants to please the shareholders by giving them a return on their faith in their company, and then entertain the stigma that "when you shop in our store, you shouldn't have to wait." Of course, once it becomes habit, we get what we have now.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:44 AM
reply to post by Generator85

Funny though, I don't remember it ever being as bad as it is nowadays. I started in retail in the very early 90s, and yes, you've always had rude customers with that sense of self entitlement, it just seems a norm these days.

I often wonder if all this is geared towards moving away from physical shopping and towards online and home shopping. Internet banking and internet vehicle registration have become a huge hit because you can do it on your own time, no queues, no waiting. I often wonder if the next step is delivery and internet for the humble supermarket.

Certainly would save them a small fortune in wages, and would create less stress for a shopper.

edit on 22/1/2013 by 74Templar because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:49 AM
Aaaand its a journey into the Dark Depths of Retail-Hell. More like this..

Really, there are morons out there who make you doubt believing their ancestors have already left the trees but where flinging poo at those leopards down on the ground!

Come on, everyone knows some story like this: Mine was at the supermarket in a railroad-station. 5 or 6 customers including myself were waiting in line with their small baskets filled with some small items. Remember, this happened inside a railroad-station in the middle of a working day, so no-one would come from outside to buy in this overpriced and understocked shop, which intention is clearly to provide all things deemed necessary by travellers with a little bit of time for their next train to arrive and that small portion of hunger to be fed.

Now, the next thing happening to me, and I have to admit I was too much dumbfonded by the pure ignorance and arrogance of it than to say anything was that a man in a business-suit cut the line, grabbed some sweets from the counter directly ahead the cashier and said "I am in a hurry, my train will depart shortly!" while paying for his merchandise.
Well, hello! No one else, as I tried to make clear above, could have been in any comparable hurry, righto? Wrong.

Anyway, he cut the line. Everybody was shocked into silence. He paid, we paid. I am still angry, even as it happened oh, about 10 years ago.

Nowadays, you. don't. cut. into. my. line!

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:54 AM
reply to post by 74Templar

Maybe it has to do with the ever increasing population and the kinds of conveniences we have today. In this age of instant gratification and rapid results we seem to be less forgiving of the limitations of other people and.. well.. reality.

lol as sad as that is.
edit on 22/1/2013 by Generator85 because: (no reason given)

edit on 22/1/2013 by Generator85 because: I'm dumb haha

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 05:56 AM
Although Ive never had the opportunity to work in retail. I can totally see your points. People are just plain rude, I have felt frustrated on many a shopping trip due to not enough staff, empty checkouts, rude people grumping at having to wait.

However I have never or would never take the frustration out on the mere checkout worker!!! My whole idea about shopping is if your not happy with the way things are going. Either complain to the manager orr just don't shop in the store if you truly think there is a problem.

Your right though in choosing your times and days, it can make a huge difference. I have other gripes about shopping. People that think they can stop anywhere and have a chat blocking the way though and not taking any notice to you wanting to get though grrrr.

This is why I normally take my very young kids, although well behaved at the shops. Will speak loudly about someone blocking the way
. I have them trained to cry and scream on demand too !!!!

OK joking about that part, but to actually get to the checkout is a relief. Im happy to stand there for 5 and take a breather. Or use the self serve checkout.
edit on 22-1-2013 by feelingconnected because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:04 AM
reply to post by ManFromEurope

Thanks for the laugh. I could regail people with some horror stories of my own throughout the years, but I don't think ATS has enough server space...

I can however, offer some advice. If you want something that is not on the shelf, simple rule.

Be nice.

I know right, who would've ever thought it? Be polite, be nice when you ask, and I guarantee the person will go have a genuine look for your item. Be a rude, be an arrogant jackass, and be demanding, workers usually go out the back, have a laugh at your stupidity and go back out and tell you it's unavailable, and we don't know when it's coming in next.

There will always be some arrogant pig that just has to be first like the person you described sadly. I would often just tell them to leave the store, even told a few they should consider shopping elsewhere as I didn't want their custom in my store. Funnily enough, you'd see them back the next week, this time with their mouths shut.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:09 AM
reply to post by feelingconnected

A very loud and obnoxious "excuseme!" usually does the trick for me. Like you, I can't stand the people who block the aisle, especially the front and rear walkways to have a chat. The amount of times you feel like grabbing them and screaming "does this look like a park? A library?"

You're much braver than I taking your kids. My two are very well behaved when out in public too, but have learned the fine art of conning dad out of just about everything junk-foodish. Shopping trips with the kids in tow usually ends up with dad having empty pockets.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:12 AM
reply to post by Generator85

It is really.

It's also a stigma the corporations have allowed to come into existence, this whole "you'll never wait to be served" while shopping. Problem is the reality doesn't match the claim. Of course anyone given this inch will totally take it for a country mile and then some, and that's where the whole abuse of the immediate service thing comes from.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:20 AM
reply to post by 74Templar

Thats actually 3 young kids, one starts school this year thank goodness & hubby works long hrs. I love how they will say please let us through very loudly. Then ask me if they used their manors really loudly. Or if the person doesn't move they say something like ' but we said please, that persons being naughty' Love the innocence of a child

Treat people how you want to be treated, it mostly works. Well more often then not I believe

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:27 AM
reply to post by feelingconnected

Gotta love that blunt innocence kids have hey.

I can remember my youngest at age four informing a flight attendant on her first flight she didn't want to sit next to this poor older gentleman because she thought 'he farted and it smelled really really bad.'

Had my head in my hands that day...

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