Fitting Rooms

Why the F*ck? "Grinds my Gears" template. Annoyance level: 4.

Why the F*ck? “Grinds my Gears” template. Annoyance level: 4. Image: FOX.

If you have never worked in retail, then you don’t know the dreaded horror that comes with being assigned fitting room duty. It seem like a simple task of helping customers find a proper size or being asked if a shirt looks all right wouldn’t be horrendous. Oh, but it is. More and more these days, it seems, that people have no manners and seem to be all right acting rude while out shopping. For those of you who are sitting there with a perplexed look on your face, don’t worry; read on and you’ll find out why fitting rooms grind my gears are the bane of my existence.

As I have stated previously, I currently work in retail. (In case you couldn’t guess that.) But as I like my job and like my employer, I’m not going to be naming who I work for. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, kiddos. Like any customer service-powered job, being polite and not snapping at someone who is rude are key factors in the retail world.

I’m not saying it’s hard to be polite and kind to customers; it’s not when the customers treat you the same way. It is hard to have a smile plastered on your face hours on end when customers scream and throw things at you. That’s what makes the stories worth telling.

Anyway, there will come a time in any retail worker’s life when cashiering just isn’t enough, and you have to be trained in other areas of the store. Shipment, displays and pricing all come into play. But so does the dreaded fitting room. I’m not just annoyed at the fact that when I am in the fitting room, it means I am also a backup ringer (meaning I’m constantly called back and forth from one duty to another). No, it is the fact that no one bothers to clean up after themselves in a fitting room that gets my blood boiling.

Anytime that you are out shopping and come across a store employee in the fitting room, he or she isn’t only there to count the number of items you’re bringing into a fitting room, no. He or she is most likely there to prevent customers from stealing any merchandise. Don’t act so appalled; I am only telling you the truth. This is the norm in many businesses. So please, next time you go into a store and try clothing on, don’t say to the person who is idly standing near the fitting rooms “Oh, I didn’t realize you worked here!” There is more often than not an employee there to ensure merchandise doesn’t get stolen — and to refold/rehang clothing to go back out on display.

I was raised by an excellent set of parents who instilled in me the importance of manners. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way in the world. However, it seems as of late, manners aren’t that important to people anymore — or their parents didn’t explain what “please” means. Not only will I encounter the puzzled customer wondering why an employee is in the fitting room (see above), but I will also have the person who deems him or herself unnecessary to clean up after him or herself. Yes, most employees would prefer it if you didn’t try to rehang or refold the clothing to put back out on the salesfloor. Like most things in life, the folding and hanging actually are a bit complicated. I’m not giving away all secrets of the trade, but my company only allows hangers to be hung up in the shape of question marks.

Lack of manners is one thing, but more and more I have observed customers acting as if they are better than the store employees. Customers I have observed act as, since they are spending money with this company, it is all right for them to treat employees like dirt. Once someone is done trying clothes on, I’ll typically ask them what did he or she like or what didn’t work out for him or her. Then I offer to take the clothes from that person. Seems simple enough, right? No, it never is. Suddenly, many people wander out of the fitting room and, when I ask them how the clothes fit, I simply receive “Oh, I left everything I didn’t like in there.” I don’t understand who in their right mind would think this is polite do such a thing.

Perhaps it was how I was raised — plus having parents who worked retail in their lifetimes also adds to it — but I do not comprehend why any person would think this is OK. As I have just lengthily explained, there is an employee in the fitting room for a reason. But, just because that person is there doesn’t give the customer the right to dump clothing on said person or treat him or her like dirt. That definitely won’t get the employees happy to see you next time you go shopping.

Encountering rude patrons comes with the retail business. Working the job means you can’t necessarily avoid those rude people. But, you can kill them with kindness! Next time you’re out shopping and happen upon a disrespectful shopper, take a cue from the ever-adorable Thumper: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

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