Home » Society: Norms & Expectations » Are You Being Served?

Are You Being Served?


In the UK, probably like any other country, monetary transactions in a commercial shopping environment is marred by blatant rudeness. I hear people moan how the sales people in the UK just aren’t quite what they used to be; efficient, pleasant,  polite and helpful. Well, lets be honest they don’t all offer the same level of customer service as that provided in the U.S for example!!!

Yet, is this always the case? Are the sales people really the problem or is there more besides to consider?

Now I understand 1st hand what it is to be a sales person, having worked in retail during my time in college and university. I understand disaffection, dissatisfaction, resentment amongst staff, terrible working hours and wages. Many sales people who serve you in shops, supermarkets and take your telephone calls everyday, are also no doubt college students. Students feeling just as I did; bored and sick of inane complaints over inconsequential things (bad attitude right? Well that’s every college students prerogative)!

Although in mentioning a bad attitude, rudeness for the sake of it is NEVER excused. I was never a surly, lazy or nasty, that is not my style. Yet, this old adage too that “the customer is always right” is completely WRONG!!!

There are those customers who are the thoroughly horrible, nasty, rude, ill mannered, intimidating and threatening type. I know as I have experienced these people. There is something about ‘shops’ in general that induce customers to act in a way completely alien to their normal behavioural types. In fact if such behaviour transpired on public streets, they’d often be arrested for it! I mean what sane person, a grown man for example, is willing to threaten a 18yr old girl?? Only in a shop where the older man is a customer, and 18 year old is a sales person (me).

What right has any customer to call a sales person stupid, a bitch or threaten them with violence??? Is it just because the customer is annoyed with the shop, the products, or annoyed with their own lives and inadequacies? After all the sales person doesn’t own the shop, has no control on the stock and tries their best to do what they can for a customer, even a rude and nasty customer!

I mean even murderers have human rights so why doesn’t a sales person too???

What crime have they really committed except for working for a terrible company that won’t protect their own staff’s safety, by advocating a no tolerance of customer abuse and violence against them. Is it their fault they have ineffective and un-supportive managers, who allow customers to rule the roost?

All of this abuse happens more often than you’d even think too. I KNOW AS I’VE seen it all happening. Appalling,  yes it is as stores think this is OK – that their staff should be OK with this lack of support from people responsible for them, and take such abuse with a smile.

This barrage of name calling and so on can occur on a daily basis, and the customer is never ‘pulled up’ on it. Yet, if the staff say one thing deemed inappropriate, they can face discipline or even the sack. Isn’t it only fair; if you can give abuse you should expect to receive it in return, customer or not?

So, next time you are in a shop and the sale person is a little unhappy, not cheerful, and doesn’t have a fake smile plastered over their face, is a little short tempered or perhaps ill-mannered; give a thought as to why. Consider this  before you jump to conclusions, for vexing your ideals of perfect customer service.

Perhaps just before they served you they had been victims of verbal abuse, threatened with violence, not supported by their management. Perhaps they have been made to feel like garbage just because they are sales people and not Doctors or Lawyers somewhere.

Sales people are only people too; they have feelings, rights, families and aren’t there to be abused.

Think about it!

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12 thoughts on “Are You Being Served?

  1. As the saying goes, “be kind for others are fighting a harder battle than you” or something like that. Who knows, those “abusive” customers also are fighting a hard battle in their personal lives and they’re throwing it all on the sales people. Not an excuse though but makes u think of them in a different light. Just as it makes u think of sales people with “bad attitude” in a different light.

    • Yes, I think so – perhaps it is just that final thing in the day that sends them over the edge. However, as you have stated; taking it out on a sales person doesn’t solve anything, and can cause a worse situation.
      Thanks for your response on this, I appreciate it!!!
      Bex

  2. This is all so true. I hate people who try to game the systems and essentially rob retail stores. Oh, yeah, this was already broken. Sure, sure it was. It’s funny too, age doesn’t matter with how rude people can be or entitled. People call today’s children the entitled generation but from my observation I have seen these patterns from all ages.

  3. I don’t know if that would make me a good or a bad clerk, but if someone got in my face like that, I’d tell them to behave if they expected to be served. We live in civilized countries, so we can expect a civilized environment, and not only our physical health is protected by law, but also our mental health and our feelings, and harming or threatening to harm any of these is not to be tolerated.

    • Agreed – no person, should have to tolerate such behaviour. If people are aggressive or mistreat others, regardless of the environment they should be shown the door, and possibly by police escort!

  4. Everyone should have at least a short stint in the service industry, waiting tables or in retail. Like a national service. It would enlighten those who feel overly entitled, educate employers (who would have done the service in their youth), and in general teach everyone to be a little nicer.

  5. Very intriguing actually, and unethical too! Never thought of it this way. There should be some sort of legislation considering this matter. I mean I know the CS employees are told to understand that whenever the customer is angry and perhaps offends them, he is actually angry at or offending the company and not them! But still its in the employee’s face, maybe providing group therapies for employees would help! I don’t know but it’s definitely something worth considering..
    Thanks for this sharing, great as usual 🙂

    • Thank you for your input on this. Yes, I agree something ought to be done, and yet it isn’t. Some companies are better than others for protecting their staff – but many couldn’t care as long as the job is done and the products are sold!! It is money, that is all that matters.
      Thank you too for compliment on my post – appreciate it!!
      Bex 😀

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