Before I go off on the Karen’s of the world, I do want to put out a disclaimer that I am super grateful to even be able to hold a job at a time like this and 100% acknowledge the privilege I have to even have the opportunity to work.
I am from the Bay Area and due to all of the riots going on, most stores have temporarily closed down due to looting and vandalism. I am for the #BlackLivesMatter and do want to stand with the black community against police brutality and other injustices that they face.
Lately we have been getting an increase of customers due to the other closed stores in the neighboring cities and here are a couple of the most memorable stories I have from working retail.
This lady and her husband were shopping for the famous app Instacart, a app that will provide their clients with a delivery service for groceries and other store goods. I scanned an item twice by accident. This happens easily if I drag it over the scanner when I am trying to move it to the opposite side. I catch my mistake immediately as it happens and go back to void the item and explain the process to them as I do it to leave out any signs of confusion. The lady looks straight at me with eyes of hatred and yells, “HOW STUPID ARE YOU?! YOU RUINED THE WHOLE TRANSACTION! ARE YOU STUPID? HOW CAN YOU EVEN WORK HERE?” I was in shock.
The store had just opened about 10 minutes prior to this transaction, I had not had my morning coffee and this b*tch was already yelling at me. On the bright side, because of Corona at least she had a mask on and her spit couldn’t hit me. I apologized for my mistake, but of course this Karen was not satisfied. She repeatedly told me how stupid I was and how I shouldn’t be allowed to work, ruining her whole transaction.
All I had to do to fix the transaction was void the item. That is all. If the b*tch just looked at the screen, she could see that the added total of items subtracted the mistake and was the correct amount. The point is, do not be a bitch to the cashier simply because they made one error and caught it. The mistake was easily fixable and literally took me 3 seconds after to resolve, and she wasted her time and energy trying to lecture me after I had already solved the problem.
This man had bought a pair of headphones for roughly 35.00 and wanted to return it. Keep in mind that during this time period, all stores in the area were no longer accepting returns due to coronavirus and the need to take safety precautions. The man wanted to return the item that he bought and we could not give him his money back due to the implemented policy and his lack of a receipt. The man began to curse up a storm and call us bitches, demanding that we give him a refund or his buddies are going to come up and shoot up the store.
He continued to demand that we give him his “fucking” money back and my manager reiterated again that we could not do anything about it because it was corporate’s orders and if he had a problem with it, he would need to call corporate and explain the situation to them. He became livid and started to stalk and harass my manager until she threatened to call the cops on his ass. He came back later in the day to ask for the corporate manager’s number. He had a lot of nerve to ask us for any type of service like that after the amount of disrespect he poured out of his potty-mouth earlier.
A week after this, the man came back to shop in our store. I am not a woman who holds grudges because I think that is an exhausting emotion to hold within oneself, but he decided to pick a fight with me. I was ringing up his items and then he asked why did the security alarm go off when he entered the store. I did not notice it go off because I was focused on other tasks and honestly I have been ignoring it due to the fact that it is bugged and goes off randomly when no one is there as well.
I told him that and he said, "NO, tell me the real reason why it goes off? I know YOU pressed it when I walked in. Stop FUCKING LIEING BITCH." He grabbed his items off the quarter after cursing and yelling at me for another minute after I began to ring up the next person's items. It's terrible but I am almost immune to everything that a customer says the moment they disrespect us because I realize that nothing we say will satisfy them, they just want to cause a scene. He left the store, but later came back and threw a shopping cart and knocked down our front sign. Headphone asshole, let's not meet again.
Short Staffed and Theft
We know what thieves look like the minute they walk into our store with large empty bags. There are times when there are only two of us in the store working, a manager and me, and I just have to pray that they will leave as soon as they steal whatever they are looking for without harming us. We do not have the power to stop theft and the thieves know it. My coworker recently got a black eye last Sunday from an altercation with a man stealing alcohol and could have been stabbed had he not let the guy go. (the man pulled out a compact knife)
If the corporate does not care enough to give us security guards, then it is 100% not worth risking our lives trying to protect merchandise. I do not care for theft, but I do care when the people who are stealing could potentially have the corona virus and spread it to us by touching all the merchandise and leaving a good portion in a bag that we need to take care of for go-backs later in the night.
Thieves that pretend they are going to buy an item piss me off the most. I would rather have the thief leave the store without faking like they are buying items and then pretending that they forgot their card or cash - because you are a waste of my motherfucking time. If you knew that you sure as hell were not going to pay for the items you grabbed, JUST STEAL IT AND LEAVE ME ALONE! I do not want to touch your crusty money or be in close proximity with you ever.
This applies to thieves that grab items off the shelf and ask to return them without a recipt or with a receipt they clearly found in the trash. Our receipt knows the exact item you bought and will give it a red flag because it is not the same item we scanned for the previous transaction. The thieves try to do this in an attempt to take advantage of our old policy where all customers are allowed to return an item without a receipt. (why our store does this, I do not know- it's dumb and promotes a theft culture) In the past we would be forced to give them a gift card because technically that is the procedure we take for it, but with coronavirus and no returns, they still try and become a Karen the instant we tell them no.
Customers that come too close
Customers seem to suddenly forget that we are people too. They like to close the distance and ignore all the social distancing regulations and it pisses me off. Do not touch me, do not come near me, and stay a decent space apart if you have a question.
Customers that flirt after being rejected
Maybe this is because I just feel exhausted talking sometimes and the added social pressure this man brings every time he asks for my number when I know I do not want a date is uncomfortable. I am okay with people trying to shoot their shot one time, but also… we are in a pandemic??? And this man knows I am in school and stressed with final projects and other classwork that is all coming to a close and is due soon. I just feel awkward and want to avoid ringing him up when I see him now. He is not a terrible person, I just only want friendly banter at this point and time of my life. I am too stressed with anything else to think about love or dating honestly.
Customers that want us to find their whole damn shopping list
If I was working in a big store with a lot of other employees, I would not be as upset about this topic. But due to the raise in Instacart shoppers, often times most are constantly asking us to find all of their items on the cart. I want to help you, but when it is only my manager and me at the store with a huge line of customers- I literally do not have the time or the patience to be able to lead you to all the items on your list. Contrary to the customer’s belief, we do not have the superpower to multitask while in the middle of a transaction and a phone call on the store line while being robbed at the same time.
Moral of the Article
I don’t want you all to think I completely despise the job- but I do. I hate the job itself and hate working retail in general because most people are the same in every way possible and the only spicy days I have come from dealing with Karen’s. I would rather not be forced to kiss their ass when they are in the wrong. Be kind to your retail workers because they are sick of your bullshit and customers acting like a two-year old when they can not get what they want.
I am telling you- patience and talking in a polite manner is the only way to get the service you desire at these stores. Yelling will only make us not want to assist you and use our right to refuse service.