How we treat other people has gotten particularly problematic over the years, at least in the States. It seems we no longer look at each other as fellow travelers, but either tools to get what we want, or hinderances in that same acquisition. We have really stopped looking at mutual bartering of needs so all people get as close to their desired outcome as possible, instead, trying to railroad people only onto our track for our destination.
The retailer I work for has grab bags. Basically, they are filled with all the junk no one was willing to pay even 80% less for, broken things, odds and ends, etc. The things everyone has had at least a month to decide if they want, and no one did. The concept behind the grab bags are, they are first come, first serve, you don’t get to know what is in them before purchase, you can’t put them on hold, you can’t switch items before or after purchase, you can’t ask for certain items to be in a grab bag, and you can’t get a refund on anything in the grab bags. The employees can’t even purchase them because we may know what is in them. Aside from our expensive items, the grab bags have some of the most restrictions on them when we sell them. I assure you, no one wants to be fired over an inexpensive grab bag.
I’m all for frugality. A great deal is a great deal and some of these bags do have great deals in them! However, it is the type of person these things draw in that makes me loathe them every time. I’m not a people person to begin with, so these people make it exceptionally difficult to be kind to.
Let me start off by saying that, no, the customer isn’t always right. The real truth is just how accommodating we want to be to customers who think they are right. Most times, they are absolutely wrong, but we accommodate them because they aren’t utter douchebags about it. We don’t have to sell you an item for the price you thought it was. We can stick to our price and let you refuse to buy it without any second thought. Yes, our job is to make the company money, but if you are trying to get a $20 item for $5, you might want to think how that sounds more like you stealing money from the company than making a sale. The company wants the $20, not your happiness at screwing us over for $5. (And yes, this happens. A lot. A lot of customers seem to think we are happy to reduce our profits for their happiness as a customer. We aren’t.)
Retail isn’t about making customers happy. It’s about making money. Happy customers tend to buy more. Shitty customers, we don’t really want back, try to steal product for far less than it is worth.
Remember that. You try to haggle a lower price that undermines the company, that company doesn’t want you back. They may give you what you want at that moment, but I guarantee every single employee of that store will now be able to recognize you on sight, and won’t go out of their way to service you. Ever. And if the store is the only game in town…well…sucks to be you.
I mention all of this in relation to the grab bags because these damn bags bring out every shady, shitty customer in the area. The ones who couldn’t give a shit about anything, as long as they can grab as many of these garbage bags they can. (And trust me. We pack them like we are throwing the stuff away. We’ve seen it all way too long, gotten covered in glitter from it for over a month, and can’t wait to get rid of it all.) So if you think your buying what we consider garbage as being a “valued customer”, believe me, we don’t. Especially if you’re buying more than 2 of them. At that point, unless you are donating the items, you just look like a hoarder, and really…ew. As a person who grew up with hoarder parents, please stop. I try not to judge, but, if you’re a shitty customer buying as many of these things as you can get, there isn’t much else to conclude, except you’re a hoarder and probably don’t need this trash.
Now, there are people who buy them for the fun of it, to get cheap supplies for their craft businesses, to donate to craft stocks at youth centers, senior care centers, etc. And that’s all fine and good and honestly, really lovely! That’s money well spent, or more if you bought more than 2. You’re putting good back out there, or you are turning it into something new and recycling. I will never be upset about that! These aren’t the people I’m talking about.
We had people today, literally “vulturing” for over an hour. Waiting for us to make more grab bags, so they could tell us what they wanted in them, as we made them, (which is against the policies on them) to take them as we make them, not letting anyone else have an opportunity to partake. I’m pretty certain they took a few five finger discounts by “adding items” to their already purchased grab bags, which is exceptionally shitty because that’s blatant stealing. Then, going so far as to ask me to “finish the one I started” so they could buy it. Then were shocked when I said I couldn’t because I have other duties that are a priority. They seemed surprised when they said, “I’m a customer!” and I replied that the transaction was over and the next guest is now the customer.
These are the shitty customers I was speaking about. Expecting me to be a wish fulfillment machine because they are there and present, as if their grab bag purchases had more value than the person behind them buying items at the regular store price. Believe me, the company wants me to spend my time catering to the people who are willing to spend the money at full price, not wait till the garbage is left.
These people don’t know how to treat other people. It shows in the way they behave over these grab bags. The remnants of things no one wanted enough to pay the lowest amount of 80% of, but expect full price service. These things show. They don’t reflect well either. Stuff is just stuff. In the capitalistic world we live in, when you put a priority on the discards of others over actual people, and the way you treat them, you are literally saying you value the refuse more than the human.
I don’t care how good a deal is. It will never be worth more than humanity.