Tales from the Retail Side – Part 1 of ?: Smile!

I’m sure many of my readers either currently work or have worked in retail in the past in some form or fashion in your lives. What I’d like to do here is to post my own funny/weird stories about working in a corner drug store and then have you guys give me a funny, weird or even jaw-dropping experiences that you have had as a person who interacts with the general public.

I’ve come up with the name, “Tales from the Retail Side,” but if you have a suggestion for a better or more concise title, please leave it in the comments. If your suggestion is selected, then you will receive respect and accolades on the next three of my posts (I’ll share your website, social media account…whatever you want people to know about EXCEPT trashing on your employer, any nude/porn crap, religious or political rants and please don’t use foul language).

Like any retail business, it seems like people come in waves. We’ll have one or two customers for a while and then the proverbial dam breaks. I look up and there’s 12 people in line. Fortunately, we cashiers have co-workers and managers that we can count on if the line gets too long.

This may seem lame, but one of my personal goals is to make sure people leave with a smile. I think we all need to smile and laugh more in this wacked-out social condition. But you gotta know how to read people. Some folks are up for a good joke, and some just want to get in and get the heck out ASAP. After a while, it’s not tough to see what mood the next customer is in. We have a lot of “regulars” that are either really fun and jovial and some are just matter-of-fact. I’m still learning, but there are a few folks that I recognize by face/name in my 1.5 months there.

I have so many very nice stories – people coming in to buy things for charities, teachers or other positive things. Yet, I am human, and it’s only natural that the negative stuff sticks in my brain.

There was one lady (let’s call her “Lady A”) who had a complete cart full o’ stuff and she wanted to use coupons for said stuff. Well, you can only use one coupon per person per item. I don’t think that’s weird. That’s how it’s gone for me, no matter where I worked or shopped.

I tried to get Lady A’s coupon to work, but it was expired – like WAY expired. I explained everything to her and then she requested that her whole purchase be voided and that we “start over” with a different coupon. I did check the expiration date first this time (fool me once…). So I called the manager up to do a void, which cashiers are not allowed to do. My manager came up to help. He was very friendly and helpful, yet Lady A basically cussed him out with her tone of voice, though not directly with her words.

My manager got everything straight, and this woman said REALLY LOUD, “Thank you for your help [to me],” and then proceeded to give my manager the bird.

My manager didn’t see the bird, but some customers and employees did.

I’m not talking about everyone here, but we sure can act like turds to each other sometimes because besides our own personal issues, we have COVID, job woes, money troubles, family issues and all of the other stuff that’s going on. I guess that’s why I try to make customers smile or laugh before they leave. Lord knows we all need it.

Do you have any interesting retail stories? I’d love to read them! Perhaps, if I get a large enough response, I can collect them and publish them here (with credits to the writers, of course).

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