Dealing with retail employees can be a frustrating experience that can drive you to kill, maim, torture or shiv anyone with a name tag. Here are the eight worst.
8. THE ELITIST PRICK
WHERE YOU’LL FIND THEM: Bike Shops, Indie Music Stores, Gourmet Coffee Shops
Self-satisfied and pompous, this employee thinks the contents of his little store are the be-all and end-all of humanity. If you don’t purchase the one thing that this clerk deems acceptable, he will look down his nose at everything you do (despite the fact that what you just purchased, is sold in the same store this clerk works in).
YOU: I’d like to buy this “Dinosaur Jr. Best Of” CD
ELITIST PRICK: Tss. Why buy a Best Of? If you really like them, why not buy all their records?
YOU: I’m a fan of theirs, but I don’t know if I want to buy all their…
ELITIST PRICK: So you just like the “popular” hits? You don’t deserve to be a Dinosaur Jr. fan. You should probably just listen to Top 40.
YOU: Top 40? Why do you sell this CD if you hate it so much?
ELITIST PRICK: I just work here, man. My boss buys this shit so he can cash in on you fairweather nancy boys. You want me to get you a Boyz II Men CD to go with this?
ELITIST PRICK: You make me sick. Is that a Sonic Youth shirt?
YOU: Yeah, I love th…
ELITIST PRICK: We don’t sell any Sonic Youth “Greatest Hits” records here. Sorry.
YOU: But, I own everything…
ELITIST PRICK: Get out of my store.
7. THE STONER
WHERE YOU’LL FIND THEM: Target, Baskin Robbins, Sears
You’ll know when you’ve run into this employee because when you ask him if they carry cotton undershirts, he’ll stare at you for several silent seconds. Then giggle, as if you presented him with a calculus problem, then fart. The only way to find what you’re looking for is to begin questioning him like you’re a cop on Law & Order and he’s a teenage girl who¹s just witnessed a rape.
YOU: I’m looking for picture frames.
YOU: Picture frames. I know you know where they are. Just give me something to go on.
STONER: I ha, prolly like, past those soft things then go around the curvy part I think.
YOU: Soft things? Pillows? What curvy part? I need you to be more specific.
STONER: I don’t know, dude, just like, you know that one part. I dunno.
YOU: You do know! You can do this! Come on!
6. THE CONSTANT CHECK-IN
WHERE YOU’LL FIND THEM: Macy’s, Saks, Kiehls
I’m buying jeans, not going into cardiac arrest, therefore I don’t need someone coming up to me every thirty seconds asking if everything is okay. Every time you touch anything in the store he reacts as if you’re a retarded child wandering through a grenade factory.
(You’re looking at a pair of jeans)
CHECK IN: Everything okay?
YOU: Yeah, just looking.
(CHECK IN moves away, you pick up a pair of jeans)
CHECK IN: Here, let me help you with that, those can be tricky.
YOU: No, that’s okay I can hold these jeans myself. These jeans aren’t that tricky.
(You put away those jeans and grab a new pair)
CHECK IN: See here’s the thing about those jeans, they’re “straight legged.” The legs on them are just straight, they don’t bow out.
YOU: I figured that, since they were underneath a sign that said “straight leg.”
CHECK IN: Those signs can be tricky, let me help you with that.
5. THE HIDER
WHERE YOU’LL FIND THEM: In the dark, remote corners of the big-box stores like Walmart and Target.
Finding this employee is like finding one of those missing children on the back of milk boxes: It rarely happens and if you do, they¹re usually confused and non-sensical. The Hider has managed to find one spot in the store that the manager never checks, and to which customers rarely venture.
If you happen to come across a hider, and have the nerve to ask them for some assistance, they¹ll avoid helping you as much as they possibly can.
YOU: Excuse me, can you help me find the—
(Hider begins walking away as if he didn’t hear you)
YOU: Excuse me, do you work here?
HIDER: Um…yeah. (continues walking)
YOU: So, Can you help me find-
HIDER: This isn’t my department, sorry.
YOU: …I didn”t tell you what I was looking for.
HIDER: What are you looking for.
HIDER: Yeah, not my department.
4. THE TEENAGE GIRL
WHERE YOU’LL FIND THEM: Nordstrom Rack, Hot Topic, Anywhere they want 20% off.
She spends the entirety of the day texting on her phone, and if you interrupt her to ask her for any kind of help, she’ll make a face like you just pulled your pants down and took a shit in front of her. Then with the hand she’s holding the phone with, she’ll point to whatever direction someone else is in that can help you, and describe what they look like by declaring what physical imperfection they have.
YOU: Hi, I’m looking for a pair of new balance shoes.
TEENAGE GIRL: (doesn’t look up from texting) Um, yeah, I don’t know.
(pause while she continues to text)
YOU: Um, do you know someone who might know?
TEENAGE GIRL: * SIGHS * Yeah, go over there and ask that older lady with the zits on her face. She’ll know.
3. THE ACTOR
WHERE YOU’LL FIND THEM: Any mainstream retail store within 10 miles of a high school or college campus.
At first glance, The Actor (usually a young female) seems like a normal employee. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The Actor is merely playing the part of a sane, pleasant, helpful model employee. She’s an actor. That’s what she does. Unfortunately, this gives you, the customer, a false sense of security, because you think you’re dealing with a normal human being. Then you make the mistake of saying something that remotely resembles the lyrics of a popular Broadway Musical, and chaos ensues:
HER: Hello, customer! How was your shopping experience today?
YOU: It was pretty good. Some old lady almost fell down on the hardware aisle, though.
HER: Fell? Due to gravity?
(begins enthusiastically singing a song from the hit Broadway Musical “Wicked”)
I’m flying high!…Defying Gravity!
And no wizard that there is or was, is ever gonna bring! Me! Down!
HER: (begins enthusiastically signing a song from the Musical The Music Man) He’s a what? He’s a what? He’s a music man! Wheredaya get em? Whaddaya talk?
YOU: oh, shit.
2. THE 401KERS
WHERE YOU’LL FIND THEM: Wal-Mart, Airport Security, The Mall, McDonald’s
After putting in over 40 years in the workplace, this employee retired a couple years ago, planning on spending his or her golden years kicking back and relaxing. Then, after realizing that their economically annihilated 401k would now only get them through the summer, they have to go back into the workforce and take a job anywhere that would hire a recently retired 67-year-old. Old people are bitter as it is. Old people who used to have decent jobs, but are now forced to sweep up around the Sunglass Hut at the mall instead of watching Wheel of Fortune all day long are reeeeeaallly bitter.
YOU: Excuse me, is there a Chess King in this mall?
401KER: You think I give a shit about a Chess King, sonny? I used to be the regional sales manager of NCR. I had five salesman under me.
401KER: Damn right it is. What the hell did you ever manage? Back in ’95, my team pushed through 2.6 million in sales in one quarter. ONE QUARTER! No one had ever seen that before.
YOU: That’s awesome. I was just looking for the Chess King.
401KER: Chess King? I was the goddamn Sales King! Now I have to vacuum up around the Orange Julius just so I don’t have to live under an overpass. Where’s your chess king now, boy?
YOU: I’m going to go stand over there.
1. THE COMPLETE MORON
WHERE YOU’LL FIND THEM: Kinko’s, Starbucks, Target
From time to time, you’ll come across a store employee who resembles a lobotomized grapefruit. No matter what question you ask this employee, you’re met with a blank stare, a gaping mouth and silence. If this person was technically handicapped, you could cut them some slack and understand his or her inability to communicate thoughts and ideas. But this person is just the lower end of stupid.
YOU: Hey, do you know where the dish soap is?
COMPLETE MORON: Huh?
YOU: The dish soap? Do you know which aisle it’s in?
COMPLETE MORON: ….
YOU: Dish soap? For washing dishes? Do you know where it is?
COMPLETE MORON: Dish soap?
You: Yeah…dish soap. Dish. Soap. Soap for dishes.
COMPLETE MORON: Don’t know.
YOU: You don’t know what it is or if you have it?
COMPLETE MORON: Dish soap?