Be Our Next Success In addition to working as a virtual assistant, I also work a few hours a week in a popular children’s clothing store. I took a seasonal position last year and was honored when the manager asked me to stay on as a permanent part-time employee. While news of layoffs was on every media channel, it seemed foolish to turn down any job and one that I enjoyed. The merchandise is of great quality, bright and trendy while the interaction with customers and co-workers served as a nice diversion from my frenetic but thriving virtual assistance business. Although managing my professional time around the two jobs has been a challenge, the flexibility of being a virtual assistant affords me such opportunities.

Retail work is very difficult. There is no other way to describe it. Anyone who has worked in retail knows how trying the job can be emotionally and physically. Each customer transaction is different, so a good sales associate has to be ready to handle a variety of personalities as well as have the ability to ‘stomach’ the way customers treat sales associates. Some customers feel I am the ‘bottom of the food chain’ while others are grateful for the service I provide.

Often we read about how a sales associate should treat the customer who is ‘always right’. But little is said about good customer etiquette. A positive attitude toward the associate can actually bring out the best in the sales transaction.

10 Rules of Customer Retail Etiquette

1) When checking out at the service desk and you only have a large bill to pay for your items, it is respectful to ask the associate if she can ‘break’ the bill first before handing it to her.

Reason: I am not an ATM machine and my drawer is usually set up with change (bills and coins) for about $100 for security purposes. If I just signed on for my shift, chances are I cannot make the change for your large bill. If you ask beforehand, often times I can tell you if I can break the bill or not and move the transaction along. Please do not assume I can make change.

If I cannot break the large bill…

2) Please do not take it out on me. There is no reason to get testy if I say I do not have change for a $100 and the receipt is for an $8.00 item. I do not have access to the store safe and I cannot open a co-worker’s register to make the change.

3) Please hand the money to me in my own hand. Please do not lay the bills on the counter with change. It takes time to pick money off the counter and the transaction will go much faster if you hand me the money. Although it is my job to take the money from you it is just courteous to hand the money to the associate just as I directly hand you the receipt and your filled bags.

4) Please do not act upon any last minute shopping while you are on the line. Decide before you get up to the register if you want to buy something or not. I am responsible for keeping the line moving and other customers look to me to move everyone in and out quickly. Our time is as important as your own.

5) Please do not come into a store with open food container even if you do not see a sign that states so. Children are messy. I cannot take the time to clean up spilled ice cream or fruit juice. Please do not throw your food trash in my own counter trash can. There is a mall garbage can outside the store to dispense of food items. Someone handed me a leaking smoothie the other day that would have made an even bigger mess in my counter trash can.

6) Please keep your children busy while you shop. I cannot babysit your children while they pull down clothing from the racks or play hide-n-go-seek in the dressing rooms. I once saw a father throw a football to his son in my store near the store entrance. Teach your children that public shopping places should be respected. A store is not a playground.

7) Please do not take the tags off clothing and shoes and let your children wear them out the door. Wait until they are paid for. I will gladly cut off the tags for you. If you rip the clothing before paying for it while trying to take the tag off, we incur a loss which is passed onto the customer in the form of higher prices.

8) If you need something on a high display, please do not grab the hook yourself and try to take it down. Ask me, I will help you and I can do it much faster. Someone can get hurt trying to use the metal hook.

9) Please use the public restroom in the mall. Please do not ask to use our employee bathroom which is located in our busy and stacked stockroom unless it is an emergency. We cannot leave customers in the bathroom by themselves so it is not a good use of my time to stand in the stockroom waiting for the customers to come out of the restroom. If it is an emergency, I understand and can make an exception.

10) Please do not place your baby on the counter while you check out. Diapers leak and the counter needs to stay clean. This is my workspace. Please respect that. Children are curious, often grabbing my register supplies and credit card digital pens.

Thank you.


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