Having worked in retail for a few years, and having been quite good at it, I know first-hand how difficult it can be for sales associates in the holiday season. I’ve been yelled at and treated rudely, ignored and abused, pushed aside and shoved, but I never faltered in my smile and robotic politeness. (In my younger years, I had more patience and tolerance for those things, especially when a job depended on it.) For those reasons, I have a soft spot in my heart for those retail folks who are just trying to do their job and not be blasted for it.
That said, I can also tell when a retail associate is just being rude and dismissive, or shouldn’t be on the floor at a certain point. A guy by the name of Brad, the supposed Tommy Hilfiger expert at Macy’s in Downtown Boston, seemed to have reached that point when Kira and I were waiting in his line. After standing there for a few minutes, and grateful to be in a line that didn’t seem very long, we were told that we would need to find another line (he suddenly had a dilemma of some sort that was never fully explained). It sounded like he was just exasperated by his job at that moment, which I get, but the way to handle it is to suck it up and tell anyone else that the line was closed after that.
Oddly enough, Kira was more upset by this than I was, loudly stating that it wasn’t very good customer service (!) and that he should have told us that before we were waiting in line. Which was a good point – none of this would have been an issue but for the fact that he threw us out of the line after we’d been standing in it.
We found another line, with a much friendlier associate, who asked how our shopping experience was going. So I told her, not in a nasty way, but in a constructively critical manner (because if you offend someone as normally meek and sweet as Kira, you’ve really acted out of line). This associate said that she was not a fan of Brad either, so I mentioned she could feel free to tell her manager about the incident. Luckily, or unluckily for Brad, the manager was right there, so I told her about it directly, and said that I understood what it’s like working at this time of the year, but there are better ways to handle a line of three people. She thanked me for letting her know (I really wasn’t mean about it) and assured us she would be talking to Brad. Whether or not she does is beyond my control or care at this point. We thanked her for listening and went on our merry way. All’s well that ends well. (Sorry, Brad.)Back to Blog