Retail workers: what we say vs what we really mean

January 24, 2017
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There are many things retail workers have to endure. Rude customers, annoying managers and endless shifts – all for minimum wage. There’s no denying that working in retail gets you the moolah, but God… at what cost? Here are some examples of what retail workers tell you in their happy customer service voice, and what they’re really whispering in the darkest corners of their minds. (Hint: it’s a lot of curse words)

What we say: “Do you think you will need a bag for that one?”
What we mean: You don’t need a bag for that tiny pack of tissues.

Just put it in your purse and stop wasting my damn bags.

What we say: “Are you having trouble finding a size?"
What we mean: Stop fucking up the display.

You know, the one I just spent half an hour organising into sizes so people like you don’t have to rummage for your size at the very bottom. If you are this customer, retail workers hate you.

What we say: “Oh sure, I’ll check if we have anything out the back.”
What we mean: *Goes into the backroom and stares at the wall for five minutes* “Sorry couldn’t find anything.”

Customers are really surprised when you come back empty handed. Their looks always seem to suggest that maybe you should go look again or you didn’t look hard enough. Because the back is an endless room full of magical products that never ever sell out right? Right?

What we say: “Would you like to speak to my manager?”
What we mean: Would you like to be put in your place?

There’s no better feeling than seeing the manager tell the customer the exact same thing you just said. Or even better, when someone asks to speak to the manager and you see the evil fire slowly burns out of their eyes as you smile and whisper those four beautiful words, “I am the Manager.”

What we say: “Your card was declined, maybe you put in the wrong pin?”
What we mean: You and I both know there’s no money on that card.

Spare us both the embarrassment and leave while you can.

What we say: “Would you like to donate that extra five cents to charity?”
What we mean: If you say no to this, you’re going to look like a massive dick.

It’s five cents! What were you going to buy with five cents anyway?

What we say: “I can take those items off your hands if you don’t want them!”
What we mean: How about not chucking them anywhere in the store for me to find as a surprise 5 minutes before closing time?

I will not be mad if you don’t want to buy the products. But if I see one more customer place the shampoo in the jeans aisle, you will feel my sleep-deprived-nine-hour-shift wrath.

What we say: “Yes, we’re still open for a few more minutes.”
What we mean: It’s literally 8.59 GET THE HELL OUT!

I don’t care if you’ve got urgent shopping to do, retail workers don’t live in the store! We want to go home too!

What we say: “Sorry I can’t, it’s against company policy.”
What we mean: You’re being annoying and I don’t want to.

No, I can’t call up a million of our other stores and ask if they’ve got one item that you could’ve just ordered online yourself. Well I probably could, but I’d rather not.

Sophie Nicolas

Sophie is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts and is an aspiring writer, dog enthusiast and thrift shop fashion icon.

Image: The Good Girl Facebook page