5 Types Of Customers You Will Encounter When Working In Retail

Do not misinterpret me here, I enjoy working in retail. But after holding multiple jobs in retail throughout my late teens and early twenties, I’ve begun to realize, no matter where a person works, he or she will encounter the same types of shoppers. And boy, do these people brighten my day. Well, not at the time he or she is my customer, but later on, when I recollect those instances (and/or realize I did the exact same thing I originally found to be an annoyance). Read on:

1. The “Can I Get A Discount?,” Customer.

Let me rephrase that: the, “Can I get a discount, when it’s already heavily discounted,” customer. This customer is the ULTIMATE McFrugal! He or she is the customer that walks into a Salvation Army, on 50% off day, and still tries to bargain the price. Or the customer that is making a purchase that is $1 but is trying to haggle it down to 50 cents. I understand, these are hard times we are living in, but seriously, hard times are probably the reason that item is marked down (or the product could just be really ugly and only likable by that one person).

2. The “I Just Want To Ask Questions” Customer.

This customer can be interpreted in three ways:

A. “I just want to hear my voice because I haven’t spoken to any other humans all day, so I’m going to ask you a bunch of pointless questions and not REALLY listen to any of your responses.”

This type of customer will pretty much keep asking the same questions, but in multiple ways. I can best describe this type to be similar to the Taco Bell menu. Everything is pretty much comprised of the same thing, but presented in various ways. For example, he or she will ask, “How much is this?” following up with, “This is, how much?” before you can even utter a single syllable.

Sometimes this customer will develop into the, “Let me enlighten you on every detail going on in my life even though we’ve just met,” customer. Sometimes you’ll care, sometimes you won’t.

B. “I’m just going to ask questions because I CLEARLY can not read any signage you’ve already put up,” customer.

Let me start with the top thing I have learned in retail: NO MATTER HOW MUCH SIGNAGE YOU PUT UP, THE CUSTOMER WILL ALWAYS ASK THE QUESTIONS YOU WERE ORIGINALLY TRYING TO PREVENT. Sadly, there is still the customer that looks with their mouth, as opposed to their eyes. My least favorite customer, in my opinion.

C. “I already know the answers to these questions but I’m trying to find the perfect moment to tell you I think you’re cute, but I’m really just being annoying,” customer.

He or she wants to continue talking to you because he or she thinks you’re attractive. Flattering, yes, but annoying at the same time, because well, you’re working. Understandable, and certainly normal, at a bar or social event but this is work. You’ve got a business to run, and your business isn’t speed dating events (unless, of course, it actually is). Now, this is the perfect time to segway into my next type of customer, as he or she will probably turn into this type if you choose your words wisely.

3. The “Can I Get Yo Number?” Customer.

Let me allow a YouTube video to explain this one:

Note: This type of customer will sometimes hangs around, or visits the store multiple times in one week. The most extreme will wait until you’re off the clock to ask you, once again, “Can I get yo number?” Sometimes he or she will even use, “your,” instead of, “yo.”

4. The Ultimate Tourist.

Wearing clothes clearly not for the current weather, with a map in one hand, and a camera in the other, and a fixed look of confusion on his or her face, this type of customer is unmistakeable. He or she will greet you in their oh-so-cute broken English and will more than likely say either, “Bye,” or “Tanks,” on the way out. If he or she asks questions, be patient with them, it might be their first time speaking English (Remember when you first visited a foreign country and only knew a few phrases?). Brownie points if you can say a few phrases in his or her language! It always seems to brighten this customers day.

5. THAT Customer.  

Oh, you know who THAT customer is. It’s THAT customer that stumbles into the store about 30 seconds before you are ready to close your doors, begin closing procedure and head home. THAT customer will walk around, for say, about 25 minutes, touch, disassemble, and ask questions about EVERY product, make a huge deal about their long trek to the store, walk around for another 25 minutes, ask for an impossible-to-find product in your stock room (you find it), and then leave with nothing. The plus side here is, you are probably incurring some overtime. The downside, you’re still  working.

And as a bonus, here is one more type of customer:

The, “Why The Hell Are You Here On Your Day Off?” Customer. 

This is your coworker.

And this situation is most comparable to those times when you go out for drinks with your coworkers and ask, “How was your day?” and then realize, “I KNOW how your day was. I was there for all eight hours of it. So it’s cool, you don’t have to lie to me and tell me it was awesome, when I clearly know it was just okay.” Depending on who it is, sometimes you’ll want to see him or her, sometimes you won’t, but you do know you’re envious because he or she is off, and you’re here….still working.

1 comment
  1. jjasef said:

    hahah I enjoyed this despite not working in retail 🙂

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