11 Types Of People I've Met Working In Retail

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I do love my part time job working in a bookstore. I love books, and the people I work with are awesome. I also (generally) like talking to customers. During my school term, going to work on a Saturday or a Sunday is pretty much the highlight of my week (yes, I realize how pathetic as that sounds).

Sometimes, though, the customers you meet when you work in retail are a little bit… unique. Here are eleven types of people I’ve interacted with, since starting my job:



  • The Oversharers 1 of 11

    Oh, you're buying you and your twenty-year-old daughter copies of the Kama Sutra, so you can "spice it up" with your boyfriends? How great for you.

    Please excuse me whilst I go in the back room and throw up. 


    Photo Courtesy of [stockimages/]

  • The Enthusiasts 2 of 11

    Gee, I'm really happy you're praying out loud for me and my friend to "reconcile with [our] boyfriends" and all, but newsflash: we don't actually have boyfriends, and also? If my selling you a Nicholas Sparks book has been the "highlight of [your] honeymoon" like you claim it has been, well... that's a little sad. 

    Oh, and, just out of curiosity, what made you think we needed reconciling with our (imaginary) boyfriends? 

  • The Ones Who Want Free Therapy 3 of 11

    I'm so glad you decided to share with me how bad of a parent your daughter is, and how she has a lack of etiquette. I'm sure she just loves when you tell her that you can control her son better than she can. Now, if I'm backing away slowly whilst you tell me the color of your grandson's poop? Well, that's not me displaying my own lack of etiquette, at all.


    Photo Courtesy of [Ambro/]

  • The Know It Alls 4 of 11

    You think you know more about literature than I do? Damn straight, you do. You think you know more about sci-fi than I do? Hell yes. But, you think you can tell me more about trashy teenage romantic comedy books? DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.  And, no, the bookshelves aren't disorganized, they're just in a very particular unique system, thank you very much.  And, if you try and convince me that I'm wrong when I tell you Shakespeare wrote plays, and not novels? Well, I think that's just case in point that the customer isn't always right. 

  • The Travel Book Buyers 5 of 11

    I get quite excited every time someone buys a travel book and I get to serve them, because I am desperate to travel more, and until I save enough money, I'm limited to living vicariously through other people. Every time someone buys a travel book, especially to Europe or the United States, I'll start asking them twenty questions (I've been to the US before, and I've been to France before, but I really want to  go back there, and discover London and Italy desperately).


    Most people will generally humor my incessant "where are you going?" "How long are you going for?" "What! You don't know whether or not you'll go to Disney? Don't be an idiot, of course you should go to Disney!" "What do you plan on doing there?" "Ugh, I'm so jealous!", and will tell me all about their trip, what airline they're flying, where they're staying and how they have to go visit their Great Aunt Milly, but that's okay, because she'll slip them a few extra euros and wash their clothes for free. It's not the same as travelling myself, but at least this way is cheaper. 


    Photo Courtesy of [jannoon028/]

  • The Signer-Uppers 6 of 11

     I love these people. They're the best. 

    See, I don't work on commission, but we do have this "competition" where we have to ask customers to sign up for a free store card. Then the person who has signed up the most people in a week, gets a free chocolate bar. It's basically a way for the owner to drum up more business, and the manager to see who are are the "weakest team players". 


    Look, we get it. Signing up for cards is annoying, because we'll probably spell your name wrong, and ask you to repeat your phone number five times, but the thing is, we've been doing this for the last six hours, and by now, we've forgotten our own phone number, and probably our name too, if it wasn't written on our name tag. We honestly wouldn't ask if we didn't have to, (or if there wasn't free chocolate involved), and we really appreciate it when you actually sign up for a card. In fact, we're so used to people saying "no", we may even share our free chocolate with you if we win (actually probably not, it's hard work getting 26 people to sign up in one day, and chocolate can really only be appreciated if it's not shared). Still though. Keep this up, and you may even be on our Christmas card list. 

    Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

  • The People Who Don’t Like Teenagers 7 of 11

    Just sayin'. Some people just don't like buying stuff from  fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen year olds. Those are the people that will "politely" ask if they can be served with a person "with more knowledge" before you even open your mouth to greet them. They're the people who won't be happy until they're being served by the oldest person working in the store, and the people who will tell you it's "disgusting how much teenagers get paid per hour, when I was a teenager, I didn't even get that much money per month." That's okay, though. They're also the people who only read educational books so no wonder they're so bitter. 

     Photo Courtesy of [Ambro/]

  • The Bargain Hunters 8 of 11

    We all like a bargain, and we all like to get things as cheaply as possible. But, I have no authority whatsoever, sorry to disappoint you.  I don't make the prices, I'm just the person who labels the books with their price stickers. I can't give you a discount, no matter how much you tell me you're "not paying this much for pieces of tree binded together," or demand a reason why it costs "$10.50 for the latest Jodi Picoult," or get angry because we don't offer seniors/ people under eighteen/ people over eighteen/ students/ tax payers/ human beings in general a discount. I don't know why, but I can't do anything about it, because last time I checked, I don't own the store- I just work at it. We only give discounts to employees and stock that is damaged (*enter in the people handing in resumes and tearing covers off books*). 

    Photo Courtesy of [Vlado/]

  • The People That Just Assume I’m Having a Bad Day 9 of 11

    "Hi sir, how's your day going?"

    "Better than yours!" 

    "Got any good plans for the rest of the day?"

    "No, but my day is guaranteed to be better than yours will, anyway!"

    Um, no, you don't know that. I may have just won the lottery. You may end up falling over on that escalator over there, break your ankle and end up in the Emergency Room. Your car might break down on the way home. You might bend down to pick up some money, and your pants might split and you'll show everyone around you your underwear. Me, on the other hand? Well, it's unlikely I'll be moving from this store for the next seven hours, so the worst that will happen is I'll price a book incorrectly, or press the 'cash' button instead of the 'credit card' button on the register.

    Photo Courtesy of [Stuart Miles/]

  • The People That Assume I Just Stand Around Reading All Day 10 of 11

    I've had so many customers that walk in, and say, "sorry to interrupt your reading", or "you're lucky, you can just read all these books for free during your shift!" or "if I could read at work too, I'd read so many more books than I do." Let's get one thing clear: reading isn't in our job description. We don't get to flip through the newest bestseller during our shift. We don't even get to read the store's books on our breaks, unless we're planning on buying them first. Instead, we get to price books, and organize shelves, and serve customers, and clean the store, and unpack the pallets, and do stock, and put books away and do shelve fills. It's a sweet job, but it's not stand-around-reading-all-day sweet.

    Photo Courtesy of [Marin/]

  • The People Who Call You By Your First Name 11 of 11
    hello my name

    Sometimes, when you're serving someone, they'll just start calling you by your first name, even if you haven't introduced yourself.  Like yes, sure, we've gotten to first name basis on the thirty seconds I've started serving you for. It's a little weird, because most of the time I'll forget I'm wearing a name tag, and I'll be all, "um...Do I know you?" and they'll be like, "no," and I'll get really weirded out, and I'll start thinking that they're mind readers or something and I immediately will start thinking "okay, I have to think good thoughts about this customer. Best customer ever!" And, then  they'll say, "I just read your name off your tag," and you can almost hear the added, "you're an idiot," that they want to attach on the end of that sentence. It's embarrassing, but also a little weird hearing random strangers that you've never introduced yourself to, calling you by your first name. 

    Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Article Posted 2 years Ago
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