On the Saturday before Mother’s Day I went to a large, sort of upscale department store to shop for some spring clothes. It was crowded and after picking out a couple of things to try on I waited for a dressing room. When I finally got one, was shocked to find six pairs of jeans on the floor in a heap. I thought I would at least pick them up and lay them across the back of a chair and noticed that at least three pairs were inside out (they were skinny jeans and probably difficult to take off). I wound up putting the jeans right side out and hanging them back up on the hangers. I felt bad for whoever would have had to do this job on such a busy day and also was kind of worried that whoever came into the room after me would think I had left such a mess. Later, in the shoe department, I was waiting for the clerk to bring some shoes for me to try on and as I sat I noticed the floor completely littered with tissue from the boxes, cardboard inserts from the shoes, those little footie-things people put on, etc. The staff was being run ragged because the store was so crowded; it was not like anyone could come around immediately and pick these things up. But then, shouldn’t these would-be customers be respectful enough of not only the staff but of new retail merchandise–who wants to buy something someone else has thrown on the floor in a heap? What is wrong with people these days? Is it so hard to at least make an attempt to put things back as you found them? 0513-14
I’m with you. I pick up my stuff and replace it on the hangers or fold it….maybe not as neatly folded as the store staff would do but I make the effort.
We have a saying in our family when we see things like this, “The world is their ashtray.” Only in your case, the department store is some people’s ashtray. They just wander through life depositing the detritus of their existence expecting everyone else to clean up in their wake. It’s an imperial form of entitlement as if they were too highly positioned in life to ever deign to stoop to such menial tasks. The concept of leaving the world a little better than you found it is utterly lost on them.
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I have been one of those unfortunate employees. I worked for a large discount store as my first job. One night I was reassigned to the dressing room/ women’s department, an employee had given me a large pile of thing to sort outside the dressing room and keep an eye on it. It was towards the end of the night and a woman used the rooms then as she was walking out proceeded to drop her pile on to mine. Me being slightly more outspoken asked her to return her clothing to the racks. She sneered that’s my job and walked away.
Wait, what? I don’t leave changing rooms with piles of clothes on the floor but I don’t go all around the shop to put everything back on their racks – is that what I’m supposed to be doing?
Generally when I walk out of the changing rooms the attendent will usually ask if I have anything that needs to be put back and they take them from me. If they don’t ask I usually say “can I leave these with you?” and they always say yes and take them. Am I wrong? I had always assumed they would want to put them back themselves so they can be sure they’re folded correctly or put on the hanger more professionally than I ever manage to. I’m worried now… am I rude to ask the attendent if I can leave clothes with them to put back?
Eve, I think you are fine. You are, after all, asking before doing so. I think the issue with Dizzy’s customer isn’t so much her not hanging it back up, but her incredibly rude response when asked to.
That, and also just dropping her rejected try-ons onto the pile without making sure it was OK. How was she so sure that pile hadn’t been removed from the racks on purpose?
It depends on the store, but most stores I’ve been to want you to put the things on a rack by the changing room attendant’s station (which, in these lean times, often isn’t staffed; instead, the store will expect the other employees to add the attendant’s duties to their own, which of course just adds to the stress level). People aren’t very good about putting things back neatly or even in the right place, so asking them to put the things back is probably not a good idea in the long run. Still, the lady didn’t have to be so rude about it! “Hi, I see you’re busy. I’ll just dump this pile directly on top of what you’re trying to do. Have fun!”
I would say it depends. Dizzy had a large pile of things to sort through already so it could be rude for the customer to just dump her things on top and give her more work to do. If the attendant offers to take the items it’s fine. Asking politely is probably also okay. Dumping the item on Dizzy and sneering when she asked customer to return the clothes to the racks herself was rude.
I suppose it depends on the shop. Some shops have a rack for clothes, and you put them there. Other shops don’t, so you put them back.
Either way, just dumping it on top of someone’s already-done work is incredibly rude.
I would have told her not to put things deliberatly in my way so I can DO MY JOB. Cheeky woman!
Most stores have a rack or hook outside the changing room for you to hang your stuff on that you don’t want to buy. It is not rude to make use of those. It is expected. In fact some stores really don’t want you putting it back on the sales floor because they want to make sure things are hung properly then restocked properly. It’s part of why there are dressing room attendants, to collect the things you no longer want and put them back properly.
It is rude to dump your clothing and leave a mess, it is not rude to rehang your clothing and put it in a central location for the employee to recheck then put back out on the sales floor.
Most stores have a rack outside the fitting rooms where you can hang everything you tried on but don’t want, and then the employees take the clothes from that rack and put them back where they belong throughout the store. You don’t have to put each item of clothing back on the rack where you found it, but you should put it on the rack for unwanted clothes instead of just leaving them in a heap in the fitting room.
Most clothing stores that I’ve been to that have fitting rooms, also have a table/desk/kiosk/whatever outside the fitting rooms, with wheeled clothing bars behind it. So, when people try on clothes, they’re encouraged to to either hand whatever they don’t want to the person behind the counter, leave them on the table if he or she isn’t there, or better yet, hang them back on the wheeled clothing bars so that they can be put away properly later. If no such setup exists, then I’ll put the unwanted items away myself. Dumping everything in a pile on the floor is rude, because for one thing, it gets the clothes dirty, and for another thing, yes, it’s the employees’ job to put away clothes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be treated with respect. If it wasn’t for them, the whole store would be a jumbled mess, and it’d take twice as long to find what I needed, so I show my appreciation by trying not to make their jobs any harder.
I’d assume that Dizzy meant that the customer should hang the clothes on the racks outside of the dressing room. I agree; I only rerack clothes where they belong on the floor if I’m specifically going back to the same area for a different size/color.
I don’t think you are wrong. Most of the stores I shop at have signs in the changing area asking that you return any clothes you are not buying to the attendant. Often, if there isn’t an attendant, there is a rack by the attendant station to put the clothes on. I think the stores would rather put the clothes back themselves. Kind of like bookstores or the library where there are signs all over the place asking patrons to please, please, please do not reshelve the books. They want you to either leave the books on the tables or put them on the return rack so the employees / librarians can reshelve them properly. What you are doing is the etiquette thing to do.
When I worked for Target, I appreciated when folks asked if they should hang their unwanted items back on the rack. Very few folks offered to do so. Our management wanted us to do it, to make sure the clothes were hung up properly, right side out and buttoned or zipped up etc.
I’m not a neat freak in any way, shape or form, but I do pick up after myself. Putting the clothes back on the hanger takes but a few seconds and unless the store personnel tells me to leave it with them, I put things back on the rack where I found them. It is respectful of others and also myself. My children have been taught (sp?) the same thing, leaving me to find all kinds of interesting trash in their pockets on laundry day. If you would not leave litter in your home, don’t do it elsewhere.
The world isn’t their ashtray – they are kindly providing someone with a job!
That’s the excuse I have heard most often – it’s someone else’s job to clean this up. Whether it’s a dressing room, a park, gym locker room, or a movie theater. Slobs are “job creators.” Yeah. Nice try.
They technically have a point, but if customers did just pick up after themselves the employees would still be employed – they’d still have to face goods on the shelf, make sure the clothes are in decent order, pick up rubbish – except they wouldn’t have to deal with the extra work of picking up after the customer’s unholy messes. There’s a difference between facing goods because they’ve been jiggled around a bit by customer browsing and having to completely red0 the aisle because some [redacted] decided to throw sugar and eggs all over the place. (Yeah, it happened. I had to stop a toddler eating the sugar off the floor because their parent had turned their back for a second to do shopping.)
I mean, they’re only getting paid minimum wage, that’s not enough for some of the things I’ve seen my fellow customers do. (The changing room is not a potty. Why did you let your child poop in the corner? Why???)
My favorite was when a lady came in with a little boy, maybe five years old or so, and I could tell just by looking at him, he wasn’t feeling well. She was in the changing room for only a minute or two, and then RAN out of the changing room holding only her purse and the boy. I figured she was rushing him to the rest room, so I went into her booth to hold the clothes she picked out to try on until she came back. I opened the door and found not only all the merchandise on the floor in a big heap, but a huge and smelly pile of vomit underneath the whole pile on the carpeting. Yes, that’s right….her kid threw up all the floor and then she put ALL the clothes on TOP of the vomit and fled the store!!!!!
I was horrified and furious. I understand when you have to throw up, especially a little one, there isn’t much you can do except let it fly. But for her to ruin what ended up being almost $200.00 worth of merchandise, was disgusting! Did she think I wouldn’t notice it??? Ugh!
Not to mention, most employers don’t hire extra workers or give extra hours to deal with slobs — they just expect the existing employees, within their existing hours, to do all the extra work on top of their regular duties.
This attitude has become common in high schools around here. Many kids throw their trash on the floor instead of in the waste baskets. When told to put their trash in the waste baskets their response is that the custodians are paid to clean it up.
My high school had students who went one step beyong that. If we put out trash cans for paper in the hallways , the kids would set the cans on fire or drop firecrackers in them.
I spent much of my childhood vacations camping and hiking. I was taught then to “leave no trace”. One of my jobs just before leaving the campsite was to look around to make sure we didn’t miss a food wrapper or errant sock, so that we’d leave the site as pristine or better than when we found it. The same principles apply to retail stores, restaurants, etc. Enjoy your time there, do what you came there to do, and make sure that you left it just as good as you found it.
If only more people behaved that way. As an avid trail rider I only had experience with horse trails, they were always neat and clean. On a very rare hike down the “people” trails I was horrified to see all the graffiti and garbage laying around.
It drives me bonkers too. You’re out there enjoying the natural scenery, right? Otherwise you might as well hike around your neighborhood. So why clutter it up for everyone else?
I encountered the same thing with a rental cabin rented out only to congregants at my church, it was owned by two parishioners. Every renter is given strict, detailed instructions on cleaning up the cabin after themselves when their stay is done, but sadly, not everyone follows those rules. When my group stayed here, the previous party had left the place a mess, including leaving hair and a bloody Band-Aid in the shower. Gross! So guess who had to clean that up, we did! And these are all people who go to our church, so everyone knows who they are and yet they’re still slobs.
As a server, I am sometimes shocked, SHOCKED, at the way people leave their restaurant tables. I certainty don’t expect them to neatly stack their plates and put all the napkins together, or whatever. But they could refrain from opening all the sugar packets and dumping them on the table, and shredding the paper goods and sprinkling them on the floor. And I’m talking about adults.
And if for some reason you *do* make a mess (spilled drink, whatever), for crying out loud, tip appropriately.
I made a bit of a mess one day at a cafe, I called one of the waitstaff over, indicated the mess and apologised. They cleaned up AND thanked ME for telling them. I left a sizeable tip in their jar just on that score along!
Just the other day I was at a restaurant and I was carrying my tray to my table and I had to do a funny little side step to get around a chair. I ended up loosing my balance and watched in horror as my drink fell over then rolled off my tray, hit the floor, and splashed everywhere. I immediately apologized profusely to anyone in the area who might have gotten splashed, set my food down so I didn’t wind up spilling THAT too, then went and got an employee. I apologized to him as well because I worked in a fast food place for three years and KNOW that there are people who wouldn’t have said anything and it would have sat there til an employee noticed it or another customer complained. He seemed genuinely shocked that I was so apologetic. Then I happened to mention I had worked in fast food, and he said “Ah, so you get it” then smiled and went about cleaning up my spilled drink.
I often wonder if what those customer’s own dining tables look like. It stands to reason that, if they create such an awful mess while out in public where others can see what they’ve done, the condition of their table at home is probably horrendous.
It’s been a good 20 years now, but I’ll never forget watching how the couple across the aisle from us at Red Lobster left their table. The bus person literally stood in shock with his mouth hanging open when he came up to clear it. Crumbs and spills covered the surface. Dropped food created a not-small mound on the carpet under the table. Napkins stuffed into glasses that were still half full of beverage. Dirty silverware thrown on the booth seats. Dinner plates flipped over. And, the piece de resistance was the poopy diaper and wipes left right on top of the table.
How that couple could apparently feel zero shame on their piggish behavior just made me sad for the future of humanity.
And work break rooms. I’m fairly sure none of the people I work with have maids and housekeepers at home to pick up after them, yet they don’t seem to feel the need to wipe up their coffee spills, pick up food that they’ve dropped on the floor and my biggest complaint, have no problem with leaving their dirty dishes in the teeny, tiny sink. Yes, we have a great janitor, but he shouldn’t need to be bothered with these slobs.
Once upon a time department stores employed people to sit at the entrance of dressing rooms. There was a limit of how many things you could take in. They would count how many garments you had and give you something to indicate how many you were taking in. Then they would count what you had when you were leaving the dressing room. I’m sure it was more about stopping theft, but it also meant garment-free dressing rooms. I guess the costs of retail theft were less than the money that these people were being paid because you never see that anymore.
Coldwater Creek has a wonderful set-up for helping their customers and I love shopping there. They take care of finding you a dressing room, placing the garments you have picked out in it, and staying nearby in case you need some help. I so hate having to get completely dressed again to go out and find another size. Dillards is also good about this and you can’t get in their dressing room until someone unlocks the door so they know you are there. I too have encountered the clothes in a wad on the floor in some stores and I always pick them up, fold them and place them on the hanger or back of the chair. I can’t imagine why someone would do this but it has obviously become an action embraced by many.
Too bad Coldwater Creek is closing!
Oh, No!!! That’s one of my favorite catalogs.
I didn’t even know that Coldwater Creek was a real store–I thought it was just a catalogue (and probably now a website).
Yes, it is!
I know a colleague who is going to be very disappointed by this news (she has things shipped here)!
Ex-barmaid here – I hear you! I’ve seen cardboard beer mats shredded into tiny pieces and scattered over the table, chairs and carpet; labels peeled off beer bottles and either shredded or stuck to the table; sauce sachets opened and smeared everywhere. But my personal favourite was going to clear empty glasses from a table and finding the ashtray filled with what looked like mud. I asked what had happened, out of bafflement more than anything else, and one of the group brightly informed me ‘Oh, I didn’t want ice in my drink, so I scooped it out and dumped it in there!’. Ermmm…OK, obviously an ashtray full of ash and butts is a much better receptacle for unwanted ice than, I don’t know, one of the empty glasses on your table?!
Wow Kate! I’ll have to tell my daughter who tries to restrain her 20 month old, picks up after him as much as she can and apologizes to the waitress besides. No she isn’t a neat freak, just thinks waitresses are people and that a child who can sit up at the table should be learning table manners.
I have seen piggy people like this and it always shocks me. What gets me even more are the parents who leave behind huge messes and blame their children. Yes, your child made the mess, but you do have two hands and can at least scoop some of it up! My Eldest was fairly neat when we went partly because the kid ate everything. There was nothing left to be a mess. My Youngest is just learning to eat finger food. Youngest gets food everywhere. When we go out we scoop the finger food into a pile on the floor so all the busser has to do is one sweep stroke or pick it all up and put it into the dirty dishes on the table. We stack dishes, gather all paper items together on a plate and place silverware on top of the paper products so that they are weighted down. We try to leave our area as clean as we can. We have asked for brooms and washcloths to help clean up. Usually we are met with a “no worries” and we tip a little extra for the trouble.
Where I live, you couldn’t do that. You get checked into the changing rooms with X items, you don’t leave until you bring X items back out. Aren’t these stores bothered about shop-lifting?
The dressing-room deadbeats and shoe department slobs are bad enough, but heaven help you if you need to visit the loo! Wads of wet tissue on the floor, items of an – ahem! – extremely personal nature thrown in corners, commodes left soiled and unflushed, dirty diapers tossed onto the changing table. All you can do is back away slowly while wondering what their bathroom at home looks like.
My guess is that those are folks that have ultra fancy matching towels (right down to the wash cloth) arranged in a sacred and untouchable way. NOT TO BE USED. Instead, I’ve heard a mother of 5 kids yell to her youngest to use the raggedy dirty towel tucked into a corner under a counter…
Also, the folks that toss trash out of their cars are the ones likely to have cordoned off living rooms with white wall to wall carpeting. Rooms used ONLY when “fancy company” comes.
I’d think that people who are messy in public would be messy in private as well. I can’t see public restroom messiness correlating with a pristine, elegant home environment.
i don’t think the two correlate at all. the first is about entitlement and expecting everything to be taken care of by those working. just because you leave others’ spaces a mess means you’re any more likely to make yours a mess.
When I was in high school I worked part-time in a clothing store. Dressing room clean-up and resorting the clothes was the most hated job. The worst part was when people would do/leave disgusting things and the employees had to clean it up. I, personally, had to mop-up urine because a lady’s kid had to go and she wanted to try on just one more thing and wouldn’t take her child to bathroom. Other coworkers have had to clean-up feces, vomit, dirty diapers and one unfortunate coworker found a used sanitary napkin stuck to the inside of a pair of pants. (The owner threw those away)
Since I have had that job, I do my best to make sure I leave the dressing rooms clean and put anything I tried on back on the racks. I have even taken things left by other customers and put those back on the racks.
To a certain extent, the “it’s the employees’ job to put it back” meme is accurate — customers aren’t expected to leave things *exactly* as they found them, perfectly folded or whatever. In some circs, well-meaning but amateurish attempts at doing so can actually make the employees’ job harder in the long run (ask any bookstore clerk about customers’ “creative” takes on alphabetical order.)
However, showing respect for the merchandise — ie. for what isn’t yours, just like mom always taught you — is a basic life skill, and failure to do so (leaving clothing in a pile on the floor, randomly scattering merch around the wrong departments, opening packages without asking for assistance, etc etc) is just plain ignorant.
People act like feral beings in hospitals too. We used to have two hospitality suites for family members to stay in free of charge if a family member was in the ICU or in for an extended stay. After being open for only TWO weeks the rooms were trashed so bad that the furniture, rugs and drapes all needed to be cleaned. After cleaning the rooms were then repurposed and if family members need a place to stay we refer them to the Embassy Suites across the road where they can pay their own way.
I once heard a teenage girl brag about going into an upscale Department Store to try on prom dresses. She and her friends were not planning to buy anything or even going to the prom that year. They thought it was funny to try on multiple dresses and leave them in a heap in the dressing room for someone else to clean up. I was appalled and said so. She still saw nothing wrong with doing this and said it was someone’s job to clean up after her.
It may be someone’s job to clean up after her but it isn’t her job to make a mess.
As someone who works in retail I agree and thank you for not leaving us a mess! I know even before I had this job, I was always careful to put things back on hangers and fold them and put them back, or where things to go back went. I’m even more so now having do e this job for 8+ years. I too have customers who seem to think they can just leave things in heaps on the floor, inside out, and a crumpled mess. And we know who you are!!
My store recently had a huge promotion. So lots of trying on, and most nights we were there a good hour past closing cleaning up, due in large part to customers like the OP described. It just makes our job harder, not mention is rude and entitled behavior. Many too have the attitude that we are just there to serve them, therefore clean up after them too. But on the flip side, I have also had plenty of customers who go out of their way to put things on hangers and fold them for us, which is so nice!
I once had an employee help me with some clothes. At the end of it, she was actually surprised that I was putting the things I tried out, but didn’t buy, in hangars! I didn’t understand back then why she should be surprised.
Oh, that’s nothing. You should see when it gets really busy…the amount of clothes left in the rooms won’t even fit on the takeback rack sometimes. The place gets to looking like a war zone. When I worked in a Macy’s-style department store, I would even find food lying around sometimes. A woman once walked up to my register with a mostly-eaten boat of french fries with ketchup, cheese and bacon and asked if she could throw it out in my bin! I let her do it because I figured that at least she wasn’t setting it down on a shelf somewhere, and that might be the outcome if I said no.
I also learned through that job that most clothes have been treated with utter disrespect by someone else before you purchase them. It was YEARS before I’d buy underwear that wasn’t sealed in a package and even now, it still sketches me out.
There’s a great blog full of stories like this called Retail Hell. There’s a lot of profanity on there sometimes, if that bothers you, but I always found it amusing. I was pleased that the proprietor got a book deal and was able to escape.
If there are too many clothes on the put-away rack, that says to me that the store hasn’t hired enough help.
I’ve worked various jobs in the service/retail industry, and people never cease to amaze me. I do put clothes I try on back on the rack provided by the dressing rooms, but I actually prefer just to put them back on the racks where I got them if I’m not going to buy them. I also try not to trash a table at a restaurant, and if it’s a fast-food place, I clean up the entire table, right down to wiping it with a damp napkin. Nothing skeeves me out more than a sticky surface.
That said, people who work in those industries go into it (or should) knowing that they are going to be expected to clean up after customers. It IS their job. I’ve never had an issue with doing it. Cleaning up after lazy co-workers is a whole other story.
There’s no excuse to purposefully add to a mess. Clothes left wrong side out and in heaps. Food scattered across the table and floor. That said- it IS the job of employees to clean and maintain a plant, be it a store, school, or restaurant. Those who cannot conduct themselves well can be refused service in any establishment. Employees do have to be on the lookout for problems too. Limits on the number of garments in a dressing room. Extra stops passing by a table that’s noisy or messy to tidy up or keep an eye on things. People CAN refuse to tolerate vandalism, littering, excessive profanity, violence, petty and criminal mischief, and bad behavior generally. It’s up to managers and employees to “host” shoppers or service consumers. They don’t do themselves or the rest of the world any favors by putting up with some of the things John Q. Public is capable of without taking countermeasures. If they are afraid of losing business as a result- well, how much is someone likely to give a business in trade who treats its products and its employees with such contempt? Perhaps there will be fewer messes to clean up when the worst offenders are barred from returning.
They can do that easily in a locally owned establishment that places a premium on service. Most big corporate stores and restaurants don’t, despite what their marketing materials say. If they did, they wouldn’t throw people out on the floor after only three hours of training (which didn’t include a tour of the store). They would dedicate floor and register staff, rather than making cleaning the floor and assisting customers something to be squeezed in when the registers are quiet. They’d assign someone to the dressing rooms, rather than allow customers to wander in and wander out and having the staff check it once per hour (when it’s busy, that doesn’t even remotely cut it — by the time you’re done cleaning, it will be time for the next check). They would hire fewer people and give them 20-40 hours so that they get really familiar with the store and its procedures, rather than have an army of folks who work one or two shifts a week (or less). They’d do something real to retain employees, instead of pie-in-the-sky promises like the ability to participate in a 401K match after you’ve been there 15 years, or stock options on your silver anniversary — and until then, no benefits.
But they don’t care. All of this would require money that they don’t want to spend. They have essentially figured out how to get away with providing the lowest quality of service that the public will accept, and that’s what you get when you shop there. There are a lot of employees who do their best anyway. They’re friendly to patrons, they’ve done their best to educate themselves on the store’s stock, and they work as efficiently as possible. But with the deck stacked sharply against them, even the most dynamic employee can only do so much.
That seems to be the way of it. The major discount retailers get away with lower prices by treating their employees horribly and skimping on customer service. The employee turnover rate is very high, but most of these retailers don’t care. For every one employee that “moves on” there are 10 waiting to take their place. Because the prices are so low, customers continue to shop at these retailers thereby encouraging the retailers to continue their poor treatment of employees / customers as well as find other corners to cut. While I do understand that there are many families where every penny counts and if they can get milk for their children for less at discount retailer than at regular grocery store, then there isn’t much they can do. However, for non-essential items, I personally would prefer to purchase quality products from places that give good customer service and I’m willing to pay for the privilege as far as my budget will allow. If my budget doesn’t allow, then I guess I didn’t need tchotchke that badly after all. Bottom line, I don’t want to shop, eat, play at places that treat their employees badly so I try to avoid those types of places as much as possible.
I had a job in retail once and a woman I knew from my home town (we were in a nearby city) came in to shop. She was supposedly of the “upper” class in my home town, but she left stuff all over the dressing room in a mess for me to pick up — and she knew me! Her “class” was more like “no class.”
There is almost no effort in my straightening up after myself in public. There is a ton of effort for the employee who has to clean up after dozens, perhaps even hundreds of people while simultaneously trying to do their job. I can’t stand slobs or snobs!
Yup. The upper class women who frequented the expensive women’s shop I worked in during the 1970s would leave all the clothing (this included the lingerie we sold) in the dressing room for me to fold or hang up and put away. I understood it to be part of my job in a small, full-service women’s store. I fetched different sizes for the customers and sometimes assisted them in the dressing room. It seemed like the wealthier the customer was, the more likely she was to leave the clothing for me, because she knew I expected her to do it. Putting the clothes away was part of my job. And, ah, the endless re-buttoning!
Yes, Wren, like you I was expected to put the clothes away quickly, so other customers wouldn’t be faced with a messy dressing room, yet I also had to keep the register manned (womanned?) and take care of any customers needing assistance, so I know just what you mean, and it was a trick to do all of it at once, wasn’t it? I worked in a large store, but often shorthanded so that I was the only one to work that department many nights. It was such a delight to wait on some people who had good manners, and such a pain to wait on the ones who looked down on me because I was a “lowly” retail clerk and showed such poor manners. If only they knew how many women worked there as a second job, and were teachers, office managers, musicians, etc., at their other jobs. Not that there is anything lowly about retail clerk in the first place!
Yes, the re-buttoning, refolding and re-zipping! Endless!
While I hang my things back on the hangers and place them on a rack, usually somewhere close to the fitting room doors, not everyone does this.
I worked in retail before and I knew that cleaning up these types of messes would be part of my job description. I didn’t always find that someone thinks it is my job to do so, as just pure laziness on their part.
As Kate said, you don’t want to know how people leave things in a restaurant; yet alone a changing room floor; and after 4 decades I will say that I seen just as epic a mess then as now; ‘the world is their ashtray’ is not a new phenomenon.
I will at least pick up things I tried on, not leave them on the floor, and if I can figure it out again, clip the stuff onto the hanger or otherwise do such. Almost all stores with fitting rooms do prefer (or so they told me) to put the clothes back on the rack themselves… but I can at least make them re-hang-able.
I used to clean the men’s toilets in a Student Union bar, and was perpetually amazed at the ‘inventiveness’ of this future generation of doctors, lawyers and professionals.
I won’t go into detail, but did they ever think, for just one moment “someone’s going to have to clean that up”? I don’t believe it ever crossed their minds.
I worked at the YMCA for a time, as janitorial staff. While it made sense that I’d occasionally see “accidents” when I found myself cleaning the boy’s locker room…some of the stuff I saw in the men’s locker room was just gross and baffling. I vividly remember one night after closing, all the sudden my boss is SCREAMING down the radio about what she just found in the men’s locker room, and while we didn’t WANT to go look, it was a whole new variety of awful and we actually had to team up to figure out how to clean it and disinfect the surrounding area properly. People are SUPER gross sometimes.
Unfortunately, I can guess.
If I have to clean a restroom and I have a choice of the Guy’s or the Gal’s; I’d usually take the Guy’s. You know that the management has given up if the entire place is tiled and there is a locked cage thing on the wall to protect a garden hose attachment and faucet handle. And you get paid minimum wage to go deal with that anyways, at least you can hope that they have serious cleaning garb to wear and not putting a few holes in garbage bags to wear so you don’t catch whatever it is you have to pressure wash down….
Unfortunately, cleaning up after yourself is a virtue that should be taught at a very young age. Very sad that even the grown ups don’t get it. I used to work at a bookstore and nobody ever reshelved the books. They would be strewn all over the café tables, the floor, the armchairs. It would take an entire staff about an hour after we closed the store to get them in order. Occasionally we would find books in the bathroom. To me it’s just disrespectful. Some people just don’t think a lot about store clerks. Cleaning up some mess is part of any retail job but some things are just excessive. Like sugar packets dumped out on the table–and books in the bathroom (yuck!) that takes the mess too far.
I agree, this can be frustrating. But on the other hand, do you really want people who seem to be “creative” with alphabetizing to reshelve the books? I’ve personally seen people put the weirdest books in the most head scratching places. Locating all of the “mis-filed” books could take a lifetime.
I worked in the high school library as a ‘student assistant’ during study halls I could spare; then in college did work study as a library worker. So I do know the Dewey Decimal, how to reshelve a book, and was the meanest ‘lost book searcher’ around (I could find misfiles). So going into most libraries; I can properly reshelve a book. If you don’t know how to, don’t! It’s best then to return your book to the book carts or collection area for the staffers to do so!!!!! In a bookstore that allows you to browse, I will only reshelve their book if I know/remember where I got it from; else I will turn it in so the employees can get it back to where it belongs.
Kendra, leaving books on the tables in the café to be reshelved is one thing–leaving them in the friggin BATHROOM is quite another. Also we used to keep carts at the end of the bookshelves for the customers to deposit books there–nobody ever used them for that purpose though and there would often be coffee cups, used napkins–uneaten food–yuck! So it went beyond just the books needing to be reshelved–which I admit is just easier if we do it–working in a bookstore with a café in it can be a nightmare if you have a closing shift. People are just plain gross.
I wonder if this issue has to do with fewer teens/young people taking up these kinds of jobs? Used to be that every teen worked at least a few entry-level jobs before finishing their post-secondary education and working in their career field. Now, often these kids go straight from high school to college and then on to their career without ever once having to slog through a service job. The best life training is experience, and it is quite apparent that that is what these “ashtray” people are missing. Builds empathy, it does.
Ah yes, “kids these days.”
I don’t think so, actually. For one thing, I don’t buy that fewer kids are working retail jobs. But this has been the case for a long time in retail establishments. I think it has to do with several factors: the rise of the large, impersonal store (you’re not creating more work for Mr. Hooper, who you’ve known since you were little and who lives around the corner from you and has let you go home with groceries and pay later on several occasions — you’re creating more work for people you’ll never see again who work for a shadowy employer whose corporate name doesn’t even match them name of the store). The entitlement mentality that has been fostered through advertising that sticks in people’s brains when they enter one of these establishments (“You deserve a break today!” “I’m worth it!” “When you’re here, you’re family!”).
There’s also displacement. I feel that people today have a lot of aggression. Maybe it’s always been like this, but I do think they use retail staff as an outlet, whether directly (through screaming at them over a 50-cent price discrepancy) or indirectly, by messing up the store and leaving it for others to clean up. Maybe the fast pace of life contributes to it, too. Clothing prices have dropped dramatically over the past 10 years, transforming clothes shopping from a twice-annual experience one saved for to an impulse buy that costs about the same as a sandwich. So people go into clothing stores when they really don’t have time to devote to shopping, they try on a bunch of stuff, next thing they know, they find themselves so pressed for time that they just leave everything.
>>“When you’re here, you’re family!”<<
That one doesn't make sense in this context. When I think of "family," I think "everyone cleans up after themselves."
Also please keep in mind that with the new healthcare laws, most of the retail stores don’t have as many clerks on the floor anymore. The cutting if hours has hurt my place of employment when it comes to having enough customer service during busy weekends. I’ve been told by a few friends who work at other retail outlets they are having the same issues.
Less workers on shift means that items won’t be reshelved from the fitting rooms as fast as they once were.
The new healthcare laws are being used by businesses as an excuse. They could still hire part-time employees and not have to pay them benefits.
Bottom line, the stores are struggling to compete with online shopping and are cutting costs by cutting the number of employees and the number of hours they work.
Meaning that the employees have more work to do and less time to do it in, for little money and no benefits. And they are told to give the customers what they want. And they have to put up with rude behavior from many customers.
My time in retail was short. There were many great customers. But the really bad ones? Those I will never forget.
My ex SIL worked as a manager of a Group home for the mentally handicapped. Once she and I were eating in a Food Court and SIL stopped me from clearing off our table. Her comment was that if everyone cleaned their tables her ‘clients’ would not be able to get jobs. I am still married to her brother, a very good man, but her assumption that only the handicapped worked in clean-up is just one of the many reasons that she is my ex SIL.
i don’t think she’s saying that at all. she’s right- people do hire on the developmentally disabled to take on jobs like those. i’ve worked in group homes as well and have found that eating establishments are more willing to hire on the disabled to clear tables than to work a grill. many of my clients have been given opportunities to work because of this need. i’m not saying we should make the world messier so people can get jobs, but based on what you stated, i don’t think she meant that that’s the only work they get hired on to do.
Anna here. Yes, my SIL did assume that ‘ only the handicapped worked in clean-up’. She also treated everyone as if they mentally handicapped. At a tea that she was organizing she left notes for the kitchen helpers; ‘take the cream out of the fridge, it is on the left side of the second shelf, pour some in the small jugs that are on the counter beside the ‘fridge. do not over-fill the jugs , take the tray with the cream jugs into the hall and place one jug on each table.’ I think you get the idea. The kitchen helpers ran the gamut from feeling insulted to laughing at my SIL. I wasn’t surprised at all. That is just the way she was
I don’t think it’s a problemw with a certain age group. One elderly person I know says that was less rubbish as most things in her day were biodegradable so they did rotted down, not that it made it an excuse – think apple cores rather then crisp packets. There is no excuse to leave things messy and make someone else’s job harder.
What baffles me is the way many parents allow their children to behave in stores. I worked in a toy store where parents would just watch their kids grab stuff from shelves and throw it on the floor. No telling their kids to stop, no picking things up or telling their kids to pick things up, no apologizing for the mess when they left. One kid literally emptied an entire shelf of stuffed animals onto the floor and his mother, who was standing about two feet away, did nothing. If I ever tried something like that when I was a kid, my mother would have told me to pick up everything I’d thrown or we would be leaving the store immediately. Do these parents WANT their kids to grow up with no respect for anyone or anything around them?
Former bookstore clerk here, sympathising with you all the way. I used to work in one of those huge superstores, and kids sitting in the aisles tearing up workbooks or plastering stickers everywhere was a routine thing. And heaven help you if you tried to take the remains out of the little darlings’ hands; parents who’d been completely AWOL ten seconds ago would suddenly swoop in like an avenging angel. “Don’t you DARE touch my child!… Yes, well, we were just going to buy that anyway!” Suuuuurrreee you were, lady.
I worked in restaurants to put my self through school in the 80s & 90s and while people were rude then, it’s nothing like what is going on out there in the service world today. I feel for people who are in customer service in any capacity, I don’t think I could do it myself anymore. I would either cry or rage everyday at the incivility of it all.
My hope is that we are coming to a time in this country when we chuck the old adage “the customer is always right” and replace it with “the right to refuse service for any reason”. Hopefully before it’s too late we will all agree that if parents are going to refuse to instill basic respect for others in their children, the rest of the world is going to have to do it for them.
I wholeheartedly agree with you. The ‘customer is always right’ business motto has swung too far the other way, where people can just lie, or make a big fuss, and they get exactly what they want. Whereas the rest of us have to put up with them.
Sadly, I think most people wouldn’t give it a second thought unless they have worked in retail or in the service industry. Years ago I worked in a grocery store. It was a regular occurance to have stuff left by the cashier when someone had changed their mind or in some other random spot. It wasn’t a huge deal, unless it was something perishable. You wouldn’t believe how often people left meat, dairy or frozen food items in with the cereal or another non-refridgerated section to go bad. The items often weren’t sellable once they were found and had to be thrown out. This results in a loss to the company and sometimes an increase in prices. I agree that basic cleaning and shelf restocking is part of any job in retail, but sometimes people just need to be more respectful and use common sense.
I have a story of my own. Just this past winter, I was on my way to steel band, and my boots leaked, so my socks got wet, so I stopped at a discount store to buy myself some more socks. I was early for steel band anyway, so I went to the public library (which is right near the church where my steel band rehearses) to kill some time, and before going into the library proper, I went into the bathroom to change into a pair of the dry socks I’d just bought. So, I sat up on the (sturdy, built into the wall) counter to do this–and of course, the bathroom was empty, so I wasn’t in anyone’s way. Anyway, as I was putting my boots back on, another woman came in, and I explained to her, “I was changing my socks,” so she wouldn’t think I was just sitting on the counter to be rude. She told me that she’d just gotten her period, which was a little weird, but maybe she’d been caught short and couldn’t do anything about it, so I gave her a pad. After browsing/reading for a while, I went back to the bathroom, and found that it had been left in a total disarray, with toilet paper all over the floor, along with the wrappings from the pad I’d given that unknown woman. So, in trying to help someone, I inadvertently helped her mess up the library bathroom. I’m kind of torn as to whether or not that mess was at least partially my fault.
P.S., Just so we’re clear, this was a multi-stall set-up, but the library was so quiet that afternoon, that I was fairly certain that the woman I met when I was changing my socks, had made the mess; partly because the mess included the wrappings from the pad I’d given her.
No, you are not responsible for the mess.
Yes, you did give her the pad. However, you did not expect her to make a mess of the bathroom. That washer own decision
This is slightly off the point but I have just seen an article about a restaurant in Canada that gives a discount to families if the children behave well! Not sure if this is to be praised or is it making what should be normal into something special? Here is the link – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2628257/Canadian-restaurant-rewards-parents-behaved-kids-discount-children-dont-throw-tantrums-table.html. Not really sure of anything except I might be very, very tempted to eat there rather than the restaurant next door!
I also wonder if businesses could add a service “surcharge” in some cases. There was a sign in this wonderful Bar B Que place as follows: “if you are grouchy, rude or just plain mean there will be a $25 charge for putting up with you”. Another favorite in several coffee shops- “unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy”. We’ve all seen “your mother is not here / the maid quit- you will need to clean up after yourself”. Humor can get the point across sometimes when plain speaking would be rude. And if you have signage posted that “customers whose booth (changing room, coffee shop table…) requires a Hazmat team and Superfund subsidies to clean can be expected to have a surcharge assessed at the manager’s sole discretion”. Well, I can dream…
There is no way I would treat a department store that way. I try on multiple pieces of clothing, but I always hang them back up, probably not as good as the staff, but I at least try. I even offer to put them back where I got from as well, though the attendant insists it’s their job to do it.
No wonder society is going down the tube, with people who treat the world as a garbage can! Completely vulgar!
The ultimate mess I have encountered was in a large department store. In the middle of the main aisle of the store was a mound of human feces. I suppose someone could not be bothered to walk over to the restrooms and found it more convenient to relieve him/herself right there.
Our local high school had small children who would come into the school after dismissal, eliminate on the floor, and then climb up on the roof to play. You would not believe the mess the high school girls made in the girl’s bathroom.
Sometimes patients will treat their hospital rooms as ashtrays. I’m not speaking of seriously ill people who can’t move to use the bathroom without help. I’m talking about patients who are able to get out of bed to walk and are oriented.
I had one patient who would void his bladder and/or bowels in his bed and ring the call bell for a cleanup any time he had a woman nurse(never with men nurses!). He was not incontinent by any stretch and he became extremely hostile when I suggested adult briefs to control and contain the messes. I had to change not just his bed, but clean him up and replace his soiled gown with a new one. He did this twice before I took drastic measures and had a male nurse assist. I changed the bed, he cleaned the patient! The behavior stopped right then and there.
There was another patient who got sick to his stomach because one of the post surgical pain medications didn’t agree with him. I found him trying to get on the floor to wipe up the mess because “You’re so busy and I don’t want to be any trouble.” I let him know those are the kinds of issues he should call me for, and after a change of pain meds he was fine. He stripped the bed and left the blankets and pillows piled neatly on the mattress after discharge to save me the trouble of doing it.
Most of the patients I deal with are sweeties, but sometimes I get people that make me boggle.
I think you can always tell when someone has worked in customer service. They’re the SWEETEST people to serve when you’re doing that type of job. even when ther’es an issue they’re polite and realise that the person they’re speaking to is both human and probably not responsible for the issue they’re concerned about.
I spent 7+ years in a cinema chain, I worked my way up from ticket tearer to manager & I too have been pretty appalled at some of the things that were apparently ok to leave to the staff to clean and/or remove. I’m not talkingjust popcorn remnants or sweet wrappers here either. I once had someone defecate on the seat in the cinema, can only imagine how THAT happened. ummm, I get it, you didn’t like the film :-/
As a result, while I’s sure I am not a perfect customer at all times, I do try to be considerate of any staff that I interact with. An apology for mess, a generous tip, putting away clothes yourself if there’s no staff to do it and even just a smile goes a looooong way to ensure the service you receive is good.
I too, worked many fitting room shifts at the “big red bullseye” store. I couldn’t believe the lack of manners and common courtesy most days. Yes, it’s my job to clean up after customers, but some people would leave unimaginable messes behind.
There are some good, polite people though! During one swimsuit season, a lady and her teenage daughter took about twenty bikini separates in to try on. When they were finished, the daughter came out and threw all of them on my counter and started to walk away. Her mother said “what are you doing?!? HANG THOSE UP!!!” The kid looked at me and the swimsuits and said “That’s HER job!” Her mom said “No…It’s not. YOU took them off the hangers, you put them BACK ON the hangers….NOW!” The girl grumbled, but did as her mother asked. I thanked the mom for being so considerate. It made my day.
That mom deserves oakleaf clusters and a golden spraypainted hanger! Bravo!
I had commented yesterday, some clarification, this was approximately 10 years ago before I think it was the norm for stores to ask you to leave things. This changing area was not always staffed and there was no rack to leave things, just me and a fill shopping cart. Coming from that experience I always ask when I am done trying clothes.
There may be a good point in that many of our younger generations do not work service industries anymore-economy, privilege, education, whatever, and thus they do tend to think that they are providing a job by making a mess.
But, like the broken window theory, what if, instead, we cleaned up after ourselves, leaving more time for employees to do service and sales, and do innovative things?
I often shop second hand. The changing rooms are almost always empty. How is this done? By keeping them locked until a customer rings a doorbell. You can take in 30 items, does not matter. The rooms are clean.
I was quite surprised to see an unmanned dressing room at a “fancy” department store, with clothes scattered everywhere. It felt cold and uncaring. Did not go back and DD and I went elsewhere for a fancy dress.
Ugh, I forgot to check this site yesterday and missed this story.
I worked in retail for three years and people who leave messes all over are one of my biggest pet peeves as a result. Seriously, what is so difficult about putting things back where you found them? Yes it’s part of my job but the fact that you are intentionally making my job harder just because of your laziness is just awful.
I often find myself fixing things in other stores. Like if I see a shelf where the stock has been picked over, I will pull everything forward and make sure the labels are facing customers like they should be. The only time I don’t do anything is if I am at a grocery store and happen across a perishable food item that is sitting in an area it is not supposed to be in. I don’t know how long it’s been there and I don’t know what store policy is so I don’t want to go put a tub of ice cream back only to find out it’s already melted and unsellable. I alert the nearest employee so they can follow whatever store procedures they have.
A woman once asked me why I was doing it, and she asked me AS I watched her put something back where it didn’t belong. “The employees will take care of it” she said to me. I told her “Employees shouldn’t have to take care of it just because you’re too lazy to walk ten more feet to the aisle that item came from”. She looked taken aback but she still didn’t bother to put the item where it came from.
I do that too, put stuff back in order…
Recently I was shopping a grocery sale, and found that some merchandise on the shelf had been opened (looked like a sealing issue from factory) and some jars were slopped up. I checked everyone with a gentle twist and four were ‘open’… and just lucked out a store clerk came by just then. I told her and handed the stuff over… rather than leave it for who knows how long the stuff had been unsealed.
Though moving stuff on hangpegs to the right one and twirling a few items back into faced, I do it automatically….
This subject is near to my heart. I’ve worked many years of retail and am always impressed by the level of slovenliness displayed by customers. So many folks think nothing of bringing food and drink into stores. Leaving empty coffee cups scattered about. Allowing children to run shrieking through aisles, knocking down everything within reach. Heaven only knows the amount of bodily fluids I’ve cleaned up. Of course, these people also feel the need to insult and mistreat retail employees because “nobody with an education would do this type of job.”
Another pet peeve of mine is people who eat u purchased groceries while shopping. If only stores weren’t run by money grubbing cowards and would allow prosecution of such thieves.
I had a woman call where I worked and place an order for a highly personalized item. She was at college and talking to her roommate; and disparaging words dumped on poor stupid me as I followed script and they purposely messed up spellings and by script I had to spell them back; I suggested the correct spellings, no no they wanted the order THAT way. I had the sense to lock the order and send it to customer service and flag it for the supervisor in my area. Yep they called customer service to ream a new one on the poor rep… customer service let them finish and told them the rep had flagged the order and the other side of the story was rather interesting. So they hung up in a huff. I ended up at the college a few weeks later for an event; and happened to run across this student; I told her her full name and explained nicely that I’d talked to her a few weeks earlier. Yes I’m an alumni; and yes, I was doing my job as I was supposed to do. May you never have to decide between eating or not eating; dear; you’ll learn. Have a nice day….
how rude! i always tidy up – I hang things as best as I can on hangers and leave them in the dressing room or give them back to the attendant or hang them on the coat rail they have at the entrance to the dressing room area – whatever the norm is in that store. I always feel like my late mother is looking over my shoulder with a raised eyebrow if I leave the room messy 🙂
I have never worked retail, but i do notice that there are people who leave a big mess in the dressing room.
I’m one of the employees that has to pick up after everyone in a grocery store.
One time I specifically remember is checking the tags on a makeup display, running my hand under a sign, and feeling something rather moist under there. Turns out, someone had decided that under the sign was the BEST possible place to put nose droppings.
You have my sympathy and condolences. And I bet you get paid minimum… there’s nothing I can think of that’s printable for ‘people’ that think that that’s acceptable for whatever warped reason they had at the time…