I'm An Ex-Retail Worker & These Are The 9 Most Annoying Things Customers Do While Shopping

There's nothing worse than wrestling a mannequin.

Someone shopping. Right: A clothing store.

Someone shopping. Right: A clothing store.

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Ever wonder what it's really like to work in retail? The job sometimes has its perks (hello discounts), but there's also a ton of customer service involved.

I've worked in a few different stores in my time from clothing to stationery and when you work in a store, you come across a ton of different people, and in my experience, not everyone is always up to speed on store etiquette.

If you want to avoid being an annoying customer, try not to do these things.

Making you take clothes off a mannequin

It's super frustrating when you can't find a piece of clothing you want in the right size on the shop floor and retail staff will absolutely be able to check our stock to see if we have it. But there's nothing more gut-wrenching than realizing there's only one left and it's on a mannequin.

One of the most annoying things you have to do while working is spending 10 minutes wrestling with a mannequin to get that one shirt you need while the customer stares at you.

For some reason, this only ever happens when the store is busy and you really don't have the time.

Trying to return things without a receipt

While we completely understand that losing a receipt is easily done, there's only so much a sales assistant can do for you. In most stores I've worked in, we'll always try to give store credit if nothing else.

Occasionally, people would try their luck and bring in stock that was months, or even years, old to return. Once or twice people even tried to return things from a different store.

Shopping on the last day before a holiday

Christmas Eve shoppers are stressful enough to deal with, but for some reason, there will always be at least one person that is actively annoyed that you didn't have a specific gift they wanted to buy at 4 p.m. on December 24.

It isn't our fault if you left all your shopping until the last minute, and honestly, there's not much we can do at this point.

Coming in five minutes before closing

It's been a long shift and the shop floor is all ready, fully stocked for tomorrow, and you're just about ready to leave.

But then there's a customer that decides to come in to browse just before you're able to close. Sometimes this extends into wanting to try items on and before you know it, it's 30 minutes after closing and they decided they didn't want to buy anything anyway!

Messing up piles of folded clothes

There are so many customers that take something out from a folded pile of clothes and just dump them back down all screwed up. Either that or they want a size that's right down at the bottom of the pile and instead of carefully lifting the folded clothes above it, they knock over piles like it's a game of Jenga.

Someone has to refold all of those clothes several times a day, and that person is us!

People refolding clothes also isn't that helpful

There are also some well-meaning people that will refold an item and put it back too. While the effort is definitely appreciated, it probably isn't folded right (stores always find annoying ways of folding things) and it's going to need re-doing anyway.

Going into fitting rooms without telling anyone

Working in the fitting room is arguably one of the more boring jobs in a store but sometimes you might have to leave your post for a minute to grab another size for a customer or to help out at the cash register if it's busy.

If the fitting room is unmanned, there will always be one person that just storms right in with way more clothes than they're meant to have at one time and they create chaos. They typically leave piles and piles of unwanted stuff in the room for someone else to clear up.

Arguing about prices

Sometimes people really will try to haggle on price or use expired coupons for stuff they want to buy. If it's any chain store, you're probably not going to be talking to the person who sets the price in the first place, so there's really not a lot they can do for you.

Paying with small change

People tend to pay with credit cards a lot and it's usually super simple. Occasionally though, someone will choose to pay in cash which is absolutely fine until they start pulling out all their loose change and slowly start counting out the exact amount, while a line forms behind them.

I know coins are pretty annoying to hold onto and getting rid of them is nice, but having to do really quick math to work out if the customer has paid enough can be brutal.

Charlie Hart
Charlie Hart was a Travel Creator for Narcity Media focused on Canadian and global travel and is based in Calgary, Alberta.