On the average week, our branch of Food Place will serve 22,000 customers. Of course, being a neighbourhood store, the majority of those will be repeat visits. I'd guess that we serve around 10,000 unique customers each week. And they all fall into distinct categories.
Only a very select few customers will ever be branded as 'Lovely Customers'. When the time arises I will, no doubt, blog about them.
The people who don't get on my nerves fall into the category named 'Tolerable Customers'. They may be pleasant, plain boring or just totally unremarkable. They respond when you speak to them, they pay promptly and don't get in the way. If they have a problem, they request your help politely and accept that it's rarely the fault of the member of staff they're talking to. It would be nice to think you could create an interesting blog entry discussing these people, to give them a mention if nothing else, but the fact is they're just boring.
But the bad customers - few of them as there may be - are categorised much more vigorously. It's not enough just to describe them as bad. Or infuriating. Or rude - because not all of them are rude. They have to be labelled in a way that demonstrates exactly why they get on my wick so much. Many of the offenders that spring to mind may fit into more than one category.
So without further ado, here is a discussion of the many different subcultures that exist within the 'Annoying Customers' society.
Just Plain Rude
If I'm serving you on a till and I say "hello", what do you say back? Yes, I know, it's common courtesy. But these people just don't do it. There I am wasting my breath on them when most of them can't even be bothered to look at me and at least smile. It's much less common for customers to have the cheek to leave without saying thank you. But there are some who dare it. Which means that a very small minority of customers don't acknowledge you at any point during your time with them. How very dare they.
No matter how nice a particular customer may be, they can ruin their reputation by dithering. I cannot abide it. Yes love, you might have all day to faff about, but we don't! It's far worse at the checkouts when they can bring a whole lane to a standstill, but it exists all over the store. People who treat the place like a community social club, for example. OK, so you haven't seen Gladys for 55 years but do you really need to stand, trolleys straddled across an aisle, reminiscing? Part of the problem is that most people are too reserved to say 'excuse me please'. So they try and squeeze their way past and run over somebodys foot or knock something flying. And it's all down to these stupid ditherers!
Parent and Child Types
For God's sake, why can't you leave your snotty, screaming, ugly children at home? Or with a babysitter. Anything that means the poor staff at Food Place don't have to put up with them. You're putting yourself through stress as well. Face it, who wants to have to keep running across the shop screaming "CAITLIN STOP IT!" and dragging urchins out of photo booths?
And then there's the kids that try to be helpful. And fail. They stick their faces right next to the products on the conveyor belt so I'm scared to pick anything up in case I smack them in the nose. They insist on picking each and every item up and handing it to you. THE BELT MOVES! And don't even start me on the ones that want to 'give the man the money'. They drop it everywhere or hand you two pence when you want twenty-five-pounds.
If anybody makes my blood boil it's the people who walk through the door and ask the first member of staff they see where the milk is. You haven't even looked you bone idol pillock! Or the ones that stand and watch you pack all their shopping for them, without lifting a finger to help. I always feel like getting all sarcastic on them: "Would you like me to drive you home and unpack it all for you?"
Why do some people love to make a huge song and dance routine about nothing at all? Is it really going to hurt that much to wait thirty seconds while I help the previous customer get finished with their packing? You'd think so. They tut, tap their toes, look at their watch. And then you have people who get flustered for no reason at all. Yes, the shopping is coming down fast, but do you really think I'm not going to help you pack when I've done my bit on the till? Pull yourself together!
There's always somebody who thinks everybody else should get our of their way because they're 'in a rush'. Why the hell should they? If you've got lots to do and you haven't given yourself enough time to do it all, it's nobodys fault but your own! Why on earth have you stopped off a busy supermarket if you've got four minutes to spare before a dental appointment on the other side of town?
Just get out! I don't want to smell your brandy-breath, and have to pick the contents of your purse up from the floor, or have to clean the mess up when vomit everywhere. And stop trying to buy alcohol. You know we can't serve it to you when you're in that state.
If food place is too downmarket for you, go to Harrods - or shop online. If shopping is so below you, don't cast your shadow on our floor! And don't dare assume you're my superior. One of these types actually said to me: "If you'd studied harder at school you wouldn't be sitting on a till". And then there's the two old bats who come in and stand having conversations about "the local plebs". Go home and read your Daily Mail.
Those are the obvious ones. I'll update this post as and when more spring to mind.