Old Doesn’t Mean Entitled

Rude comes in a new age range.

by Published: Feb 25, 2013

I work in retail. So nat­u­rally I get a lot of really appre­cia­tive, thank­ful cus­tomers that are always in a great mood.

I wish.

Unfortunately the real­is­tic out­look is a bit more depress­ing. Cocky teenagers, stressed out par­ents and cranky old peo­ple spo­rad­i­cally shuf­fle in and out of the store only to dampen the mood of those sur­round­ing them.

Now, the youth are typ­i­cally the ones to blame for the downslide in respect and good man­ners. And while I am not writ­ing them off as angels, they are not the ones that tend to be bothersome.

Normally the ado­les­cents and young adults are quite pleas­ant, or they keep to them­selves at least. The ones that tend to cut me off while talk­ing or say some­thing snooty hap­pen to be at least in their mid­dle ages.

Not every­one that comes into the store is crass. But, the hand­ful that do, ruin the work place for every­one. It is hard to pro­vide good cus­tomer ser­vice when some­one does not know how to treat a stranger.

For instance, one gen­tle­man asked if we car­ried a spe­cific item. Unsure of every prod­uct we pro­vide, I directed him to the gen­eral area and said another employee would be there to help him. When he came up to pay he sar­cas­ti­cally informed me we had the item he was look­ing for. From there he implied we all knew noth­ing before gath­er­ing his items and storm­ing out.

Just recently, I was walk­ing back to the break room after retriev­ing my lunch. A woman quickly hollered at me, “Oh good! You need to go back up front so your man­ager can come back here to help load this equipment.”

After I fin­ished my lunch, I returned to the reg­is­ter so my man­ager could go help the woman. As she saun­tered up to the front she started rant­ing about how my man­ager had poor man­age­ment skills and was incom­pe­tent. Stunned by her accu­sa­tions, I looked away. She did not under­stand he was merely cov­er­ing the reg­is­ter so I could eat.

It is cus­tomers such as these that shock me. My man­ager always says that every­one should be required to work retail for a year. It does not sound like such a bad idea. Walking into a store, I have become more con­scious of my actions and try my best to be pleas­ant and appre­cia­tive of the ser­vice that they are pro­vid­ing me.

When some­one says thank you, or is grate­ful of the employ­ees in the store, it makes the job worth­while. It rein­forces our desire to help cus­tomers find exactly what they are look­ing for.

Maybe it is not just the youth that are cre­at­ing the down­fall of man­ners, but rather the pop­u­la­tion as a whole. Entitlement is not an attrac­tive qual­ity, young or old.