Things You Should Not Say To Me While Ringing Up My Purchases

Today’s daily prompt: On customer service….or lack thereof 🙂

Lori's Life and Other Stuff

There are so many instances where I’ve nearly left a pile of drool at the checkout line because my mouth was gaping open, shocked at the audacity of people and the things they say. So much so, that I felt compelled to share the list of what customer service people should never say to me (or anyone else) at the register.

1. Do not tell me how to parent my child. If I wanted your advice, I would ask for it. And if I’m asking for advice, I’m probably not going to solicit someone who I don’t know, doesn’t know my kids, or someone who may not even have kids of their own. Seriously – I’m sure you are just the “best auntie ever”, but if you don’t have kids of your own – you really shouldn’t be handing out parental advice. (The only exception to this would be if…

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Things You Should Not Say To Me While Ringing Up My Purchases

There are so many instances where I’ve nearly left a pile of drool at the checkout line because my mouth was gaping open, shocked at the audacity of people and the things they say. So much so, that I felt compelled to share the list of what customer service people should never say to me (or anyone else) at the register.

1. Do not tell me how to parent my child. If I wanted your advice, I would ask for it. And if I’m asking for advice, I’m probably not going to solicit someone who I don’t know, doesn’t know my kids, or someone who may not even have kids of their own. Seriously – I’m sure you are just the “best auntie ever”, but if you don’t have kids of your own – you really shouldn’t be handing out parental advice. (The only exception to this would be if you are a teacher.)

1.b. Don’t parent my child for me. This has happened to me only twice. Both times a person attempted to tell my son what not to do. (He was eyeing the candy and the clerk told him no.) I laughed. (And no, I didn’t buy the candy.)

2. Unless you are 1000% sure – do not comment on what a “big boy” my baby is (when she is in fact a girl in head-to-toe pink!) Just say how beautiful my baby is and move on.

3. Do not comment on the price of an item. As in, “Whoa! You’re gonna pay how much for that?!” No lie. This actually happened to me, over a pair of $40 jeans. Umm. You work here. At the place that sells the jeans at the price you are balking at. Why the shock?

4. Do not make judgments out loud about anything I am buying. Everyone is of course entitled to their opinion. I just don’t need to hear yours when you feel critical or morally superior.

5. Don’t ask weird questions. Questions like, “Wow. you have a lot of vegetables here. And all organic. You some kind of health nut?” How the heck am I supposed to answer that? “Why yes, I try to be a super-wacko!” Good grief!

6. Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not tell me your life’s story. I am sure you are a very sweet person and working retail is VERY hard, I know. But these two minions in my cart have a limited attention span. If we don’t speed it up, I’m seriously going to have an aneurism.

7. Yes, 15-year-old customer service rep, they are feminine products. No I’m not really embarrassed, but I can clearly see that you are. I’m sorry. It’s part of life. You’ll get over it.

8.  Please don’t tell me to do your job for you. At the Navy Exchange there are a few customer service reps that sit while ringing up customers. I don’t have a problem with that. I used to be a bank teller, I know long days on your feet are rough. But there is one rep, (the one I avoid like the plague) who is rude and actually said, “I’m too tired to get up and reach your stuff. Put  your stuff closer to the scanner.” It was literally inches from her hand. I almost laughed. Then I realized she was dead serious.

9. Please don’t check your phone in the middle of our transaction. I think it is very rude for customers to talk on cell phones while simultaneously treating the person behind the counter as if they are a robot. It’s obnoxious and demeaning. I keep my phone off and I expect you to do the same.

1o. Do not act as if I don’t exist. I am a person, too. Please don’t have a conversation with a co-worker and ignore me entirely.

I won’t be rude to you, you don’t be rude to me, mmmkay?

What crazy things have you heard while being waited on at the checkout line?

Parenting Encounters

Lately I’ve had some interesting encounters while parenting in public. Let me rephrase that: Since my children were born I’ve had crazy encounters while out and about.

Most recently on a really crappy day, I was rudely told in a grocery store to teach my child to count apples somewhere else because I was “in the way”. (Which I was not, in fact, in the way at all.) From the time my daughter was an infant, in head-to-toe pink, I’ve been asked, “How old is your little boy?” or “Oh, what a strapping young lad!” REALLY?! Apparently pink and bows no longer let a person know that your child is a girl. At least not at my grocery store.

I’ve been informed that my child is going to fall out of the grocery cart and that I “should really make that kid mind”.

In the bank I was told to “keep my kids downstairs, this is a place of business“. (Granted that one was kind of deserved, but the rudeness was not).

While my sister had my kids, as well has her two daughters, playing at the park one day, a nice gentlemen was kind enough to take the time to roll down his window and say to her, “Wow. You look like you got your hands full.” Chuckle chuckle. Then he rolled up his window. No “Hey, do you need a hand?” or “Is there anything I can do?” Just unhelpful commentary from an unwanted peanut gallery.

What is the deal with people?! I understand the looks from people who have never had kids. I used to GIVE those looks. Parenting is a piece of cake if you aren’t one. What sets my hair on fire are the people who feel the need to comment/narrate/tell me what to do/point out what I’m doing wrong etc. Then there are those folks who just laugh. Nice. How the heck is that helpful? On some level, I do understand how comedic it must be watching my circus act/parade as we are on an outing, but please, I beg of you – keep your laughter discreet and to yourself. It doesn’t do me any good, and basically confirms the feeling that I am sucking at this parenting thing.

I read this article yesterday about parenting on Steve Wiens’ site (you can read it in its entirety here) that said this:

“Put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they’re doing a good job. Just don’t freak out if they start weeping uncontrollably. Most of the time, we feel like we’re botching the whole deal and our kids will turn into horrible criminals who hate us and will never want to be around us when they’re older.”

Absolutely!

So today, I stopped at our favorite frozen yogurt joint (froyo if you are cool like my 4-year-old and my neighbor!) We were the only ones there. I was getting the kids’ toppings and saying the usual stuff:

“Don’t breath on the toppings.”

“Cover your mouth.”

“Wait for me, Mommy will do it.”

“Don’t Touch.”

“Marshmallows?”

“Find a table and wait for me to bring it to you after I pay..”

Happy with their concoctions and spoons happily lapping up yummy flavors, the owner and I chatted for a bit as we ate. As we got up to leave she said this to me:

“I have to tell you. There are A LOT of kids that come in here, and yours are probably the most behaved I’ve seen. I can tell you work very hard at it.”

I wept. And I’m weeping a bit now as I write this. So much of parenting and life in general is flying by the seat of your pants and hoping you’re making the right decisions. After the crazy encounters we’ve had, this one was needed.

Thank you, Froyo lady. Thank you.

This tired mama needed that today!