the guest is always right
Ignorance is bliss. Truer words were never spoken. I truly envy your typical Joe. He's the kind of guy who just goes about his business, and doesn't pay more attention to anything than is necessary. Why? Because Joe doesn't get irritated with things like I do, because he doesn't notice them. I try to relax. I try to worry only about the things I can control. But I can't help myself. Things just annoy the hell out of me. I wish I could stop it from happening, but clearly I can't. So I might as well write about it.
I've been working at Target for about 7 weeks now and I've noticed some things that I just can't keep quiet about anymore. Remember my blog entry where I made fun of Wal-Mart for calling its employees "associates." If you don't, go read it. It's down there somewhere. Well at Target, they call employees, "team members." And managers are not managers, but "team leaders." I would not be shocked at all if there were no CEO or President of the company, but just an Executive Team Leader or something of that nature. You see, Target is an extremly pretentious company. It prides itself on being different and better than your typical huge retail store, when really it's no better at all, and in all likelihood is much worse. I liken it to putting a jar of potpourri in a room full of feces. The potpourri is supposed to cover up the foul odor of the feces, but mixes with it to create something even more foul. Not to mention, it is the most transparent gesture imaginable.
We, as Target Team Members, are not to refer to customers as customers, but rather we are to call them guests, as they are guests in our humble establishment and it is our job to make them as comfortable as possible. The jargon of the Target Team member is filled with so much verbiage it's almost beyond description. For example, over the walkie-talkies (which we use at Target, in case you've never noticed), when you want to know where someone is, you are to say "What is your location?" rather than a simple "Where are you?" or the even simpler preference of mine, "Where y'at?" It's obvious to me that the point of all this is to make low-level shelf-stocking scum like me, but especially like my co-workers, feel more important and more professional than they actually are. But unfortunately, it makes intelligent individuals like myself, or perhaps just myself for whatever reason, vomit in disgust.
In case you didn't know, the Target Corporation has copyrighted the phrase, "Can I help you find something?" It's the dumbest thing you've ever heard, I know. We even have to answer the phone like that. "Thank you for calling Target, this is Brad, can I help you find something?" Thank god I am never near a phone. Also, obviously, you are supposed to say it to any customer, err . . . guest you run into. From time to time, my store even holds contests to see who can say it the most times. I don't know about any of you, but I HATE it when I'm in a store and employees come up to me and ask me if I need any help. I'll find it myself, and if I have a problem then I'll ask somebody, but I don't like to be bothered. It's one thing if I'm making a major purchase at a store, and there are actually sales personnel there who work on commission. But this is Target. Give me a goddamn break.
But this is not to say that the customer is without blame in the retail store world. There are three customers that really irritate the hell out of me. The first is Mr. Can't Find Anything On His Own. This one is always a guy. He walks into a store, and he looks like an Alzheimer's patient who just walked into a neurology convention being conducted in Afrikaans. I see this guy in the grocery store the other day - typical Mr. Can't Find Anything On His Own - he's gotta talk to his wife on his cell phone the whole time he's there because not only can he not find anything, he can't remember the list either. Partial transcript of his end of the conversation: "Crispix . . . Crispix . . . Crispix, where would the Crispix be . . . oh, here we go, cereal aisle. (Paces up and down aisle a couple times). I can't find them. I don't think they have them. What are they called? Crispix? What are those? Nope, I don't see them. Crispix . . . Crispix . . . . . . How is that spelled? Oh, HERE they are. CRISPIX."
Actually, the particular instance of Mr. Can't Find Anything On His Own mentioned above is also an example of the second customer that really burns my ass. And that is Talks Too Loud On His Cellphone In The Store Guy. This one is usually a guy as well, although it is more likely to be a female than the first one. This is the guy who becomes oblivious to the world around him when his cell phone rings (and rings extremely loudly by the way). He forgets he's in a store and thinks he's standing in a crowded bus. He talks so loudly, you can have no trouble hearing him several aisles over. Also, he has no problems using curse words during his conversation. He, apparently, also has no problem conducting business meetings while looking for pretzels.
The third and final aggravating customer I'd like to talk about is Mrs. Always Pays With A Check. This is ALWAYS a woman. Mrs. Always Pays With A Check does not realize that there are other forms of payment available to her. She's never heard of cash or credit cards. She does not realize there is such a thing as a debit card, a card that functions just like a check, but is faster and involves no writing. No, the writing is what makes the shopping experience fun for Mrs. Always Pays With A Check. She doesn't care if she's holding you up, she's busting out that check book whether you like it or not. And it doesn't matter how large her order is either. One hundred dollars or one dollar, a check is a bill available in any amount.
Certainly there are other irritating retail consumers I didn't get to. There's Mrs. Lets Two Kids Ride In The Cart, Hits Her Kids In The Store Lady, Mrs. Can't Keep Her Kids Quiet, and even Fat Old Bastard On A Scooter. Feel free to add your own in the comments. But please. I'm asking any of you who might be reading this. If you ever see me in a store, and I'm 65 years old, weighing 400 pounds, wearing a muumu and driving a scooter around a store, please shoot me in the head. The scooter should be reserved for people with no legs, not people who are too fat to support their body weight.