How to be a Good Customer

22 May 2017 a Clothing Store

We're all customers at one point or another, and maybe we're all jerks sometimes too. But I'm uncertain. Do people who are shitty customers, know that they are being shit?
Do they honestly think they are being polite and acting as all regular humans do?

It's a question that plagues me in my day to day of working in retail. I've seen all the memes that are thoroughly enjoyed by fellow workers. We are all dealing with the same sorta shit day after day.

So here's a handy guide, on how to be a good customer in a clothing store. 
As maddening as it is, to hear those age old customer jokes, that make your eyes roll right back inside your skull. This doesn't make you a bad customer. They're the equivalent of bad puns and dad jokes, annoying but not as much as nearly anything else.

Hey how are you?

Retail workers literally have to say this. One of the main pushes in retail is greeting customers. You may have been greeted 20+ times already today, well that's just too bad, because here comes another one. Appropriate responses to being greeted whilst shopping include, "Good thanks" or "Hello" or even literally just looking at the staff member and smiling. That's it. That's all you have to do. 

Responses that are definitely not appropriate are when customers just straight up ignore being greeted. It puts the staff into a panic, did you hear us and ignore our greeting? 
Did you not hear us and from now on will just assume that the staff here are all rude. 
Should we say hello again?

Worst of all is the "just looking thank you!" response. That's great. People seem to say this in order to prevent any further interaction. When 90% of the time the staff would have been finished talking to you after saying hello anyway. If you respond like this do not expect anyone to offer you any help for the rest of your visit. You blew it and now all the staff are frightened of you.

Just Ask for Help

In retail our main job is to help you. "Customers are our number one priority" etc etc. Standing around and sighing loudly isn't the way to go. Retail workers are people just like you. 
We don't know what that means.  Especially if you were asked if you needed any help earlier and you declined. 

It's a general rule that if a staff members says, "Do you need help?" and you say "No just looking" they won't come back. The ball is in your court. If they come back it's harassing you, so now if you decide you need help after all you've gotta ask. It's just how it is. Even if the staff are talking to each other, interrupt them with your question. That's their job. If they respond poorly then that's on them. 

Please be Patient

If the line to the checkout or change room is slow, or finding someone to help you is difficult, it's probably just as frustrating to the staff as it is to you. They're probably sweating behind the counter, expecting to be shouted at when all they want is more staff on so that they can do their job at a higher standard.

I am genuinely happy when I can help out a customer and displeased if I can not! I take it personally! I'm sure this is not the same for everyone but I really do want to help.

If you're waiting to talk to a staff member but they are busy with another customer, by all means, sigh loudly and put your item back before stomping out of the store. They were going to help you as soon as they were free. So the only person you have disadvantaged is yourself.

Levels of Change Room Etiquette

Ohhh boy. This is what can make or break you as a good customer. Even the loveliest of folk can tarnish their good name after using the change room. I thought to myself, perhaps people just don't know the proper way to act when trying on clothing. 

Here it is from Best to Worst.

Level 1 - The Shining Star of Customers
- Ask if you can try things on. Of course the answer is yes, but if you don't ask, we'll just assume you're trying to steal stuff in there. 
- Hang the items back on the hangers (as best you can)
- Hand the items back to staff (or if the store has a change room returns rack pop it there)

That's it! That's seriously all you have to do, for the retail staff to breathe a sigh of relief. It might seem simple but clearly it's not. 

Let's take a look at the other levels. These levels remain the same with either asking or not asking to try things on.
Also if you've tried it on without asking, then hung it back up without any staff ever seeing what you had, we'll assume you stole something. Just saying.

Level 2 - Pretty Good
- You've hung everything up and are now walking around the store trying to put things back. A staff member stops you and you give them everything, and go on your merry way.

Level 3 - Could be Worse
- You've hung everything up best you could, left them in the change room but mention it to the staff on the way out. 

Level 4 - Please just stop trying to help
You've hung everything reasonably well, but you forget where they go so you just pop them together on the shelf. Similar but not to be confused with Level 4.5 where
you've haphazardly hung the clothing lazily onto the hangers, you're unsure where everything goes so you just shove it into the racks anywhere you can. 

Here the staff have no idea what you've even tried on or where the hell it's gone, and we assume you've stolen everything. Even if you've hung things in the right spot, we will just have to go and fix it later.

Level 5 - Please No.. Why Did You Think This Was Okay?
As someone who likes to always see the best in people, this one still gets me. It makes no difference to me whether you say "I just left them in the change room thanks" or if you simply poke your tongue out at me as you run out the door.

Every single item is on the floor, scrunched up. The hangers all hanging empty on hooks. Maybe a bralette dangles off of one of them. Expensive dresses in a pile, jean inside out on the floor. A chair tucked in the corner, but no items are on it. 

The equivalent of kicking sand in one's face. One big Nelson ha ha to the world. 

Agree with these? Disagree? I want to hear about it in the comments!
Got more tips or pet hates that I should add next time? Have no idea that any of these were a thing?

Let me know!


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  1. This is the best. My favourite is 'just looking!' reply like bitch I wasn't going to say anything else to you lol so funny.

    Sarah | More Than Adored

  2. OH GOD. Even as someone who hasn't worked in this industry for a while I see this stuff happening and want to shake people!

  3. Found this quite insightful! If I only try on one thing, I tend to try to put it back where I found it, especially if the staff are very busy, but I'll just put it on the rack outside the change rooms next time. x


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