Being Helpful

I should stop trying to be helpful in shops; it seems like most shop assistants are too obnoxious or stupid to cope with it. Saturday morning in the New Street Station branch of W.H. Smith was a case in point. By the tills was a magazine rack with glossy gossip weeklies in it, each one with a four-inch high price offer label on the bottom of the shelf proclaiming in a big yellow circle the price of “£1”. Given that OK is £1.99, this may strike a customer as a bit of a bargain, until they glance to the middle of the offer label where it says (in rather smaller writing), “Aero, aero mint [etc., you get the idea]”. Not a chocolate bar in sight, just those magazines on the shelves.

The queue was short, so I reached the tills quickly and I said to the girl on the counter, “You know, trading standards could have you for that.” Before quickly explaining what was wrong with the shelves and the price labels.

She went over to have a look and came back with a bemused and slightly patronising smile.

“You don’t really care, do you?” I said.

“Well, I didn’t put them there.”

Really? It wasn’t like it made much odds to me; I was just trying to help. But when stuff like that comes up at work, I file it under “things to tell a manager when I’ve got time”. People with this particular girl’s attitude frankly ought to be sacked from a series of jobs until they develop the ability to at least feign the air of giving a shit. I wasn’t annoyed about the chocolate labels, but I was annoyed with her by the time I left.

I get this in supermarkets a lot, too. It’s as if they can’t get their heads round the fact that I’m not making a complaint. About 6 months before they got the self-serve checkouts in the New Street Tesco, they had two banks of tills, one along each outer wall. I was in there one busy evening, and the shifts of the checkout staff had fallen in such a way that there were only workers on one bank of tills, so a queue was extending down the central shopping aisle. The queue was blocking shoppers, an obstruction that could have been entirely avoided if half of the open checkouts were on the other bank. So I collared a member of staff in the hope that I could point this out to a manager. The manager was taking a delivery, so I explained what I was driving at to the member of staff, who promptly led me to the tobacco kiosk and said to his colleague,

“Could you serve this gentleman? He’s complaining about the queues.”

Is it me?

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~ by Scary Rob on 16 January, 2012.

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