For almost 2 years before I left for college, I worked at a local family-owned music store downtown. And let me just make it very clear; I love my job. I feel like not many people can say that these days, especially teenagers who, let’s be honest, don’t have room to be picky when it comes to employment. But I honestly adore my job. I’m a people person and working retail means I get to help and talk to people all day long. Also, my years of violin study comes in handy at a music store, as you might imagine.
So when I came back home after my first year of college, I was thrilled that I was being hired back to work at the music store for the summer. Now, quick explanation: the busiest time of the year for the store tend to be the last 3 weeks of June, since that’s when probably about 75% or so of the instruments we rent to schools and school students are due to be returned. This makes for some very hectic days.
However, something struck me as I worked through the past 2 weeks. People can often be rude. Like really, really rude.
There is never, ever a reason to be rude. Ever. It does not matter what kind of a day you had, how opinionated you are about the way I’m ringing you up, or the fact that you might think I’m giving you incorrect information about which violin is better, even though you informed me upon entering the store that you knew nothing about instruments. __
When you are rude to a store employee who is helping you, you are communicating to them (and everyone around you) that you think you are better then them, and they don’t deserve your respect. When this does happen, it is hard for me specifically not to take it personally, because I love my job and I take great pride in doing what I do well.
Sales associates are quite literally paid to serve you, and treating them with anything less than the respect you would want shown to you yourself as a customer, is an embarrassment to your personal character. We all have bad days, but making someone else’s day just as bad as your own isn’t going to help either one of you.
As for us employees who deal with rude customers- just smile. As long as you stay patient, professional and friendly, you retain the integrity of your position. And integrity is what good employees are made of.