Friday, July 17, 2009

Comic Shop Etiquette War Journal: Say Hello for God's Sake

Let's see here. I was wondering if I should do these in some sort of order, but I decided it might work just fine if I do what comes to mind. We'll see if it turns into a train wreck or not.

One of the most common complaints I read/hear about is that when a customer enters a comic shop they are not always greeted with a friendly welcome. Sometimes they are ignored, grunted at, or watched like a hawk. So, lets hit the store staff first.


-It's understandable that maybe you aren't having a good day. Well, here's some more bad news; suck that shit up crybaby. You work retail even if this is a different type of retail. Regardless of if your a clerk, manager, or owner you better greet those god damned customers.

First of all, it's just the polite thing to do as a human being. Second, if you want your business to actually have business you better get used to being socially acceptable to some degree. Again, I know sometimes it's tough when your tired or have had a bad start. Sometimes I go into work low on gas or with the yearning to crush someones skull with a rock. The moment someone walks in though, I say hi. I don't make a big hoopla about it and I don't make it sound like I'm the happiest guy on the planet. You say 'Hi, how ya doing?' or 'How's the day treating you?'. When they ask you back, you don't have to lie but you shouldn't make a spectacle of yourself. There is no need to tell them why you got a problem, that's not why they came in. If you know the customer well, you can get into it maybe. The best thing to do though, if you can't honestly answer back positively is to answer back with a joke or just say 'Hangin' in there'.

People like it if your genuine. In fact, people can relate if you're just the guy doing his job and helping them out. You don't need to be a glorified car salesman and be their buddy. Just don't treat them like they are a burden the moment they walk in. Even the people you hate, you should just be polite and keep your distance if you know they will set you off. I do my best loathing from a distance.

-Now here's a tricky one. I've often heard the complaint of the clerk watching the customer like a hawk from the moment the customer enters the store. Now, ideally the clerk isn't a douche and isn't leering at you because you're a woman. I've worked with people who wouldn't leave women alone and well, the experience was soul sucking. That's behavior that needs to be weeded out as fast as possible.

The one thing I don't think customers take into account though is the very very very high shoplifting rate comic stores have to deal with. Some stores can't afford cameras or any type of real security besides an alarm, so it's up to us to watch the store. As sad as it sounds, unless we really know and trust a customer, almost everyone can be suspect. It's pretty much impossible to tell who is going to rip you off. So customers, if that sounds paranoid at all, well you just have to suck it up as well cause it's the truth. Parents will use their children to steal. That is the world we have to live in.

A few months back, another comic store called and warned us of a shoplifter who they were able to identify as stealing numerous hard covers. The general description was incredibly vague, an average height and build Caucasian male. Only one thing really stood out and that was the detail that the man had a limp. The very next day, a very generic Caucasian male walks in with a limp. I felt like a douche, but I watched him the entire time. Was he the guy? I'll never really know. Haven't seen him in a while, maybe I made him feel uncomfortable. Sucks either way.

-Hopefully, you enter a store and the clerk greets you. You know what you should do? GREET THEM BACK. Today alone I was ignored by 3 customers both on their way in and on their way out. Everyday it happens so it can be a little disheartening.

-YOU HAD BETTER TAKE OFF YOUR DAMN EARPHONES OR TURN THE MUSIC OFF. I swear, that is one of the rudest things and instantly earns you my hatred. You may listen to your music after you have said hello and acknowledged you have entered into a place of business and the nice clerk has said hello. Just be sure you can hear them say hello.

-Do not enter the store yelling. Just, please. Please don't.

-Do not enter the store while very audibly judging us. Please. It's kind of mean :(
-Store staff does zoom in on certain things when looking out for shoplifters. These include:
A) You are wearing a hoody 3 times your size
B) Your outfit is practically made of pockets
C) You do not instantly volunteer to leave your backpack at the door
D) You won't stop twitching and your hands are covered in dried blood (I am not making that up).
E) You ask us what is the most expensive item in the store
F) 3 or more teenagers enter the store at once. Seriously, I don't want to sound like an old fart but that shit just makes us nervous.
G) You enter a circle pattern across the entire store, arcing more than twice with yet nothing in your hands to buy. One loop means you found nothing. Two loops means your maybe killing time. Three loops is trouble.

-That's pretty much it, you really don't have much etiquette to worry about on this one.
A lot of this stuff seems common sense, on both sides. Sadly, not the case. If I do seem like I'm just stating the obvious, please let me know so I can refine my focus a bit though. I don't want to just pointlessly, no wait, that's the entire point of this blog. Never mind.


pete doree said...

I couldn't agree more. Having worked a lot in retail ( including a short stint at London's Forbidden Planet store ) it's always seemed like an unspoken rule that shop staff everywhere are told to be polite to customers EXCEPT in comic shop's where, at best, you're ignored. (Tho' I completely understand the watching/shoplifting thing) As far as ignorant customers, I've found most customers to be ignorant in that way. One thing that used to drive me crazy was when you hold out your hand for the money, and they very deliberately put it down slowly, coin by coin, on the counter. Is my hand invisible, dumbass?!!
I used to stare at them, stare at the money, stare at them again, then equally slowly pick it up, coin by coin.
These days, I find if someone's being rude or ignoring you, be it staff or customer, the best thing to do is to be ludicrously over-polite back at them. If they're even vaguely aware, it'll throw 'em into responding, and if not, you've just made them look like a cock!

Continually Spicy said...

Yeah, that coin by coin counter drop kills me.

Being overly polite is great weapon, but it both backfires and sometimes it's like when the weak Earth weapons have no effect on the space creature.

One of the future entries will be figuring out the right time to stop taking shit from people, because seriously if you don't put your foot down they will consume your very soul.

Continually Spicy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tlieso said...

I totally agree but would add just one more thing. I hate it when people talk on the their phones while their asking you for help or checking out. It's rude & makes me crazy.

The Igloo Keeper... said...

I always enter stores yelling. Sorry, it's what I do.

But anyway - thanks for the good advice in this article - I can't wait to be ludicrously over-polite to someone - bring it on!