Before I started my first eCommerce website back in 1994, I spent almost 10 years working in retail. It made me think… Had I spent the rest of my life as a bricks and mortar retailer, I would have had to keep dealing with crazy customers, face to face – for the rest of my life. Of course being an online merchant also has its challenges, but you can at least get up from your computer, take a walk and grab a coffee. Thinking back… I’ve decided to outline the customer types that I used to dread dealing with on a face to face basis.
Meet the crazy customers that no longer torture you in person (just via email and phone)…
Gretta McPennypincher – When she’s not sitting on the front porch smoking Pall Malls, she takes her daily trip into your store to look at the latest additions to your bracelet collections and perfume testers. After wasting 60 minutes asking you questions about everything from how plastic is recycled to how hot is is outside – she continues to tell you that your merchandise is garbage and she doesn’t understand who buys this stuff. Once she feels that she’s ready to go, she tells you to hurry up because she has cats at home that she needs to get home to. She places a plastic key chain (your cheapest item) on the counter and insists to pay for it with cash. She dives deep into the abyss of her 40 year old handbag and picks individual pennies out of the myriad of tissues she has stuffed in her purse.
Clueless VonFutz – Not exactly sure what events she has coming up in the future, Clueless pretty much barely gets through the day. She knows there is something that she needs to dress up for, but she’s not sure where or when it is. She always comes into your boutique to ask for your assistance in picking the right items, but unfortunately she has no idea what she needs. You spend the next 20 minutes trying to help her jog her memory but she still can’t remember why she came to your store. After spending over an hour with her and she still can’t remember why she’s here – you politely tell her that you have to assist other customers (not only because she is a complete moron, but without sales you will soon be jobless). She politely thanks you for her time, because even though she has no idea what she’s doing in life, she’s at least friendly.
Robert “Tool” Greedyman – Robert, or as his friends call him, “Tool”, loves to return all of the merchandise his wife has purchased back to your store, sometimes even three years after she bought them. He often stumbles up to the counter carrying bags of items that were purchased all around the mall asking for cash refunds. He will become nastier with each passing moment until you just succumb and take his returns. He has a story for every item he’s returning. His wife no longer needs shoes after she’s lost her legs to diabetes, she only washed that blouse once and it managed to have a hole in it… Whatever it is, he’s got a story – and he’s not going away without a refund. You manage to finally put your foot down and only give him a gift card. He manages to call you every name under the sun, and insists that you will die in your sleep for being such a terrible person. He stumbles away with his gift card, which he sells for cash once he leaves your store.
Of course this is just simple satire and unless you’ve worked in retail, you probably won’t see any humor in this – but if you’ve ever worked in retail, you know what I’m talking about. These customer types were what gave us the incentive to become online merchants in the first place. It’s time to get back to work. Wishing you the best holiday season EVER!!! Keep on selling.