Everyone who has worked in retail knows that for every good customer, you get 2 horrible ones pulling up in the parking lot. It's a law. Like gravity.
But some people are so rude, so annoying, and so malicious, it's like they're on a quest to make as many workers miserable as possible. And sometimes they succeed.
When someone like that ruins your day, there's only one thing you can do. Vent online. I mean, you can't punch the jerk or anything—you're still in uniform. Pull off a stunt that damages the reputation of the company you're working for and you're out the door.
Bored Panda has compiled a list of these stories to show you that people in retail really deserve our respect; they go through these situations every day. For more similar experiences, check out our older pieces here and here.
Turns out, people treat retail workers worse when they're looking for bargains than if they were less price-conscious. The University of British Columbia (UBC) Sauder School of Business paper, which was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology in 2017, looked at several factors to determine how customers treated employees.
One variable researchers analyzed was the words customers used when speaking to customer service workers.
"When shoppers focus only on paying the lowest price, they become less attuned to understanding the human needs of others, or even recognizing them," Johannes Boegershausen, a UBC Sauder Ph.D. student who co-authored the study, said in a press release.
Researchers also analyzed customers' feelings towards the employees by showing them pictures of a flight attendant in the Ryanair (bargain) uniform, the Lufthansa (luxury) uniform, and a neutral uniform. Customers viewed the Lufthansa and neutral flight attendants as equally human, but they saw the Ryanair flight attendant in a poorer light.
"We simply varied the brand, and found that people ascribed lower capabilities for experiencing emotions and feelings to the Ryanair flight attendant," Boegershausen explained, adding that this subtle dehumanization can take many forms and is not necessarily intentional.
Another experiment had participants communicating in a live chat with a rude customer service representative. They were then offered the chance to punish the employee through a complaint. The researchers found participants were 18 percent more likely to give a rating that would lead to disciplinary actions against the employee when shoppers were adopting a price-conscious mentality than when they were not.
The researchers say the findings could help owners and management of discount stores, as the problem could affect their employee retention—previous research has shown that employees who experience rude and inconsiderate customer behaviors report higher levels of emotional exhaustion, job dissatisfaction, and burnout.
Judging from these posts, retail employees deal with a lot of dumb stuff. At least they're strong enough to laugh from their misery.