Are you finding everything OK?

by Radio Somewhere

I was not exactly the best retail worker. I often joke that I attended the Basil Fawlty School of Customer Service:) I just have a really low tolerance for BS and I hate having to humor people. But also, I think there is a tendency to want to deliver the kind of customer service that you prefer yourself – which, in my case, is very little!

When I go into a store, I don’t want much interaction until I’m ready to pay. I research major purchases ahead of time and usually know what I want before I go to the store. I’m the kind of person who walks in, asks for a 16GB 3G iPad, and walks out five minutes later having purchased the iPad AND a case for it. And even if I don’t know exactly what I want, I’m happy to browse the selection on my own, only asking for help when I really need it. Despite my insistence on going it alone, I must be a pretty good shopper, because I’ve never experienced “buyer’s remorse” following a major purchase, and I only return items when they don’t work. So, perhaps I have a hard time relating to the insecure, indecisive, needy customer.

It doesn’t help, however, when your boss insists you do the “are you finding everything OK?” routine with every customer in the store. It’s such a waste of valuable energy that you will need later to help a customer who DOES genuinely need assistance – by which time you have worn yourself out unnecessarily engaging people who did not need help at the time AND might have preferred to be left alone anyway.

I tried to avoid actually saying “are you finding everything OK ?” in favor of mixing it up a little, so as to not drive myself nuts! “Are you doing OK over here?” “Do you need any help today?” “Is there anything I can help you find?” But coworkers often just asked that same annoying question over and over.

One girl was particularly robotic about it. One day, a couple walked in the door just as she happened to walk by it. The customers’ feet had not even cleared the doormat before she mindlessly asked “are you finding everything OK?” The man shot her a sarcastic glare and barked, “We only just walked in!”

Safeway is especially bad and you have to run a gauntlet of “are you finding everything OK?s” in produce and in just about every aisle. Then you get asked it one more time, but in the past tense, at the checkout. I’m not mean about it. I know they are required to ask, so I just nod and say “Yes, thanks” so they can get back to work. But I really wish they could be allowed to just do their job and only interact with the customers who request it.

Another pet peeve question from my retail days: when you go to the checkout, and the cashier asks, “Are you all set?” I heard that one dozens of times a day also – and it still has the finger-nails-on-chalkboard effect on me!

Please say something else!!!!