Warning, this could be considered a bit of a rant. Now, I know that many of us have worked retail and I am more than a little confident in saying that everyone has bought something before - I mean, we are in the age of consumerism. Yet, we are still awful at being nice to each other or being understanding in the ways of the retail service person.
First disclaimer - not everyone is a bad customer. In fact, 9/10 customers are genuinely lovely but that single evil customer is the one you are more likely to remember. I'm sure there is a psychological reason for that but I have no idea what it might be.
Second disclaimer - this list is made for fun and as a form of stress relief for the writer.
One - Do not assume that the person serving you is either deaf or stupid. In fact, don't treat them as if they are that way. Be aware that they are probably trying to do their best and they might, just, know what they are doing.
On the flip side, if they have proven that they are stupid or have been particularly rude, don't cause a fuss but do take down their name and contact their manager.
Two - Never, and I mean NEVER, anger someone who works in the food industry...especially if they go out back to prepare food. I have seen what has happened to people who do not abide by this rule and I'm just going to say that it isn't pretty.
On the flip side - if your server or food is bad be polite about it and try not to make a fuss. From my own experience I'm more likely to help if you have been pleasant and you don't act like it is your right to be a jerk to customer service people.
Three - No matter how good of an idea it may seem at the time, never use a book store as a babysitting venue. Staff there are in no way responsible for looking after your children (brats depending on the situation). If they break something you are going to be fitting the bill - and we don't want to even think about them getting hurt.
There is no flip side for this. Book stores are not a childcare.
Four - This is very important: never swear at someone, especially if they are trying to help. Seriously, swearing doesn't help anyone as far as I"m concerned. The minute you swear at me I'm not going to help you...or if I do I'm not going to be polite about it. I work on a warning system. You get one warning (especially if I am on the phone with you) and after that I will terminate the call without hesitating. Those of you who know me know I speak the truth. There is no place for swearing and the majority of the time it isn't the fault of the person you are talking to.
There isn't really a flip side to this one either. Once again, if you are upset with someone on the phone, take their name, be as polite as possible and then try to get in contact with a manager.
Five - Finally, if you are looking for something please try to be as specific as possible - I find it hard to help if what you are looking for is 'the book with the writing on it' or 'the DVD with that actor, you know, that actor who acts...'
No flip side for this one either. Unless you are wanting help at finding something rather vague...
Sorry for this rather tedious top five...I'm still dealing with a kidney stone and my sleep pattern, which usually sucks, has gotten worse so my brain currently resembles something mangled by a zombie.