Being A Customer: A Guide

Both of the jobs I have held have been customer facing. At the pizza place, I was cashier and busboy (busgirl?) and server for minimum wage, and now at the hotel I work front desk for slightly more. From my immense wisdom that comes from a year and a half in the work force, I have noticed that most people seem to forget proper etiquette when they enter a retail establishment. If you will join me, I would like to go over some rules that will guarantee you the best experience. 🙂


Refrain from Personal Comments

I know that when you first meet someone, the immediate reaction is to make a comment about their appearance. Its too tempting to restrain yourself from blurting out the first think that pops into your mind! However, just how it isn’t nice to assume a woman is pregnant by her appearance, it is not nice to tell a retail worker how you feel about their looks. For example, I have been told by multiple guests that I look simply too young to be working! Apparently I look like a child, and it is ridiculous that a company would hire a child. Well, I can assure you, I am 20 years old; my employment is not breaking any labor laws. I am not a little girl, and it is a kind of rude to refer to me as such. Instead of telling your relative on the phone that “the little girl at the desk can get you a key,” terms such as employee, my name perhaps, or front desk agent (you know, my title) would work much better.

Listening and Reading Comprehension are Your Friends

When an employee tells you something, please listen. When you read a piece of paper that you are signing, please read it. This will save you and the worker many headaches. If you don’t know where something is located, you can look around for a sign that instructs you where to go or look for the item first before asking. Usually the sign or item is right in front of you. If you need something from the desk but the worker is not there, you can read the sign on the desk stating that they are assisting another guest and will be back momentarily instead of slamming the bell twenty times a second and screaming that no one is there when you have been waiting under five minutes.Please listen and read. It is tiring for employees to repeat information when you talk over them and to point out the same things when a quick look at your surrounding would tell you what you need to know.

Personal Frustration Should Remain Personal

In almost every sitcom, the characters will be annoyed at a personal circumstance and will yell at a waiter or cashier because of it, which is always accompanied by an uproarious laugh track. These scenes now make me cringe. The answer to your problem is not yelling at a stranger. Retail workers are human beings too, which is a fact that is often ignored. Just because you think you are in a position of power over another, and think that the employee cannot retaliate to your outburst does not make it acceptable. When you scream at me because I don’t apologize for your mistake, I am not being rude. When you are in the wrong and I will not break policy for you, I am not cruel. You are frustrated with yourself and the situation, not the employee. The key to deflecting your issue on an employee is simple: DON’T. No one deserved to be screamed at or belittled. If an employee is truly rude to you, you can speak to their manager and address the situation calmly.

Leave Things the Way You Found Them

Honestly no one should have to be told this. It is disrespectful to leave your trash for others to pick up. It is disrespectful to make a huge mess and leave it for another to clean up. If you are covered in mud, please wipe your shoes at the door. If your child throws food on the floor or makes a spill, clean up or at least tell someone who can get a broom or mop. It is selfish and rude to make someone else pick up after you because you don’t feel like it; I shouldn’t have to say this.


I feel like there are more things I could say, but I’m getting tired. The hotel is sold out, and it has taken me three hours to write this between check-ins, running upstairs to fix ACs and TVs, and answering a million phone calls. Honestly, the most important thing is to remember that we are all human. Your behavior affects others no matter the circumstance, and while you do not have power over an employee, you do have the power to make or break someone’s day. Show compassion. Be respectful. Try to be the best you can be when you interact with others. Its really easy, and when an employee can talk to you with genuine friendliness instead of their “retail face,” it makes it all worth it.