The majority of students in college have jobs. The types of jobs college students work can be limited by experience, age and availability.

One area of the employment world that meets all of these criteria is retail. Retail can be selling clothes in the mall, selling car parts in an auto parts store or selling movies and music at a big box store. No matter what is being sold, one thing remains constant, a young, inexperienced, slightly educated sales person is dealing with the ruthless public.

Companies spend millions of dollars developing training programs with catchy acronyms and humorous videos, but there is no training for regular people to become good customers.

To a retail person, all customers are different and each has a unique perspective on everything. Customers need to remember that retail sales people are customers too. They know what it’s like being a consumer.

Retailers genuinely want to help customers with their problems when they enter a store, but as a courtesy, there are some things customers can do to make their purchase decision a more pleasant one.

One thing customers can do is to call the manufacturers customer service line. Instead of making an extra trip back to the store, calling these lines can give the consumer specific answers that the retail salesperson cannot. If the manufacturer suggests the product is faulty, returning it to the store in a furious rage will not get the customer what they want any quicker.

Keeping the receipt speeds things up also. Sales people have a lot of rules they have to follow, the customer’s responsibility is to keep their receipt and the box the product came in.

It should be understood also that sales people are still people. Yelling in a store only makes the customer look foolish. I do not think there are a lot of people that would let a perfect stranger come up to them on the street and start yelling at them. So why do some consumers think it is acceptable in the store?

There are things a customer can do to help a sales person. If you feel a sales person went above and beyond to help a customer, thank them. A “thank you” can turn a sales person’s day around, or tell their supervisor what a great job they did. Retailers and consumers are not in a battle with each other. Next time a regular person puts on the customer name tag, remember that sales people are still people, so treat them that way.

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