Crowds of people shopping

Life of a serf (part 3): Customer types

 This continues my “life of a serf” series. But don’t worry if you didn’t read the previous posts. This one stands alone.

A co-worker wrote this, and I thought it would be a shame not to share it. We’ve worked at the same store for over a year now–long enough to identify every type of customer there is. Now be honest: Which type are you?

1.) The Narrator

The narrator

These are the folks who have to comment on every single thing in the store, how you use it, who you should buy it for, what their Aunt Bertha did with hers and did you know that if you use mineral oil on cutting boards, they won’t break down as quickly? If you’re lucky, the Narrator won’t demand that you listen to them.

2.) The Cheapskate

Store window with discounted items

 They always try to get a discount. Can you match this Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon? If you can’t, I’ll take my business elsewhere. If they do buy something, they’ll complain about the price and how they saw it elsewhere for X amount less as if they’re hoping you’ll magically reduce it for them.

If you’re so unlucky as to offer a loyalty or point card, the Cheapskate will complain that you should have had it 3 years earlier when they bought a ton of stuff in the store. They will also complain if you don’t give them as many stamps on their loyalty card as they think they deserve.

3.) The Complainer

Cartoon man, complaining

 Often also a cheapskate, but their complaints go beyond the price. They’ll find fault in every single product you have and then complain that you don’t have what they want.  Awful.

4.) The Returner


To be clear, these are not the folks returning unwanted gifts or ones that are clearly defective. No, these are special people. They’ll come in to return a product that they bought anywhere from “several months ago” to “several years ago.” “Several” in this case can mean seven or eight. They’ll then swear they’ve never used it and demand their money back because they just decided they don’t need it. Or that they don’t like it. The item has clearly been used or is one that you haven’t sold in five years.

Be prepared to be yelled at. It’s going to happen. The Returner will transform into the extra loud Complainer to try and bully their way into getting their money back. They also lose their ability to listen unless you utter the magic words, “full refund.”

5.) The Know-It-All


These ones are often narrators too, especially if they have a friend with them and want to show off. They’ll sometimes ask questions just to test your knowledge and then tell their friend how you have no idea what you’re talking about. If there’s no friend around, be prepared for them to argue with you and follow each of your answers with another question. If the Know-It-All is really awful, they’ll also give you “advice” on how you should be running the store.

6.) The Grand Inquisitor


The opposite of the Know-It-All. So much so that you wonder how they manage to dress themselves. They’ll want to know exactly how something works, usually want you to open up the packaging of an item, and will mention that you need to have product demonstrations. This will often be for something like making ice cubes.

7.) The Lingerer


These people come in 5 minutes to close and decide it’s a good time to look at every single item in the store. If they get to the cookie cutter aisle, they’ll comment on how cute every single cookie cutter is. If you ask them if you can help them find something, they’ll say they’re “just looking.” After 30-45 minutes, they might buy a $2 item. If they’re real @ssholes, they’ll complain about how early you close.

8.) The Diva

on a mountaintop

This customer will demand service as they’re marching through the door.“Yoo hoo! Can I get some help over here?” as if they’ve been waiting for ages. They’ll likely dismiss all suggestions you make, any advice you have, and at some point you WILL have to get a ladder out to reach the items on the top shelf. Don’t put the ladder away—the Diva won’t be buying the items.


12 thoughts on “Life of a serf (part 3): Customer types

  1. Pingback: Life of a serf (part 5): More customer types | Prog Chik

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