4 women with shopping bags

Life of a serf (part 5): More customer types

This continues my “life of a serf” series. If you’re curious about customer types 1-8, you can find them here. Again, I wish I could take full credit for this brilliance, but I can’t: it belongs to my coworker.

9.) The Destroyer

A destroyer ship at sea

Rare, but when they come in, they wreak havoc on your store.

Got a nice display? You’ll be redoing it after they leave. Got tea towels? They’ll open every single one, then wad them up and toss them back on the shelf. If any end up on the floor, they won’t pick them up.  

A tactile breed, they have the need to pick up all the items that catch their eye. Got hanging pots? The Destroyer will take them all down then clank them together. Cutting boards? They’ll take the heaviest one and let the ones remaining on the shelf smack loudly after it’s yank it out. When they make it to the glassware aisle or the ceramics shelves, you know what’s going to happen. After they break something, they’ll grumble if they have to pay for it and will even have the nerve to ask for a discount because “it’s broken!”

10.) The Gift Seeker

A woman in vintage clothes looking at a dress at a market

This customer has no idea what they’re looking for and are hoping that you’ll magically propose the perfect gift for a person you’ve never met.  You’ll actually start to wonder if the gift seeker has ever met the person either.

What do they like to cook?

Uh… everything?

What about a cookbook?



Too expensive.

Wisconsin-shaped cutting board?

They’re from Minnesota. 

Oh, those one-of-a-kind artisanal bowls from Deruta, Italy? They’re $1,200 apiece.

Really? You’re never going to sell those. Nevermind. Guess I’ll look elsewhere.

Both you and the Gift Seeker heave an enormous sigh.

11.) The Industry Folks

Two chefs, one with a whisk, the other with a knife

You can always tell if someone works for Sardine because they’ll ask for the bistro aprons. The bartenders from Merchant and Heritage always grab a couple of our zippity two-step wine openers. Graze or L’Etoile chefs/sous-chefs? Isi whipped cream dispensers or cartridges. Baker Russ? Mac knives or one of those pastry wheels that we never have in stock…

12.) The Regular


These folks tend to be delightful and it’s fun to see how they’re building up their kitchen or how they tend to buy the same kinds of things.

Betty and Bob will probably get some Duralex after Betty inspects every single glass and Bob tells her he’s leaving in 5 minutes, with or without her.  Drew will always pick up a few of the Le Parfait canning jars or bottles to make more Limoncello. That one young guy with the dark hair, grey eyes, and oddly smooth face will always buy a couple of cookbooks, usually for Asian cooking.

13.) The Phone Shopper

A woman shopper talking on the phone in a shopping mall

Probably one of the most irritating types.

These people will call not only to ask if you have a particular item in stock, but also to ask you to describe it. This will involve talking about the shape, the color, the price, the material, how it feels, how to use said item, and even measurements. They may also ask you to tell them all of the brands that you carry and get testy if you tell them that you carry over 50 and ask to specify what they’re looking for.

On top of it, the reception is terrible as they are usually on a cell phone and driving. After 10 minutes, the Phone Shopper will more often than not decide that they might come in to see for themselves if they would like the item, which is what they should have done in the first place.



3 thoughts on “Life of a serf (part 5): More customer types

  1. Re: phone customer – back when I used to work retail, I worked at Dillards Dept store for awhile. We had a lady call for a specific coach bag that she was told by another store that we had. I explained that the bag had been returned, it was a mistake by the person that accepted the return to take it back – it was obviously used and smelled strongly of cigarette smoke. My manager even told her we’d prefer not to sell it to her as we should just eat the cost of damaging it out since it was taken back by one of our employees in the first place. I told her repeatedly “I’m not sure you understand how badly it smells…” But she insisted she MUST have it, she would clean it if she had to etc etc… so we finally did the phone order and we shipped it off. The next week she got it and called us wanting to return it because of the smell. FFS

    Liked by 1 person

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