Since it is Monday it seemed fitting to talk about something that drives us all crazy. As a manager I usually arrive at my store about half an hour before we open. This is to do my normal inspections, and get everything counted and ready to start the day. Something that drives me crazy is when we do not even open for another twenty minutes and I already have people lining up outside or better yet banging on my doors to let them in. Mind you the hours we are open are posted on the same doors they are banging on, and the doors are not moving so you would think they would get the idea.
Usually I end up having to go to the door and let them know we are closed, and I always get some sob story about how they “need” to come in before we open. My answer is always the same, “I’m sorry but I cannot allow you to enter before we open.” I used to leave on of my doors unlocked but turned off that way our employees could simply slide it open to come in and then close it once they were inside, but after having customers repeatedly use it for themselves, and on one occasion having a customer refuse to leave until I threatened to call the police; leaving the door unlocked is no longer an option.
This topic is fitting because although few of us actually enjoy weekends off, many of us still dread Mondays. For me this week Monday is my Friday, but I still dread Mondays at times because that is when a lot of our “unique and eccentric” customers come out of the woodworks. Despite the fact the early morning customers are dreadful, we also have the opposite side of the spectrum which I have previously talked about. The customers that either come in mere minutes before closing, and the customers who try to come in after we close and once again give you some crazy excuse as to why they “need” to be allowed entry after closing hours. I can usually deal with the ones who come in after we are closed, because it is simple to just tell them no, the customers that come in minutes before closing on the other hand are much harder to deal with.
I usually start informing customers walking in that we are closing soon ten minutes before we are closing, earlier if I know they are a couponer. I will also make announcements over our intercom, and go into detail as stating that our registers are shutting down in five minutes. I do it this way to let them know that if they have a purchase then they need to be checked out. Even with all of this I still one or two customers a week try and stay ten minutes or more past our closing time. We simply do not have additional labor to cover the expenses. I always try to be polite about my approach, but I have had to get confrontational on more than one occasion. I have had to tell a customer to leave and come back in the morning on more than one occasion, because they refused to leave. I have also had a customer tell me that I cannot close, because I am there to serve her, and that if she wanted to stay then I was obligated. Needless to say, that she was out of my store in less than minute after saying that. Nor did she come back the next day.
My point here is that although we are employed to provide service, we also have rules, and budgets. We cannot let you come in early or let you stay drastically later than closing. Especially on holidays we are humans, and we have the right to see our families just as much as you do. We do not mind helping you out or staying a few minutes, our lives are just as complicated as yours, we have friends, family, obligations, and bosses. For most of us this is not a career, this is a step we are taking for our lives, we often complain, and on days we may seem a bit down, but overall we do enjoy the time we are at work. That is until that special customer walks in the door.