Retail Death

It's a Blue One
July 2nd, 2010, 6:19 pm

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Oh, and it's got wheels.  Four of 'em.

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Author's Comments:

Blue Ones

Posted by RetailReaper
July 2nd, 2010, 6:41 pm

This is a comic dedicated to all the people out there who think that just because I've changed my line of work I've gone soft. For those who think that working at an auto parts wholesaler has caused me to lose touch with the plight of the retail associate. Our operation sells to rebuilders and mechanics, mostly online or via telephone. But we've got a storefront as well. We've got customers, and they're no better than big box customers. In fact, they're often worse.

I want to stress that the event detailed in the comic above is not only true. It is very common. Somehow people don't realize that the many different applications out there -- all the different cars, trucks, forklifts, excavators, jetskis, boats, lawn mowers, etc. -- require different sorts of parts. The alternator for a 1995 Saturn is not the same alternator used in a 1978 Ford. Different tractors have different starters. And it's not possible to know which starter a tractor needs by knowing that this tractor is blue. We actually had someone tell us their tractor was GREEN one time. And anyone who knows anything about tractors should know that...well, there's quite a lot of green ones.

While this particular instance might be specific to auto parts, this is certainly not a unique customer experience for the retail associate. I remember working in office supplies how often someone would come in for an ink cartridge for their printer without having a clue what type they needed, or even knowing what kind of printer they had. Same thing, really. And how many music store workers have to deal with the old, "I'm looking for the CD with this one song...I don't know the words but it kinda goes da da da dee da dooo..."? I guess the moral here would be this: Customers, know what you are looking for if you're going to ask for assistance. Going shopping aimlessly is fine if you're just looking to get anything. You're looking for shoes, but not sure what type? That's fine, so long as you're there to make up your mind. But if you need something specific, please, know what that is before you shop! Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, retail associates -- no matter how intelligent -- possess absolutely no psychic powers.

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June 19th, 2018, 3:06 am

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Reader's Comments:


Posted by Tina (Guest)
July 3rd, 2010, 10:07 pm

It's true we are not psychic, just as we don't know what other stores may carry the product you are trying to describe to us, but you don't know the name of.

ESP is not short for Espresso

Posted by Yuja
July 5th, 2010, 4:36 pm

It's the same at the Starbucks kiosk I work at, in a grocery store. When someone buys whole coffee beans, I have to ask if they need it ground for anything. Most of the time, if they say yes, the customer knows what grind I have to put the beans through so they won't end up with sludge. The rest of the time, they say, "It's a Starbucks machine." Riiiiiight, because every machine you buy from the website MUST use one specific Starbucks filter. When I try explaining that there are different kinds of filters that use different kinds of grinds, I just get the deer in headlights look, and "You can't just grind it?"

Just found this comic yesterday, and loving its true-ness already. =)

It's broke...

Posted by Mechanic Biff (Guest)
July 10th, 2010, 8:14 pm

As a partsman at a Ford store, I had a customer ask for a particular part (no year/make/model mentioned). When asked "what for?" the reply was "It's broke..."

Posted by Grendus (Guest)
April 11th, 2011, 1:27 pm

I had a guy try to return an ink cartridge one time because it didn't work in his printer. Not the box, wrapping, and a pristine cartridge. Just the cartridge, mangled from the guy trying to manhandle it into his printer, with the tab already pulled and ink all over his hands. It took every ounce of my willpower to keep from laughing.

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