Just shut up already! – Guest Post

April 16, 2009 by admncc

Here at The Constant Complainer, in addition to my own posts, I offer readers the opportunity to submit Guest Posts on topics they would like to complain about.  Laura submitted the below-Guest Post.  I love retail complaints!!!  As a side-note, normally I have the author remove the company’s name, but in this case I had her leave it in, because I think it will help convey her point.  Enjoy and without further adieu, here’s Laura…

As a generous Christmas gift I received a $100 gift card to NY&Co.  Being that I am a pretty thrifty shopper (or tightwad as my friends lovingly call me), I don’t usually shop for myself at higher-end stores.  Needless to say, I was pretty psyched about getting some badly needed work clothes.

Long story short…I was waiting in line at the register with my snazzy new pants, eager to check out.  I set my clothes on the counter and the woman at the register asks me if I have a NY&Co credit card.  I said no and made it a point to say I didn’t want one.  She continued by saying, “You know, you can save an extra 20% today by opening an account.”  I politely respond with, “No, thank you.”  I assumed this would be the end of her sales pitch but I was sadly mistaken.  She continued on by saying, “You know, if you open an account with us, we will send you coupons in the mail.”  At this point something in my head snapped.  I could feel my heart starting to pound faster and my face was feeling flush.  I, again, politely (but with a touch of annoyance) said, “No, thank you.”  Mind you…my clothes have not been touched.  About 10 minutes has gone by and not one thing has been rung up.  Then, like she was purposely trying to make me have a meltdown, she asks me for my address and phone number.  At this point steam was rolling out of my ears, my antiperspirant was working double-time and my hands were starting to tremble.  This is the moment I completely snapped.  I said, “Ma’am, I want two things…I want you to stop talking and I want you to ring up these pants so I can get the hell out of here.”  She stares at me with a confused look on her face and says, “Well, if you give me your phone number and address, I can put you on the mailing list.  We have lots of great offers.”  Now people are looking at me as if they were dying to see what was going to happen next.  I hear a girl behind me say, “She’s about to go off!”

And I did just that.  It was as if I was having an out of body experience.  I said, “Ma’am, if you do not ring up these clothes within the next 2 minutes, these people behind me are going to think they are in line to see the next WWE smack down.”  As the words left my mouth, a jolt of fear ran through my body.  I was certain I was about to get whisked away by mall security.  Instead, I received a couple of claps and a you-go-girl from someone standing near me.  The woman did not say another word and proceeded to ring up my clothes. 

So, here’s my question.  Was I way out of line or was she?  I know now that I’m calm, that I could have handled the situation much better.  I honestly don’t even know where the WWE smack down thing came from.  I have never ever caused a scene in public before but, really, no means no.  Are they taught in sales clerk training to push people to their absolute limits? 

Moral of the story is….I will continue to shop at my favorite “low end” stores where the only thing they ask me is, “Debit or credit?”  As for my pants…they shrank to Barbie doll size in the dryer a week later…..

All Posts / Business / Family/Lifestyle / Group Sharing / Guest Posts Credit Card / Credit Cards / Customer Service / Fashion / Retail / Rude Employees / Shopping / The Customer is Always Right /


  1. Chris says:

    Haha. That’s brilliant – “smack down”. I love it.

    I don’t think you’re out of line because you weren’t offensive or rude – you were really witty and bold.

    She was out of line for ‘harassing’ you about joining their list – a NO is a NO as they say.

    Good job!

  2. Mike says:

    Wow I think I would have snapped at her too. I think I would have spoke in a voice that I’d use to talk to a 4-yr-old though instead. Nothing irritates customer service people more than a customer with a condescending tone.

    There used to be a lady at the bank I go to named Sandy. She was the absolute most annoying woman on the face of the Earth. She spoke in a very soft voice and would ask me countless questions. It was a very similar situation to what you describe Laura. It got to the point where I would dread going inside the bank for fear of hearing her say “I can help who’s next.” I wonder if she ever got the hint that I hated her when I’d let other people cut in front of me.

    All I want is a nice clerk who does their job and leaves me alone mostly. I don’t want a super friendly person who’s pure happiness makes me sick, but I also don’t want the typical McDonald’s teen employee who doesn’t say “Hello” or “Have a nice day”. There’s got to be a gray area between insanely happy and severe misanthrope.

  3. c.princess says:

    I’m wondering if the reason she was so pushy was because maybe for every customer she signs up she receives some type of commission?

  4. I think you handled it very well. Like Chris said you were not rude and by the sounds of it this lady needed to be talked to that way or she would have just stood there until she pestered you so much you finally broke and said yes. As to C princess, it is very possible that she could be getting a commission which would probably be taken away immediately once someone in charge found out exactly how long it took her to get it. You say 10 minutes, imagine how many people she could have rung up in that time…

  5. Sugar says:

    Your response was great! I probably would have fumbled to say the right words. I’m sure that Mall Security would have even applauded you!

  6. Chris Wagers says:

    Hi Laura,
    You go girl! I myself have experienced this same ‘pushy’ salesmanship in stores…and I hate it! I’ve chosen to shop at their store, I’ve found something I want, and all I am interested in is completing the purchase. I know that stores are suffering and need to try to guarantee a return visit from every customer, but really! If I say No, Thank You, I too expect that to end their questioning, but often times it doesn’t. It’s very exasperating! You did the right thing…standing up to her. I wonder if she asked the person in line behind you the same questions!

  7. Jane says:

    Laura, great post. I love it! Yelling at retail workers can be such good therapy sometimes. Good for you.

  8. That’s hilarious. I’ve always wanted to be able to say something like that to someone, you did it! I couldn’t believe she kept pushing even after you told her you wanted her to stop talking. Classic!!

  9. Tristan says:

    I never suggest mistreating people even if they seem to deserve it. I cannot stand being grilled at checkout counters, but I think you went about it entirely the wrong way. Pretty much every commenter agrees that you were not rude, but I find that to be absolutely absurd. I would like to see any one of you be told to stop talking or be ridiculed with a reference to a “WWE smackdown” and then tell me it was not rude. From these responses I have to wonder if it’s the salesmen that are rude or if it’s everyone.

    If you don’t like playing 20 questions, tell the cashier that. Tell her why you don’t want to give her your phone number or address and why you don’t want the credit card. The answer can be very simple, but you can’t expect someone to pick up little “hints” or your tone of voice and then blow up when they don’t get it.

  10. Dan says:

    Tristan, it seems that you are in the minority here. She said she did say no. And she said she told the associate she wasn’t interested. What else should she have done? I guarantee not many people would stand there and take that for 20 minutes. Are you saying you’d stand there with a smile on your face for 10 minutes while the associate nagged you? Come on.

  11. Laura says:

    Thanks guys! Now I don’t feel so guilty. 🙂
    Tristan..you must be a remarkably calm person. I commend you, my friend.

  12. Tristan, NO ONE has the obligation to sit there and explain themselves in this type of situation. Laura said “no, thank you” that was all that she needed to say. I don’t think it would have been inappropriate for the checker to ask her another time which she did and Laura again said “no thank you” that should have been the end of it.

  13. You can never put NY&Co pants in dryer–they ALWAYS shrink. I always buy tall because they seem to shrink even when not put in dryer.

    Now on topic, I know sales people have to “sell”, but they should have a common sense gauge of when to stop selling because the customer is becoming annoyed—that’ just, uuhhmmm COMMON SENSE!

  14. NeoConDon says:

    That was an excellent post…but…

    If one of my children (regardless of how old they are) treat another person the way you treated that cashier, they would find themselves in a whole heap of trouble with me. In my family, we treat everyone with respect in public places. If you need to have words with someone, you do it privately. It is NEVER appropriate to threaten someone unless it is defensive in nature.

  15. The Constant Complainer says:

    Welcome to those of you who are first time commenters! Thanks for showing some love.

    And Laura, this was an excellent post. Like I said above, I’m always happy to publish retail complaints. This one was perfect.

    Tristan, you must be calm indeed. I would have reacted exactly how Laura did if I was pushed like that. And Don, come one, you’ve never flipped on a retail associate? Never ever? LOL.

  16. The Queen says:

    I would have had a melt down after the first “no thank you” and I just won an award for my melt downs.. so… you did good as far as I can tell..

  17. PrincessKori says:

    She was out of line. Here’s my loss of sanity at the checkout (ok it was customer service).

    Ex-Hubs got $100 gift cert. to Cabela’s. After 2 hours shopping, he spent half on a tackle box. Not wanting to carry it while he finished, he asked to check it into “Coat Check”.

    After 2 more hours, he picked out a second item and I was happy to be leaving the store. We went to “Coat Check” and after 15 minutes they decided it was with Customer Service. The line to CS was 2 miles long!! We did not wait in line. When EH walked up to the counter and told them what he needed, the woman behind the counter stated “Sir, you’ll have to go to the end of the line.”

    1. I’m not the sporting type.
    2. Four hours is too long in ANY store!
    3. Four hours is about 4 times too long in Cabela’s
    4. I was already irritated with him
    5. I was mad that our item was not where we left it.
    And 6. I WANTED TO GO HOME!!

    Needless to say, I snapped! I yelled at the woman, “LISTEN!! I’VE BEEN IN THIS STORE FOR 4 HOURS AND IT’S STILL 3 MORE TO GET HOME! HE PAID FOR THE DAMN ITEM! HE LEFT IT OVER THERE (pointing to counter with NO line) JUST GIVE HIM THE F’ING THING SO WE CAN LEAVE!!!”

    Poor girl must have thought I’d start spitting pea soup soon because she grabbed his package and handed it over without saying a word. EH laughed all the way to the car!

  18. Jen says:

    I have had a similar situation happen but it was in the Paris airport and luckily in the days before security can haul you off for just looking at an airport employee the wrong way. I work in retail and I know how tough it can be for the employees but the customer is always right in my book and you have to respect what they are saying no matter how much you don’t want to.
    Thanks for visiting my site. Really enjoyed this. Please come back to visit.

  19. haha! oh, well i used to own my own store and I never even had a mailing list so how about that. but every freaking time i go to express they’re all whats your email? “don’t have a computer.” whats your phone #? “my phone is disconnected.” they get quite frustrated with me.

  20. The Mother says:

    When I went shopping with my mother in the eighties, they asked about your employment whenever you used a credit credit card. My mom always answered by telling the nosy clerk that she ran a house of ill-repute.

    That shut them up fast.

  21. NeoConDon says:

    Nope, CC…I have never flipped out on a person or cashier at a place of business. I do about 75% of my shopping at Walmart for food and stuff, so most of my shopping does not require customer service, and if it does, let’s face it…I’m at Wal-Mart, and by definition I know that the “service” I get there will be one step better than what I would get at Target or K-mart…but one-thousand percent higher than what I get from your typical gov’t “worker.” I have no problem going off on gov’t “workers.”

  22. NeoConDon says:

    The Mother had an excellent idea there. I used a similar approach when I was attacked by petition carriers to raise the minimum wage…I lied and said I already signed the petition…(I would NEVER sign a petition to allow the gov’t to establish wages)…

  23. Tristan says:

    Dan, I would stand there for 20 seconds and explain myself clearly and the problem would be solved.

    Laura, I am a calm person, but the point is not my confirmation in that. You asked whether what you did was right and I would say it was not and if you feel guilty about it that is because you should.

    Christina, I feel that it is the obligation of each of us to treat others with respect. If you don’t like the inquisition at checkout, leave the store. Nothing gets the point across like taking your business elsewhere. It is no one’s choice but our own which pants we buy and from where we buy them.

  24. dani says:

    You go girl !!!
    I hate that shit..It seriously irritates the living hell out of me..especially when you got kids in tow…UUgggghhhhh

  25. The cashiers do get a commission when they sign up new cards, hence the pressure. It’s just like going onto a car lot, you know they are going to pressure you while there and you’ll get a call (or 10) as soon as you get home.

    I would have been annoyed, sure! BUT I wouldn’t have “gone off” like that. That’s just me. I don’t like to make a scene in public, it just makes you look as bad as the instigator. Also, I probably would have had my kids with me, so I would have tried to set a good example. I would KILL them if I saw them pull the WWE thing. (Amen, NeoConDon)

    Now, I have been known to turn around, giving the person behind me “the look” like “Are you getting this???”

  26. Oh, as far as the phone number thing goes, I always say “It’s unlisted” then it’s the end of the story.

  27. Extreme John says:

    Nope, can’t blame you one bit. I can’t stand going to any of the “Anchor Stores” in any of the malls for that very reason.

  28. The Constant Complainer says:

    Tristan, come on man. LOL. Sometimes standing there for 20 seconds and explaining yourself isn’t going to do it. And you know it.

    We’ve all been where Laura is. I refuse to believe that you’ve never lost your cool towards a customer service employee, if that’s what you’re saying.

    On another note, congratulations to Laura on an excellent Guest Post and subsequent discussion. Very fun!

  29. Tristan says:

    I can think of a couple of times that I’ve lost my cool. Once when I was 12 years old and someone spit on me. Another time when I was 20 or so and someone spit on me. In both cases I found that doing so didn’t work.

    Customer service people are not disrespectful, they are just annoying. If you disrespect them because they irritate you, you are in the wrong whether it feels good or not. Police and military tend to irritate me, but that doesn’t justify disrespect. I could call everyone here idiots for not agreeing with me (something I’ve seen often in the more political topics), but what purpose would that serve?

  30. Mike says:

    You seem to have a problem with people spitting on you. You wouldn’t happen to work in customer service would you? J/k.

  31. Kelly says:

    Low end stores are great!!!! I totally think you were right. I hate the credit card thing! It’s so annoying! Obviously they get a kick back of some sort if they sell you, but really! Give up!

  32. Heather says:

    It is really annoying having to listen to pushy sales pitches, I agree. But after working retail for most of my working life I know that at some stores the employees are pushed to make quotas for store charges. Also, I have noticed that a lot of retailers are asking for address, phone #, etc. it actually comes up on the cash registers for the clerk to enter in before they proceed with the sale. Unfortunately it is always the sales clerk that has to deal with the backlash from these tactics. I think a better way to handle it in the future is to write someone from corporate.

    I don’t work retail anymore, Thank God, because I really hate these newer sales tactics and I always feel bad being pushy and listening to people take their understandable frustration out on me.

  33. […] hero for putting a punk in his place).  Oh, and let’s not forget Laura (who received applause for standing her ground) or the guy who sent this check to Verizon […]

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