Although my “Retail Reminders” have been designed to give the customer tips on politeness, I don’t mean to imply that you will not encounter rude sales people. Sometimes you walk into a store, no one greets you, no one helps you, and when you go to swipe your credit card, the sales associate make a rude remark – possibly changing your mind about your entire purchase. (I’ve been there.)
“Is it really that hard for them to just smile?” you wonder, knowing the answer is “no.” Firstly, please don’t take it personally – it probably has nothing to do with you (unless you’ve been rude yourself). Secondly, if you feel they did not do a satisfactory take the appropriate approach to complaining.
Remember: two wrongs do not make a right, so do not take a sales associate’s impoliteness as an excuse to be rude.
Option 1: The best thing to do is always be direct and honest. If you feel comfortable, respectfully inform the worker that you felt (use assertive “I” language so they don’t feel attacked) you weren’t treated appropriately as a customer. See if he or she apologizes – maybe that person was not aware of how they were acting.
Option 2: Ask for the store’s phone number, or find it online. You can call anonymously and speak with a manager without tipping off the employee. Express your complaint calmly and unemotionally. People will take your complaint much more seriously if you avoid words like “sad” or “angry” and focus on what the employee did wrong according to the store’s policy or reputation. (The organization may actually find this information helpful, because you’ve provided free feedback.)
Option 3: If it was the manager who was rude to you, or you don’t feel you complaint was taken seriously by the manager, look online for the customer service line (or similar). This will take you directly to someone whose job is to look after your concerns as a customer. Again, keep your complaint calm and professional.
Showing off your manners earns you credibility as a respectful person, and it makes you look professional and earnest. You won’t look like someone taking out a personal vendetta against the store, and people are less likely to get defensive. Be polite and pointed, not obnoxious or rude.