‘This Always Brightens Them Up’: Retail Workers Share 8 Ways To Be a Model Customer

Cashier checking out groceries in a supermarket

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Cashier checking out groceries in a supermarket
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Retail Role Models

The very existence of the subreddit r/RetailHell — an 80,000-strong community of disgruntled workers — should tell you everything you need to know about the service industry (hint: it sucks!). Besides the pay, Redditors can't help but vent about all the awful customers they have to deal with. The good news is that if you follow these eight ways to be a model customer — ideas from r/RetailHell workers, by the way — you can rest assured that you’re making service workers' lives a little bit less hellish.

Female grocery store employee talks to customer
SDI Productions/istockphoto

Don’t Skip the Niceties

If there’s one thing you take away from this piece, it should be that politeness matters. So, yes, say hello, ask how an employee is doing, and don’t forget your pleases and thank yous. Checking in with a worker to see how their day is going “always brightens them up," one Redditor shares.

Walmart Cart Pusher
Walmart Cart Pusher by Rusty Clark (CC BY)

Return Your Shopping Cart

Don’t leave your cart in the middle of the parking lot or your basket in some random corner of the store. While it may not seem like a big deal, a stray cart is just extra work for an underpaid, overworked employee.

the owner of a small business shop came to closed the shop.

Don’t Shop at Closing Time

Anyone who’s ever worked a day in their life knows that the last hour of the day is the toughest. It’s especially hard in retail, where a flood of entitled customers could come in minutes before closing, adding an extra 30 minutes to your shift. “We all want to go home and have a real life,” a Redditor explains.

Customer making a contactless payment

Stay Off Your Phone

“I make sure to put my phone away and give the employee my full attention,” one Redditor writes, echoing other workers’ sentiments. Understandably, ignoring someone because you’re babbling or swiping on TikTok is rude. Workers aren't robots; they deserve to be acknowledged.

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Female worker at a buffet restaurant handing the plate with food to customer

Be Patient

It’s telling that several service workers emphasized the importance of patience. “If I have an issue with a product or service, I don't BARK ORDERS at the person assisting me,” a Redditor shares. “I am always kind and patient.” Think about it this way: If you were working a stressful low-wage job, how would you want to be treated?

Related: The 9 Habits of Target Employees' Favorite Customers

Using a barcode for tickets at the movies
people at restaurant
Portrait of confident owner leaning on checkout counter at flower shop
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