Am I Alone In Wanting To Be Left Alone?

I was out running an errand tonight and decided to treat myself to some frozen yogurt. So I go into the shop and I’m headed toward the cups when I am accosted by the cashier.

First she welcomes me to the store. Yea, ok fine. I know you’re probably not nearly as cheery and happy as you sound because I also work in food service, but your boss probably requires you to greet the customers so whatever.

Then she asks if I’ve been there before. I had, and I told her that, but why even ask? Why does it matter at all if I’ve been there before?

Lastly, after learning that I’ve bought yogurt from this store before, she thanks me for coming back. Uh… you’re welcome?

Just leave me the hell alone and let me go about my business!! Seriously, am I the only person who actively dislikes all the stupid polite small talk shit that the owners and managers of retail and food service places require their employees to spew at their customers? When I go into a shop of any kind I just want to do my shopping and leave. If I have a question, I will ask.

I don’t need to be greeted, I know you don’t care how my day is and I know you aren’t nearly as happy to be there as you’re pretending to be. So can we just skip that completely pointless interaction? I honestly do not understand why the people who manage these stores seem to think it makes any difference to the customer whether they are greeted when they come in. I have never spoken to someone who was happy with their purchase but wasn’t going to go back to a place because no one said hello when they walked in the door.

I don’t need help. At least not the minute I enter your store. If you’re a retailer, I need to look for the thing I’m there to buy. If you’re a food service establishment, I need to decide what I want to eat. What I do not need is you bothering me before I’m ready to make my purchase. All you’re doing is wasting both our time. Go do something more productive until I’m either ready to leave or I actually do need your help.

I don’t like platitudes, polite small talk or attempts to sell me things. Just leave me alone and let me get what I came for. As long as you’re not rude to me when or if I engage you I will be happy.

Am I alone in this? Do other people actually care whether they’re greeted or like it when a sales person tries to give them a tour or spiel about the products in the store?

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2 thoughts on “Am I Alone In Wanting To Be Left Alone?

  1. You really do, as the old saying goes, catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. When I worked in customer service — even in the cage-match atmosphere of NoMann’s Fabrics cut counter — I always said ‘you’re most welcome’ or ‘my pleasure’ and usually meant it. My customers adored me. It takes no more effort to be a little gracious than it does to be surly, and customers aside, it makes your own day go a lot better.

  2. There’s a difference between responding to a customer’s gratitude politely AFTER the service has been provided and assaulting them with all of the “polite” bullshit as soon as they enter the store. If I say “thank you” after a store employee has helped me with something and they say “you’re most welcome” that’s fine. It doesn’t bother me. It’s not overly saccharine, it’s not an obviously calculated attempt at selling me more than I came for or trying overly hard to make me want to come back. It’s just basic respectful politeness and apparently in your case it’s also genuine which is not a bad thing either. My problem is with pretty much every interaction that I as a customer do not actively initiate. If you cut some fabric for me, I initiated that by bringing you the fabric and asking you to cut it. You’ve cut it for me and I appreciate that so I thank you for it. You respond. This is all fine and is not going to bother me at all. Me simply walking into the store is not me initiating an interaction with anyone.

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