Change Room Etiquette


20140310-210326.jpgAllow me to address an issue I have working in retail: Who leaves a change room like this?

I took these photos in a very loud manner and made sure I collected all of the items and dumped them on the counter next to the customer’s purchases. I am normally quite calmly composed and smile as much as a customer may bother me. But this state left me in complete shock and I wanted her to feel ashamed.

As a thrift shopper myself, I know the drill with change rooms. No matter what store I’m in, I end up tidying up items that are falling off hangers as I go along browsing. When I use a change room I always put the items back on the hangers as I found them – save for bras at Walmart! I do my best to leave my unwanted items neatly back on the returns rack, not in the change room or on the floor, save for those pesky bras I hand them to the attendants directly.

I did my usual change room tour to find this explosion of merchandise all over the floor. Not a single item on a hanger, heck most was flipped inside out! I don’t expect customers to put items away in their proper place but I do expect customers to show the store, the product and the employees some respect. Despite the common belief that it’s “my job” to clean up after you, there is a line between courteous and insulting.

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At restaurants I organize the plates and cutlery so it is easy for the waitress or waiter to clean up. In my opinion it’s the smallest things that make the big difference.

And on occasion a customer’s assistance with these tasks is rewarded. Last week I was behind a woman in line at Value Village, she had a huge mound of clothing stacked on the desk. She watched as the cashier tried to organize, count, process and place the merchandise in bags. As this tedious process was happening, I was using my basket to remove all hangers and begin filing my clothing with tags all aligned in the same direction.

When the customer was finally finished I simply slid my stack towards the cashier. She let out a huge sigh of relief and thanked me for being so considerate. She apologized for venting but was not impressed that the previous customer stood and watched, checked her phone and tapped her foot impatiently waiting to pay. I told her no need to apologize as I too work in retail and understand it the little things that make all the difference especially at the end of a long day. With a huge smile across her face, she handed me a full stamp card (worth 30%) and thanked me for my kindness.

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