My place to share lots of photographs of my random crafty, makery, bakery and cookery projects, as well as random thoughts that might strike me and are too long for Twitter...

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Dear Christmas Shoppers...Vol.III

Some people love to hear funny stories about idiot customers. Some ask me why I'm always so crabby in December. This, I believe, successfully answers both questions. (The title says Vol.III, but this is actually a combination of Vol. I and Vol. II, with some new bits added in).

Dear Christmas Shoppers, 

You hate Christmas shopping. I understand. I get it. I just don't care. You, along with 85% of my customers today, hate Christmas shopping. You are, without exaggeration, at least the 250th person today who has decided to inform me of the fact. Either that or the fact that you are surprised how busy it is. WHY precisely can you not believe, in December, that a 200+ store shopping centre is busy? What, did you think you were the only person who woke up this morning and thought "Hey, nearly Christmas, better go shopping."?

Personally, I love Christmas shopping. I just hate most Christmas shoppers. Please bear in mind the following, and have a nice day. [/sarcasm]

A "hello", "excuse me" or even a polite cough is a nice way to announce your presence, should you feel it necessary to do so. Walking in and loudly declaring "Keyboard books! ...." is not. Do you walk into a supermarket and yell "Beans!" in someone’s face and just expect to be led to the correct aisle?! Actually, you probably do. @$$hole.

I don't know your sister-in-law/child/father/Aunt/second-cousin's adopted Malawian orphan, or whoever else you are shopping for. I don't know what thickness plectrums they use, if they would like a guitar-shaped keyring, or a music themed mug. If they’re anything like you appear to be they’re probably not trusted with keys or hot liquids. I don't know if they would wear treble clef patterned socks, heck, I don't actually know if they even have both feet*. Asking me these questions is pointless, and wastes both of our time.

* Speaking of missing limbs, you cannot phone up and ask me "do you sell anything that will help a person with one arm play the violin?" and not expect follow-up questions. When I ask "Which arm are they missing?" I am not being funny, nor am I asking out of morbid curiosity. I am attempting to help you. You were the one who phoned me with the stupid question in the first place.

I don’t know if your relative would find learning an instrument easy or hard. Nor can I really say if learning an instrument in general is easy or hard. That’s like in A&E when they ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1-10. Everyone’s different. You definitely seem...different. I’m guessing you would find it considerably harder than most, considering the fact that you have already told me how surprised you are that it’s really busy in the centre today.

Telling me the person’s age is about as useful as telling me their shoe size when it comes to "helping" you to choose a music book. Essentially when you don’t really know what instrument they play or have any vague notions of what musical genres they like, I can't help you. Some 15 year old boys like Metallica, some like Mozart, some like Michael Buble. I don't know which category yours falls into. You really should know, or at least ask someone who does. "It's all noise to me!" isn't funny or helpful the first time you hear it. You were not the first. If you really want something to appeal to your 15 year old boy, head next door to GT, they sell FHM.

Bands these days have stupid names. I realise this. You don't need come over and to tell me each time you find a stupidly named band. When it is mid-December and the shop is heaving I have neither the time nor the inclination to stand at the T-shirt rack and give you a history and back catalogue of every band featured therein, from Cannibal Corpse to Thin Lizzy and all genres in between, just in case your relative might like them. If the person you're buying for hasn't expressed a liking for thrashing death metal, buying a random T-shirt with a design that would scare small children and offend their Nan is probably not the best idea. Nor can I "sing a bit of one of their songs" for you to help you make up your mind. It sounds like a drumkit falling downstairs whilst a bear throws up. Does that help? May I also remind you once again that I have never met the person you are shopping for. Thus asking "Would the large fit him, do you think, or would medium be better?" is pointless. Maybe bringing in a recent photo of him standing next to something of regulation size, like a pillarbox for example (as people who are selling things on eBay take a photo next to a coin or a ruler to give some idea of size), would enable me to contribute to the Great Size Debate. 

Personally, I am apathetic with regards to the issue of whether you “believe” the tab books or not. Telling me every week that you “...don’t believe those books, the tunes don’t match the real ones if you sing it in your head” won’t make them change to containing the songs that ARE in your head, nor will your repetitive insistence make me care that you feel the music in the books is wrong, because the definitive version is in your brain and/or tabbed by bedroom experts and uploaded onto the internet. Please don’t involve other customers in your conspiracy theories. I don’t know them, but chances are they don’t care either. Also, if I have a queue please realise that your quirky line of questioning about every single product (“That’s one of those [item] is it?”, “Yes.”, “Is it?!”, “Yes.”, “It’s not, is it?”, “Yes.”, “Oh...it is, is it?” “YES.”) is something frankly you should get help for, but not from me. I have a queue.

I realise that if you look around, you will find most of the things we sell in store for a cheaper price online. This is because "online" doesn’t pay Meadowhall rents, and buys in bigger bulk than our little shop. You don't need to queue up especially to tell me that you've seen it cheaper online, and then leave the item on the counter for me to put away. I'm not going to price-match, even if you kick up a stink about it. Also, whilst we're on online retailers, at least have the decency NOT to walk in with the opening line of "I've seen this guitar much cheaper online, I'm buying it from there but obviously I can't try it from there. Can I try yours?" Um, lemme think. NO. You want to save money and buy online, you take your chances and pay less but don't see/try before you buy. Email the online store and ask to try theirs, and stop wasting my time. Also please don’t try to return an item because you bought it from us and THEN looked online to see if you could find it cheaper. Who does that?! Go away.

Before asking the question "Are you busy?" please take a moment to actually LOOK AT ME and make an informed decision as to whether your question is necessary. Chances are if I am up a ladder, have a 20W amplifier under each arm, am mid-conversation with a customer, on the telephone, or processing a credit card transaction then yes, I AM busy. Heaven help you, you might just have to queue with everyone else.

Christmas Musical "Emergencies". If you wouldn't phone WH Smith enquiring about a recipe the latest Jamie Oliver book and ask them to "Tear the relevant pages out of the book and fax them to me...I'll come in and buy the book after Christmas." don't expect me to do it with a song in a music book. If infact you really do need the song "To play in church for the Christmas morning service", then your Christmas emergency really doesn't wash with me. As a church-goer you above all people should know what date Christmas is. Christmas cannot creep up and surprise you. You don't get a phonecall one morning saying "Christmas! Tomorrow! You in?!" It doesn't move dates like Easter or Father's Day. If you don't have what you need by Dec. 24th, when we have been open 9am-11pm, quite frankly it is your fault. Please don't say "You had a book in last week...I can't see it today." Last week we also had enough time to order you a copy before Christmas. Times change. We are not affiliated with Santa, hence you cannot order a book on Dec. 24th "for Christmas delivery".

You do not qualify for a discount for:

Having the nerve to ask. 
Buying more than one plectrum.
Paying cash.
Buying a book/guitar/uke that's "been on display". Everything is “on display”.
Being old.
Claiming to know my boss but not knowing her name or, in fact, that she is a woman. 
Because it's Christmas Eve. 
Because the item is a gift.
Being less annoying than the customer in front of you.
Being Irish. 

Whilst we’re talking about your children (which we were, some time ago...), don't expect me to watch them. We are not a creche, and I have no qualms about selling them to the circus if you abandon them for too long. If I peek into your push chair it's only out of mild curiosity, not an offer to babysit. To be perfectly honest I'm probably just looking in case you have a really, really ugly baby so that I can alert the rest of the staff to go and have a look.

I only work in one shop. I don't know cinema listings. I don't know the phone numbers for every shop in the mall, or for the music shops in town. I don't know what they stock that we don't, or vice versa. I don’t know where the shop you are vaguely describing might have moved to. I am well aware that the comic book shop has closed. There is no need to tell me. When you ask “Where has it gone?” and I reply “They’ve closed down.” I do really mean that as an end to the conversation.  If I wanted a list of all the Star Trek figures you’ve ever purchased from there, I would have asked. Also, we don't sell Westlife keyrings. 

Speaking of Customer Directory questions...If you want information I might have, please ask nicely. Storming in and telling me the toilets are closed before rudely demanding to know where the nearest ones are WILL guarantee that I send you to the ones at the opposite end of the centre, and not the ones directly above the ones you are complaining about.

Bear in mind, when you storm into my shop in the hours before Christmas, brandishing your attitude problem like an offensive weapon, that I have the items that your children are demanding. I decide whether you get what you need or are thrown out for being rude/offensive/abusive. In effect, I stand between you and a peaceful Merry Christmas. I have what you need. Even Amazon cannot help you now. Therefore it is in your best interests to BE NICE. Then I am nice, and you have half a chance that your children will be placated and in turn, nice. 

Have a merry Christmas, and enjoy your shopping experience.

Yours sincerely,


P.S...Awesome Woman? The one who pointed up into the roof and told her naughty child that our smoke alarm was "...a Santa Alarm, and that light is flashing because he knows you've just been naughty"? You're awesome.