10 Top Reasons Why People Hate to Shop in Retail Stores

by bizilady

Why is customer service lacking in stores today? Are customers to blame or employees?

Shopping in the traditional brick and mortar stores has become a big hassle today.
One can spend a whole day driving from store to store and not find the item, or service that is sorely needed.

Why are customers treated poorly at the retail level?

what is good customer service?

Many friends and I have had awful shopping experiences at the retail level. I refer to customer service and treatment as one in the same.

According to Wikipedia “Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.

Just what is good customer service? Do companies know and do they care?

You don't see much of that today. Yeah, the customer service question has been asked for the past twenty or so years; probably as long as I've noticed it disintegrating. It doesn't seem to matter whether you are trying to purchase a product or service on the internet or off in real life. I bring up this topic because one would think that in a fledgling economy, shop owners would be a little more interested in finding and retaining loyal customers.

It doesn't seem to matter if the shop is privately owned or a big box store owned by a corporation, service has changed for the worse. Society has changed for sure and probably will never return to the good 'ole days.

Why is bad customer service the norm?

Unfortunately this is repeated over and over again. No matter what store you shop in, the service is sorely lacking. A customer usually has to hunt down someone who looks like they work there.

I don't know why anyone should be surprised, considering this has become a social media world. Not only are people communicating online at social sites such as twitter, Facebook and MySpace, but now they seem to be carrying on that online behavior offline as well.


Some dining experiences are just terrible, which includes waitresses chasing  customers after dinner to demand a tip, only to find it on the receipt. They don't offer apologies at all, by her or the owners. Other friends report servers demanding more money or flirting with their spouse or date. Perhaps they thought this was the way to earn a bigger tip!

Recently there was a local story about a waitress who took the credit card and didn't return. The owner of the card literally had to hunt them down and couldn't find the manager. Who knows what would have happened, if they forgot and left?

10 ways to drive away customers

 I have listed 10 ways to drive away  customers. Business managers and owners need to pay close attention.

  1.  Employees that don't acknowledge a customer when they enter your shop or counter space.
  2.  Owners or employees that don't speak to a customer when paying.
  3.  Owners or employees that don't thank your customer.
  4.  Restaurant servers should always flirt with customers for bigger tips.
  5. Cashier that don't have any change when a customer wants to check out.
  6. Employees that talk to  co-workers continuously while waiting on a customer.
  7. Employees that don't have the item ready at the service counter when it's paid for ahead of time.
  8. Employee or managers ignoring the customer and continue watching the television/cell phone.
  9. Employees or managers laughing at questions or mocking the way they dress.
  10. Employees or managers telling customer you'll be right back and never return.


I'm sure readers may have their own experiences and can add them at the comments sections below.


Hair salon experiences - a place to be pampered

Hair salons are another place you'd expect great service, wouldn't you? Some are good and a lot are not. When one goes to a salon, you would spend a great deal of time and money there,so talking to a customer would make the time go faster. Much of the time, the hair dresser may treat the client like a mannequin head the whole time.

The stylist, hair cutter and the shampooer converse with each other the whole three hours, talking over the client. The only time they speak directly to them was at the end when the bill was presented. Well, hair good, service bad. Have you had a similar experience? How could they improve that experience?

Doesn't anyone expect to be pampered at a salon or spa? I say yes and so many shops miss that point. Too bad because they loose return business. Owners need to be present in their business. Employees don't care if customers are happy. It makes less work for them..


Good service at hair salon long ago

Hair Stylist Showing Hairdos
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Poor service experience at a garden shop

ignoring a customer and making them wait

Buying some landscaping materials should be a carefree and pleasant experience.

But this may leave you unhappy, when shopping to a large retailer. If there isn't an attendant anywhere to be found, you may wander around the outside garden area and then finally go inside to find a cashier waiting on some customers. It turns out the store expected the customers to come back in with the shrubs they wanted or get one of the tags. Can you believe they expected someone to walk outside again and get them? If you wanted 6 large plants and had no one to help you, how would you be expected to carry them back? If there weren't any signs or information how to buy these, you are left feeling that you're business is not wanted. The cashier can't help you and waits on the next customer in line. These questions and concerns fall on deaf ears as no one wants to venture outside on a hot day. You can leave without the shrubs, and ask for the manager but he usually not around.


I ventured  to buy some shrubbery at a garden center recently. After walking around the garden area and locating the right scrubs, I carried them onto the cashiers counter, which was close by. As I approached, three people were talking about some local event and stopped briefly when I plopped my plants down. As I handed my twenty dollar bill to the cashier, she muttered something to another employee and he walked away. The two remaining employees continued their conversation without a word of explanation to me. Waiting in 90 degree temperature was tough enough but I stood there wondering, and finally interrupted them and asked ”what are we waiting for?” They stopped and gave me a puzzled look; the cashier told me she needed change. My total was $15.66 and I gave her a twenty. So I wondered why she didn't know to check her draw before I walked up? I waited a good 7 minutes for that change.

When the third returned, she gave me my change and all three returned to their conversation, without a word to me.

I wondered why they didn't have change on hand. Why did they ignore me and continue to socialize? This left a bad feeling for me. Why weren't they prepared? Is it managements fault?


Happy customer
Happy customer

Tips to improve customer service

If we were to change each point mentioned above and do the opposite, would the end results improve any?

For instance;

  1. Do acknowledge a customer when they enter you shop or counter space. That makes a big difference when I shop in a store.
  2. Do speak to the customer when paying. Again this is a courtesy and makes one feel appreciated.
  3. Do thank the customer. Well this seems like common sense but it doesn't happen.
  4. Restaurant servers should speak to both men and women and not flirt for tips. it s so unprofessional. Unless it's a bar or strip joint, I wouldn't expect that.
  5. Make sure there is enough change before the customer checks out. Don't make people wait to buy..
  6. Do not talk and socialize with co workers whenever customers are in a store. This is my pet peeve. I am tired of being ignored or made to feel like I'm intruding!
  7. Have a pre-paid item ready when you tell a customer over the phone or the email it will be ready. Many times I still have to wait while someone searches for it in the stockroom or can't find it at all.This has happened too many times.
  8. Don't ignore customers and watch t.v or your Blackberry / blueberry or whatever! Where is the manager?
  9. Train employees to take every customer seriously and with respect
  10. Instruct employees to ask for a manager  if they don't know an answer.

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Who is to blame for poor customer shopping experiences?

Is it poor employee training?

Who is to blame for poor customer service today? On the one hand, employees and shop owners can tell you about rude, dishonest and greedy customers who make their job a living hell. No matter how much you help some customers, they still aren't happy.

On the other hand, I see employees and shop owners being disrespectful to shoppers. Many workers will run the other way if they see someone looking for help. Some of the incidents I cited are not always the norm but it is increasing, unfortunately..

Is the economy to blame for people's bad bahvior? So which came first I wonder; bad service or rude customers?

Thank you for letting me vent; not all my shopping experiences are this  bad.

State your opinion on the debate section.

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Suggestions to complain about a bad experience

Bad customer experiences are a business killer no matter how small or large the sale was. When a company's employee does not provide a good and professional attitude and you are emotionally upset by it, then you need to report that.

Most people feel that bad customer service is here to stay. If everyone thinks it's inevitable, then it will never change.

Large box discount retailers have customer service numbers, usually an 800 number to report an unhappy buying episode. Also, check out the online web address - there's usually a customer service link.

Whenever I've had an unpleasant experience more than once, I will write or call in a complaint.

A mom and pop or private retailer can't afford to provide bad service, but when it happens, I do not go back. Now that the online forums such as Topix, or a message board geared  just for that town is available, bad service will be brought to everyone's attention.

i have seen the good and bad side to reporting. You want to be sure that reporting a legitimate problem will help the store improve service; not seek revenge on someone you don't like.

Don't forget to call or file an online complaint witht he local Better Business Bureau or BBB also. I've used their help also.

Points to discuss when filing a complaint.

  • write down the address of the store
  • try to rememeber the employee's name, number or department
  • write the date and time
  • be concise and to the point; simply explain the problem
  • don't call anyone a name or use profanity if you want to be taken seriously
  • ask fro a raincheck if the item was out of stock
  • ask for a discount or somehting to help defray expenses of picking it up
  • keep receipts or credit cards stubs
  • ask for themanager of the department first before filing a complaint
  • if this is an online buying complaint,fill out the complaint form or call the 800 number
  • when all else fails call or write BBB

Remember that the offline retailer is not out to get you. You are doing them a service by pointing out a problem and asking or a solution. Most retailers do not want bad publicity.

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Are customers to blame for poor service?

rude customers make employees rude
Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login
no, employees are the reason
dustytoes on 08/05/2011

I was taught that the customer is always right when working in retail... no matter what, you treat the customer like a king or queen. Today, the attitude toward customers is horrible in most places. With a bad economy and less shopping happening, I'd think that retailers had better wake up!

bizilady on 07/01/2011

i think employee training is lacking today

yes, customers are to blame
mivvy on 07/23/2011

Customers are often inconsiderate, don't like to wait and ask impossible questions. I never met unfriendly employees

poll are you happy with your customer service experiences?

Updated: 12/27/2015, bizilady
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bizilady on 04/15/2012

BrendaReeves: Yes,I have had similar instances where salespeople were on the phone the whole time.
Customer service and manners are sorely lacking in today's society and businesses.
Who's are fault?
I 'm not sure but it needs to improve. Thanks for commenting.

BrendaReeves on 04/15/2012

I think people in general are rude today. I walked into a clothing store at the mall, and the girl behind the counter was on a personal phone call. I looked around was never acknowledged and as I was leaving, she told her caller wait a minute. She then said, "do you need help?"
A couple of years ago I was looking for a house to buy. The realtor was on her phone with personal calls the entire time I was looking. I thought, "Well, she's not very interested in selling me a house."

bizilady on 02/07/2012

jange52:I agree that it's somewhere in between.Since I have been on both sides of the shopping experience I can say that a smile is contagious and manners go a long way .Thanks for reading and commenting.

jange52 on 02/05/2012

I stand somewhere in between. I think customers should be considerate and likewise service providers should be honest if they made something wrong and make up for it. Customers always like being heard and appreciate when business owners make up for what they did wrong.

bizilady on 08/05/2011

Dustytoes; thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments. I was beginning to think it was just me who was unhappy! :-)

dustytoes on 08/05/2011

If I am consistently unhappy with customer service, I stop shopping at the store.

bizilady on 06/11/2011

thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment sandy!

sandyspider on 06/11/2011

Nice information on customer service.

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