Anyways, enough background! Here's some very simple rules to follow while shopping at the location I work at.
Don't ask "Do you work here?" or any variation of the question
My uniform consists of black pants, a white button-down shirt, name tag and apron with company name on it, and a bow tie in red and silver (variations are allowed for deli and meat because it's cold, and the guys wear ties). If I look busy stocking yogurt, do not ask "are you being a dairy person or are you just here?" You'll sound like an idiot, and I will silently laugh at you and roll my eyes before helping you.
Don't ask me a question and then go to the booth to ask them to page grocery again to answer the SAME DAMN QUESTION
There is always a chance that I will show up and make a fool out of you if I'm the only one working at the time. If you ask me about short, stubby, 6 oz. cans of Coke, which they have recently changed the packaging for so they resemble Campbell's tomato juice cans except in Coke colors (they're the same damn volume) and I show you where the 6 oz cans of Coke are, point out Pepsi in the short, stubby cans, chances are I know what I'm talking about. You'll be wasting your time and ours by asking one of my co-workers the same question and getting the same answer, complete with being brought to the same spot in the aisle for an illustration.
Don't patronize me because I'm female
This one is almost exclusively for the older women. Yes, I am female, but this does not mean I slack off, spend hours in the bathroom primping in the mirror, or am otherwise incapable of doing my job (my managers would have shipped me back to the front end if they thought I couldn't handle it). Do not make off-handed comments such as, "Shouldn't one of the guys be doing this?" if I'm stocking something particularly heavy (water, milk, soda). I do not appreciate it, even if I do not let on. I may not have a killer physique, but if it wasn't inappropriate, I'd flex my biceps and let you feel them - they're pretty solid if I do say so myself.
Deal with your screaming kids
My store is the smallest in the chain - as such, screaming children in produce will be heard over in Dairy, on the other side of the store. Do not let them keep screaming. Okay, if you're in the check-out line with a full cart and have a howling infant because it's feeding/nap/changing time, fine. You're on your way out anyways, you need the food. Otherwise, discipline your kid or GTFO. Come back when darling is behaving, or leave them at home with the spouse or babysitter.
Get off your damn phones!
If I'm in dairy or frozen, speak UP
The dairy coolers emit a constant humming. If you speak softly, I may not be able to hear you. Do not ask me from five feet away in the dairy aisle where such and such an item is. I still can't hear you. If I have my head in one of the freezers, wait until I lean out, or come close and say "excuse me".
Ask an employee for help if you need it!
Don't call the Head Office because there's no sale yogurt on the shelf when you didn't come ask me or anyone ELSE in uniform who happened to be nearby if we had anymore and why isn't it on the shelf? It will piss us off if they call us and tell us to get the shit on the shelf, especially if it is the last day of the sale and I am having trouble finding OTHER sale items in the back and keeping up with milk and juice.
Don't bitch to me about the temperature in the store
We're the smallest store, our cold sections are around the perimeter, and the air doesn't circulate enough to warm up. My sleeves are rolled down, and I have another shirt (or two, if I'm in a sweatshirt) on under this. I don't feel the cold. I can't do anything about the cold. Take it up with management, or the Head Office (although, please don't - the poor baggers don't need the heat turned on in the middle of summer). If you know it's cold, bring a sweatshirt, and if you're still cold with it on, GTFO.
Don't ignore me...
... particularly if I'm in front of an item you want. Please ask me to move. Do not lean over me from behind, it makes me uncomfortable, I fear you will drop an item on my head, and I can't get out of your way because you're behind me. If I ask you if I'm in your way and I am, say yes. Do not say "I'll work around you," it makes me uncomfortable. If I say "excuse me" to get your attention so I can get stock to where it needs to be or answer a page, please get out of the way so I can do my job. If I smile at you or otherwise greet you, I'd appreciate it back - I try to respond when other customers do greet or smile at me.
Don't tell me "I shop here all the time, and you always have this!"
Chances are you don't shop here all the time, we have never had that, or if you do and it's not on the shelf, that means its out of stock. In the case that we carry it, and it's in stock, I'll bring it out to you.
Don't wander off when someone's gone to get you something we have from the back that isn't on the shelf (it happens)
It's annoying, and chances are I won't remember your face. I will look for you in the aisles closest to where you were, or in the front, but if you have wandered past that, I will go to the shelf and put the unit up, then disappear into the back. It's not my job to play hide-and-seek. It makes you look like a jackass, particularly if I just went digging through a pallet of soda to get you what you wanted (I'll do it if it's easy to get to). Wait 2 extra minutes - I'll be right out.
Don't tell me "[Another location] always has it!"
Please, go back to [Another location] and do your shopping there. We don't have the space for it, considering the Head Office keeps forcing generic brand shit at us that we have to cut into the shelves and reduces the room for other things. Also, saying that will not change the fact that we don't carry it, and probably never will.
Do be kind
Do make it easy to pick out the tourists
I'll make it very easy for you to get in, out, and on your way, and I'll try not to waste your time doing it, because I want you out of there too before you start bitching to me or comparing us to the market you usually go to.
Please stop asking me where the bathroom is -_-
Most commonly-asked question. We allow customers to use the bathrooms in the back of the store, which means they have to go through where we keep the stock. I know other stores do not allow this, but we don't have the space to do otherwise - they're our only bathrooms.
Don't yell at me
Don't tell me personal details
I don't need to know you're a low-income senior - if you want a cheaper item, I'll help you find one regardless of the reasons. I don't need to know you're lactose intolerant. I really don't need to know that you think Silk brand soymilk tastes like chalk. If you hadn't cut me off to tell me that FOR THE THIRD TIME I would have pointed out Lactaid to you - also lactose free, and, from what I've heard, considerably tastier.
Please practice Random Acts of Retail Kindness
This actually happened to me today at work. Here's the general gist
Me: *stocking sale ice cream for the second time that day*
Female Custy 1: *in a sweatshirt and capri pants* Aren't you cold?
Me: No, not really.
FC1: Well it's cold in here.
Me: It's because our cold sections are around the perimeter of the store, and -
FC1: Well you should close them off!
Me: *thinking: If you had let me finish, I would have told you we're the smallest store and our size doesn't really allow for air to warm up. Post-work, I asked imaginary Custy "Would you want to open doors to get your fresh meat and your produce?" Imaginary custy said no.*
Female Custy 2: *in a sweatshirt, pink hat, and shorts* Wear more clothes! *gets ice cream and walks away*
FC1: I am! *leaves Token Female alone and goes on her merry way*
To Female Custy 2, thank you. You said exactly what I wanted to say, although I would have gotten in trouble for it. It's a small thing, but it made my day that much more bearable.
This was just a conglomerate of a bunch of occasions I can call to mind at the moment. If I come across any more wickedly good stories, I'll let you know!
For now, don't let them crazy custies get you!