They Come In A Wide Variety Of Colors!
After A Wild Night, Cartie Wakes Up On The Doorstep Of A Strange Place Of Business

BookAce Wants to Know: Which Bothers RHUers More?

BookAceJust a quick open question today guys, partly prompted by the Reflexive Recovery Syndrome discussion.

Whether during recovery on our own jobs, or when shopping at other stores, we come across it way too often. Items abandoned whenever the customer in question decided they no longer wanted it.

There are usually two types of these finds. One is when the item is discarded right by its original home, maybe in the next basket or on the shelf above it, or in the case of clothing stores, hung up in the right area, but incorrectly. The other is when the item is ditched all the way across the store.

I often get irritated when I'm cleaning and find things on the opposite side of the store because they’re a pain to put back and send me running all over the store. Whether the custy has forgotten the exact place they picked it up from, or they’re just plain old lazy and don’t want to schlep it back, there’s no excuse! How dense are these people? Who would honestly believe that a box of ink really belongs with the desk drawer organizers? And I know this must be awful at grocery stores, when refrigerated items are left out on shelves to spoil.

As for when they leave it right beside where it belongs, I’ll acknowledge that at least it’s easy to pick up and plunk back into its proper home. But there are days where this type of item abandonment annoys the everloving crap out of me, because… seriously, the item’s proper place is RIGHT THERE. If you have the strength to set something six inches away from its proper location, how fucking hard would it have been to set it back exactly where it belongs?! Not to mention the trouble it causes when customers bring up the misplaced item, under the impression that it's the price of the incorrect bin label they found it above.

Personally, I think it’s the close-range ditchers who annoy me most, mainly because they're more common in my store than the long-distance ones. (Though I'm sure we can all agree that both are obnoxious and need to stop!)

I'm just curious, my RHU brethren. Which one bothers you more, and why?

--<3 BookAce


The Fuzzy Elf

I dislike it when people put items that were on the bottom shelf on the top shelf in the same 3 foot section they got it from. They used more energy putting it on the higher shelf than if they just put it back.


It annoys me, as a customer, if things are put back in front of other things incorrectly so the price tags don't line up. (I do check the price tags as best I can.) On other hand I also understand not being able to find exactly where the item goes. You may be able to narrow it down to the 3 foot space it went in but then it can break down from there. I know my main strategy for figuring out where something went is to find more of that product and put it back with it. Not so useful if there's not any of them left. I run into this problem most frequently at the racks of books at the craft store. Very often there's only one of a certain book on the rack and the other books are tall and obscure the price tags. So even if you've just picked up the last book of its kind just to look at it, decide you don't want it, and go to put it back, it's difficult to figure out exactly where to go. I also have this problem with greeting card displays - only its even harder to find the exact card on those. Anyway, remember, customers don't know the store as well as you do.


It doesn't bother me if it's near the original location. I just assume that maybe they honestly didn't see where it went or something because I'm really bad about that same thing when I want to put something back. As long as it's nearby, they tried.

Now across the store is a different matter. YOU KNOW IT DOESN'T BELONG ANYWHERE NEAR THERE, WHY WOULD YOU BE SO DAMN LAZY?! ...lazy customers.


I get annoyed by people putting things back at the wrong temperature. It's too common that people pick up a chilled pizza, then abandon it in the freezer section as they've chosen a frozen one instead.

It wouldn't annoy me so much if they dumped it in the nearby fridge, even though it's the wrong place, or if they gave it the till operator who can arrange for it to be put back.

Crazy Cashier

Yeah I gotta agree , wrong temperature is the worst. I see people have placed cold/frozen items on doughnuts that are literally ,right next to the freezer door section. It's like , why? you know if you bought it you would put it in the fridge/freezer and you know you wouldn't want a defrosted item.

I sometimes put things back close to where they go , just because no matter how hard I look I can't spot where it was suppose to go.


I actually ran into a woman in a store who was carrying all sorts of clothing while on line for the cashier (this was in a Sears, where the Cashiers are in the center isles and items are all around. We were in the clothing section. Apparently, she decided she didn't want something, so she turned smartly about and... hung the hanger on the nearest mannequin. Really? I mean, REALLY?! The cashier is right there! How hard is it to hand it to her and say, "I'm sorry, I was mistaken in thinking I wanted this."?

I raged, and not entirely inwardly, and I made sure to hand it to the cashier so it could be put back in the right spot. It was sheer effing laziness on the part of the other woman.


The ones who put it back next to where it goes make me the craziest, but seriously, if you can't remember where you got it, give it to someone who works there. At least we can get it back where it belongs, rather than running across it accidentally two weeks later while doing zone maintenance (especially when we'd had some cranky old fart asking about it the day before and it couldn't be found for love or money. :-P).


No, what bothers me is when people put frozen or chilled items on the shelf and then walk off. Nothing is so much fun as finding an entire carton of icecream that has now turned to soup and leaked out over everything on the shelf. For bonus fun, if you try to pick it up, often the soggy packaging will choose that time to give away, or at least flex, squishing the entire contents all over your hands. After having that happen more then once, anything that is not a food item, or at least a shelf stable food item, doesn't bother me in the least. Unless of course someone got creative in stashing the item, but that usually points to a NAT and open packaging more then someone deciding they no longer wanted an item.

The Singing Library Clerk

Working in a library I'd rather people left things on the table because even when they do try to put it back right, they don't.

I do try myself to put things back where I got them. My mom, being handicapped, doesn't always have that option. Sometimes walking it all the way back is simply too much for her. And some immature clerks have accussed her of being lazy when she tries to hand it to them. So to save herself embarassment she'll leave it wherever. But not if it's a refridgerated or frozen good.

NC Tony

They're both really annoying. The close-range ditchers (hmm... there's something for the RHU Dictionary) are annoying because it shows they're not even paying attention to whats right in front of their face! The across the store ditchers are annoying in that if they really don't want the item, they just drop it anywhere instead of giving it to the cashier when they check out. I can't count how many times I've found women's clothing in housewares, women's and juniors clothes in the infants and toddlers section, toys in the shoe department, towels in the luggage section, etc. It makes you want to go to the customers house and rearrange the furniture, and hide important things.

Mrs. Lovett

In a bookstore, the worst is when custies put it back on a shelf anywhere but the right spot. I can't tell you the number of times I was taking a customer to the shelf where the book was supposed to be....only to find no book. After I checked the correct shelves and all surrounding shelves, the dialogue usually followed something like this:

Me: Hmmm, that's strange. This is where the book is supposed to be. It must have been misshelved, or our inventory is wrong.

Custy: Well, if you have it in stock, why isn't it there?

Me: I'm afraid I don't know. Someone must have put it in the wrong spot.

Custy: Well, can you look for it?

Me:...Well, I can sure try, but we carry thousands of books, and if someone just misshelved it, it could be absolutely anywhere.

Custy: So where is it?

Me: *Facepalm* Why don't we just order you a copy and we'll get it for you in about a week?

Projection Peon

I'd say the laziness/ignorance of replacing an item within a foot or 2 of where it belongs really gets to me. Doesn't take any extra effort to return it where you got it from. Makes me think of all the trash I see left in the theatre, since there is no way to avoid walking past the garbage cans when leaving. Just a mindset of "not my job".

The Last Archimedean

They *both* bother me. Find an employee and give the item to them to reshelve, that's what they're getting paid to do.


I don't mind so much the people who leave something clear across the store. I can see the excuses for that. But to leave something a few feet from where it's supposed to go is just pure inexcusable laziness.


Neither were the most annoying at The Baby Store.

The most annoying were these:
1. When people at the register would ask me to price an item for them and then say "Too much" and turned around to hang it on the nearest rack, WHILE STANDING AT THE REGISTER.
At that point I didn't even care about kissing ass I just said, "No, don't put it there hand it to me."

2. Picking up toys that were totally saturated in saliva because parents give them to their infants/toddlers to entertain them in the store, but then don't buy them, and what do kids that age do with everything? Stick it in their mouths! I felt so sorry for the poor kid whose parents did buy the toy.

The Kid

I don't know about the just handing it to a random employee though. I've done that a few times and the employee *always* looks annoyed. To be honest, I would be annoyed too if when I was on my way to do something, people just handed me random things, thus sending me out of the way and taking my attention away from whatever I was supposed to be doing. So I would rather find the item somewhere after and put it in its proper location than have it handed to be (as long as it's non-refrigerated).
But to be honest, I've only worked in small clothing shops and the one grocery store.


It used to bug me more when people would close range ditch, but having been guilty of that myself I don't mind anymore. What bugs the hell out of me is when people ditch perishable food stuffs right on my lane. Or anything for that matter. I'm standing right there, freaking hand it to me. What really enraged me once (and I would have loved to find the customer) was when some custy took a frozen meal out of a freezer endcap and instead of taking the two seconds to put it back, stashed it on a shelf of Twinkies right next to the door. But I'm actually starting to suspect that the store I work at causes a loss in IQ points.


We had an asshole take a sandwich out of the case and put it on TOP of the same case, where it got warm, and we had to throw it away.


I hate close range ditchers. With a passion. They've picked up a top had a look, decided they don't want it, and then put it back. On the arm RIGHT NEXT TO THE ONE YOU REMOVED IT FROM!! WTF is wrong with them?
I think the custys that annoy me most are the ones who shop a table of folded t-shirts while you're working on it and start up a conversation:
"Oh poor you, having to do this all day!" said as they unfold a t-shirt in a size 6 (UK6) when they're blatantly a 16.
"at least you won't be bored" unfold the same shirt in their size
"I know exactly how you feel though, I work in retail" as they remove the same shirt, in their size, still folded, from the bottom of the pile, knocking it to the floor.
"Ooops! Sorry" And they swan off.
Bitch I will stuff that t shirt down your throat. Why lie about working in retail? It doesn't make me any happier about the fact that in the time it takes me to refold 1 t shirt, you've unfolded three, dropped them on the folding table I am using, and knocked half the table on the floor.


Libraries have rolling shelves to put non-wanted books on and you are told not to reshelve books. There are some days I simply cannot walk back across a store. Is this a possibility, or should I just take it to the register?


Handing it to an employee and getting an annoyed look, yes, of course we're annoyed right then, but in the long run it's better because at least we know where it IS. I'll be cranky if you give me a stack of 6 books you decided against, but when I go to recommend three of them to someone else the next day and they're back where they belong because I put them there, that's a good thing.


"The most annoying were these:
1. When people at the register would ask me to price an item for them and then say "Too much" and turned around to hang it on the nearest rack, WHILE STANDING AT THE REGISTER."

I work in a supermarket, and we're told to check people's eggs to see if they're cracked.If I fins a cracked one, I say "ooh, you've got a broken one there" and offer to get them a new pack.

So many people will say "do you want me to put them back for you?"

I get they're trying to be helpful, sort of, but why do they think broken eggs need to go back on the shelf?

Former Grocery Slave

What bothers me the most is people shopping in my store who try to start putting their clothes away themselves, and I tell them "oh, don't worry about that, we'll take care of it", and they say "oh, I used to work retail, so I know how annoying it is when people don't put things back, I got it", and proceed to put things away hung incorrectly, in the wrong spot, and/or out of size order. I know for a fact you did not work retail, because you would know that it is not annoying when customers don't put things back; it is annoying when they DO!

Four Job Slave

After 17 years in retail it honestly doesn't bother me to have to schlep stuff back to its proper place.

Book Baby

You lost me at "box of ink". Does anyone (except artists) actually USE ink any more?


Both are equally irritating. I worked for a Big Red Star, which sold a variety of things, but mainly clothing. Mostly I would get the "take something off the rack and hanger, hold it up, decide not to buy it, then toss it over the top of the rack".
Long-range ditching was just as bad because there was frequently not time to carry it back to the correct department, especially if the customer had been cross-shopping on different floors. If I'm working in men's underwear, and you ditch some women's jewelry in my section, guess what? It's probably not going to make it back there. That would require someone having to make a trip downstairs and across the store to return the one item. That shit would just pile up at the registers for weeks until there was a small collection, finally making it worthwhile to carry stuff downstairs.


People who leave their disgusting garbage laying around bothers me the most. No one wants to see your old used Starbucks cup on a shelf of things they might eat. That's nasty. Put it in your cart and throw it away when you find a trashcan.


I have never worked in retail (closest thing was a couple of dry cleaners) but I guess I have Reflexive Recovery Syndrome. Clothes on the floor? Find a empty hanger and put it back. Shampoo/Deodorant/shaving cream on the wrong shelf/line? Switch it back. And when I use a changing room, not only do I make sure the clothes are RIGHT SIDE OUT, I also but them back where I found it, unless I realized it was in the wrong section to begin with. My mother taught me to put things back where they belong and I will teach my future children to do the same.

The comments to this entry are closed.