Every time I go to a Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc. I’m driven slightly mad. Sure, part of it is because of the stores themselves or the employees who seem to be rather uninterested in working… But most of the problem is the other shoppers. I was going to put a percentage on it, but I’m not sure I can. I think is a small percentage of idiots with a largely negative impact. Well, idiot just implies that they’re stupid. I think it’s more inconsiderate than stupid. I’m talking about people who are generally unaware of the needs, thoughts, and feelings of everyone around them. The best word that I can think of (even though I generally try to avoid being vulgar in print) is asshole. We all know what kind of person that describes. If I owned/ran a department store, I would try to prevent the behavior that goes with this type of personality.
Curbing unacceptable behavior would start in the parking lot (pun intended). One of my favorite blogs calls these people “Peter Parkers.” They’re where the problem begins. If your jackass behavior can’t make it through the parking lot, we’ll hope you don’t even bother to come in to the store. Whether we’re talking about people driving & parking the wrong way in one way lanes, people who park over the lines, people who don’t slow down/stop at cross-walks, or people who park in handicapped spaces or on the line-covered spaces near the handicapped spaces. That’s just the drivers… Don’t forget that people need to learn how to walk to their car in a parking lot too.
To curtail all of this inconsiderate conduct we’d have meter maids, crossing guards, and cameras. I guess the meter maids wouldn’t have meters to read, they’d just be parking enforcers. Cars parked over painted lines, at curbs, or in handicapped spaces without proper tags will be towed. Immediately. I’m saying we’d go after them mere seconds after it happens, perhaps as their door is being shut. The parking enforcers wouldn’t be like the people on that TV show where they argue. They’d just do their job. I’d have a tow truck or two on site at all times. I have no tolerance for people who think that rules somehow don’t apply to themselves. (I’m talking about inconsequential rules here like how to conduct yourself in society. I think it’s always good to question authority & what not… but that doesn’t apply here where you’re just being a self-indulgent dolt.)
People entering & exiting the store wouldn’t have the free reign to walk out into oncoming traffic. Somehow (here in PA at least) people have taken “pedestrians have the right of way” to the extreme, where the actual law is that they have the right of way in crosswalks. Everywhere else, you’re fair game. A crossing-guard would facilitate safe passage and at the same prevent a traffic jam like you get in the front of every Walmart or Giant Eagle when an endless stream of lackadaisical shoppers lumber slowly in front of you without glancing in your direction as you sit in your auto waiting for a break in the action. If the people who like to park wherever they please or run into oncoming traffic with faith in an imaginary no-fault law somehow don’t feel welcome in my department store, then good. We’ve successfully weeded out the first wave of assholes. If they have learned to conduct themselves in a respectful manner while spending time in my controlled outdoor environment, then let ’em in!
(Oh yeah, bicycles would have their own parking lot… they’d share it with buggies & horses in Amish country, and buses would roll to the edge of the parking lot, not right to the front door causing endless amounts of chaos.)
Inside the store, we’d have checkout lines like the bank, Wendy’s, or Best Buy. People can be incredibly ignorant when it comes to getting in line. It’s certainly not everyone, but there are a select few who ruin it for everyone else. See any McDonalds or Sheetz without the rope at lunch time. It’s absolute chaos.
I know they’re not department stores… but it’s easier to see the same behavior there as it’s more concentrated. It would eliminate getting into line behind the people who want to put things back, use expired coupons, write checks, talk on their phones, shop for everything in the impulse-buy section, or search for their method of payment long after everything is rung up.
In fact, no checks. All it does is slow things down. It’s 2012. It’s almost 2013. If you have a bank account, you have a debt card or credit card, some of them are even called check cards now. Use it. Don’t use that antiquated paper log-book that does nothing but slow things down for everyone.
In my store, there would be no greeter that avoids eye contact completely or looks at you like you’re the grim reaper come to take them to hell. Maybe there would be a robot there to say hello. At least a robot could fake sincerity more efficiently.
Even though it doesn’t have to do with behavior exactly, the restrooms would have faucets in the sinks (with hot water) that you can fit your hands under, paper towels that are actually stocked regularly, hand dryers that actually dry your hands, and soap. No foam soap, no hand sanitizer, no bathroom attendants to do it for you. It might put people in a better mood if they can be comfortable.
I’m sure there are many other things I’d have to put in place, and many other bad customer behavior… but these are the ones I can think of now.
What would you do to make a trip to a department store more tolerable? Would you enjoy it if stores weeded out the a-holes? Are you one of the people who behaves like an a-hole by parking in the wrong spots, jumping to lines in front of people, and walking like an idiot in the parking lot? Please, share your thoughts in the comments section below!
last minute shoppers. (Photo credit: the idealist)