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Life's Lessons, Ramblings of a customer assistant

Why it IS rude to talk on the phone at the supermarket checkout.

Jo Clarke; a disgruntled Sainsbury's customer who feels disresected after being told not to use her phone at the checkout.

Jo Clarke; a disgruntled Sainsbury’s customer who feels disrespected after being told not to use her phone at the checkout.

As a customer assistant, there is one thing which is annoying and rude; a customer chatting away on their mobile phone at the checkout when you are trying to serve them.

Jo Clarke, 26, of Crayford South-East London was left ‘dumbfounded’ when the customer assistant refused to check out her shopping until she put her phone away.

She said: ‘I was standing at the foot of the till waiting to bag my shopping up, yet the lady on the checkout was just staring at me.

‘When I stopped my conversation and said “Is everything okay?” she said: “I will not check your shopping out until you get off your mobile phone”.

‘I ended my call swiftly, and said to the lady on the checkout, “Apologies, I didn’t realise that it was Sainsbury’s policy that you are unable to use your phone at the checkout”.

‘She said “You learn something new every day”.’  Miss Clarke checked with the customer services desk on leaving the store and was told there was no such policy.

Miss Clarke added: ‘There was no one behind me in the queue, it was quite quiet and I just phoned my brother to quickly tell him I was about to leave. He was waiting, so I just gave him a quick call. I couldn’t believe how rude she was.’

Sorry? How rude SHE was? Sorry,  but YOU were the one on your phone, showing disrespect to someone who is there to help you.

Respect works both ways. When I was being bought up, I was always taught to treat someone as you would expect to be treated yourself. I for one, wouldn’t even entertain the idea of standing at the checkout having a conversation on my mobile, whilst someone else was trying to serve me. It’s ignorant.

If Miss Clarke had been at a self-serve checkout, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but she wasn’t. There was another human being there to serve her, and there are ways a customer assistant would expect to be treated by customers; respectful.

I have had first hand experience of Miss Clarke’s position, but in role reversal. I have served a customer who walked up to the checkout, throw his items on the belt and without acknowledging me, carried on with his over-the-phone conversation.

It is incredibly annoying, and not just to the customer assistant. Furthermore, the gentleman’s conversation involved lots of sales and numerical figures, thus causing me to short-change him completely by accident. Yet apparently according to the customer on the phone, it was completely my fault.

After completing the sale, the customers behind tutted and offered an apology on behalf of the previous customer. ‘You shouldn’t have to put up with that sort of behaviour. It’s so rude. I wouldn’t have served him at all.’ Is the main phrase I remember from our short conversation as I completed the next transaction.

And judging by the responses on Newsshopper.co.uk, the majority of people (88% of a poll) think Miss Clarke was in the wrong, rather than the customer assistant. And I completely agree.

I’m sure if Miss Clarke spent a day on the tills, she would see just how rude this type of behaviour actually is. But that’s just the ramblings of a customer assistant.

Miss Clarke has made an official complaint, but is still awaiting a reply.

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About RNTomlinson

Part-time blogger. Full-time entertainer. Can be found on RNTomlinson.com & ccfctv.co.uk.


One thought on “Why it IS rude to talk on the phone at the supermarket checkout.

  1. The fool is enjoying the publicity she has generated for herself and does not have the wit to realise she has made a fool of herself! She’ll be on Daybreak before long!

    Posted by gingerfightback | July 3, 2013, 2:42 pm

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