“Sainsbury’s has apologised to a customer who was refused service by a checkout worker until she had ended her mobile phone call. The customer, Jo Clarke, was told her shopping would not be processed until she had finished talking on her phone.” – BBC News
Apologised? The checkout operator should be given a pay rise and it should be made company policy! This for me is another example of the increasingly rude society we are becoming because of mobile and smart phones. People are happy to wander around with Bluetooth earpiece in chatting away on public transport, in shops and restaurants as if they are the most important people in the world. Switch them off or at least have the decency to put them away while another human being is interacting with you.
You see couples out for a meal both sitting texting or updating their Facebook status rather than talk to each other; teenagers sitting with other teenagers all texting other people that aren’t there with them; people walking down the road laying off to themselves that would have been carted away less than a century ago. It’s just plain old bad manners in my opinion. It’s the same at work with other teachers checking their phones constantly rather than speaking to their colleagues at break time. Mobiles are great, but there’s a time and place for them.
Back to our checkout and I have to say that I feel the worker was in the right. I’d refuse to deal with someone who didn’t have the common courtesy to speak to me and engage with me in a human to human way. I’m not a huge fan of the small talk that often happens but it’s polite and sometimes that’s enough, just to be well mannered. For Sainsbury’s to offer the woman an apology and a £10 voucher is nonsense; the woman should have been told to mind her manners not be grovelled to. I spoke to a checkout lady in Tesco the other week and she said if someone comes through her station and they’re on the phone, she tries to scan the items as quickly as possible just to annoy them! Good on her!
For me politeness doesn’t cost anything – and to ignore shopkeepers or other customer service staff is almost suggesting that they are “serving you” in the old fashioned sense of the phrase, that you’re looking down on them when they are only doing a job. They don’t deserve to be treated like that, even if the chat can be banal at times, at least be polite enough to give them your time as they give theirs to you.