I’d like to talk for a moment about this thing called lights. When lights are on, one can assume that a store is open, that a person is home. That someone is available to assist you, yes?
And when those lights are off, it’s safe to assume that the store is closed, that no one is home (or awake). That NO ONE is around to help you.
This is a battle I have ever Saturday night when I close at work. On Saturday nights, the service desk gets closed a bit early because we are responsible for setting the Ad Board. The Ad Board is that bulletin board that you see in the front of most stores that list that week’s sales. For the most part, I’ve done it almost every single Saturday night for about six months. Minus probably about four weeks in there.
In order the set this board, however, I must step away from the service desk and therefore be unavailable. So, I turn out all of the lights and head out with my gear. But this never seems to keep people away and that simply amazes me! The portrait studio turns it’s lights out when they close down from the night and people just breeze on by and don’t try to just stand there waiting on someone. No, they get the hint and walk by. But if I try to close up or leave for an extended period of time, people will stand in line and wait. Like, seriously? IT’S CLOSED! The lights are out, obviously no one is there. Go. Away.
I just don’t get it. There are plenty of other retailers out there who close their customer service counters an hour before the store closes, or at a specific time every night, but God forbid I close my service desk an hour before the whole store closes. Why is it a big deal if ours is closed? Oh, that’s right, because we have this new Let Guests Walk All Over You Policy.
I have lost count of the many times that I have had to completely stop what I’m doing, halfway across the store, so that I can come help someone with an exchange. Meaning I have to waste more of my time waiting on them to get back with their exchange item. And you know, I know the whole return/exchange thing is my job, but the service desk lights were off for a reason. It means that I’m doing OTHER aspects of my job. It means, nope, sorry, this part of the store is closed for business, come back when we open tomorrow. The glory of our store is that we are open every single day of the week.
It’s almost pointless to turn the lights off. I can’t get anything done anyway. Like the times when I’m on a check lane and I turn my lane light out because it’s time for me to leave. Or in most cases, past time for me to leave. People just keep moseying up into the lane. And then you tell them that you’re closed and they look at you like you killed their cat.
One day I was so angry after several people walked into my closed check lane that I finally blurted out “The light is out for a reason!” I don’t think anyone other than the guest I was helping heard me, but still. Communication of all types is sometimes just totally lost on some people. Mostly they just aren’t paying attention. I’ve been guilty of that. I do it quite often, just don’t pay attention, but at least I know that if a light is out, it’s probably not going to happen for me today.
And you know, if people would pay attention to the big darkened area of the store, I’d probably save myself from multiple thumb tack stab wounds to the finger tips, too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stabbed myself trying to pin something up while also trying to respond to a walkie call to go help a guest at guest service.
Though, I will trek on. I will continue to attempt to get everything done in a timely manner, while getting constantly interrupted by guests who can’t read the obvious signs in front of them.